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The St. Sebastian River

Palmetto Bush Explosion

Palmetto Bush Explosion

After traveling to the Indian River Lagoon and seeing the sad conditions there with lots of muck, very cloudy and glowing green water, I decided to kayak the Saint Sebastian River which is a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon north and west of the city of Sebastian as the water quality there is not so toxic.  When I first started kayaking, I went the wrong way, up to where the river was blocked by a large tree.  The area seemed particularly primitive and when the early morning light hit the trees, it seemed magical.  

Wild Riparian Banks, St. Sebastian River

Wild Riparian Banks, St. Sebastian River

From 2006-2009, this river underwent an $18 million dredging project to remove muck (organic material comprised of silt, sand, clay, shell and organic material that was consuming oxygen and threatening aquatic species.   The Wheeler  Stormwater Park transformed a 300-acre former citrus grove into a new wetlands area that treats 6.9 billion gallons of farm water and mobile home runoff.  The water quality has improved from once it once was as this project is estimated to remove 72 percent of sediments, 15% of nitrogen, and 46% of phosphorus.  Much of the river runs through the St. Sebastian Preserve State Park, and it is one of the few remaining coastal rivers in an area that has not been heavily developed.  I certainly did feel more comfortable kayaking here than I would have in some of the areas of the Indian River Lagoon that I visited. The water was dark with a lot of tannin, but the coloration seemed natural and not caused by pollution.

Fern Fireworks

Fern Fireworks

The banks were filled with ferns, trees with orchids and resurrection ferns, palmetto bushes and other trees.  

Wild Vegetation, St. Sebastian River

Wild Vegetation, St. Sebastian River

When I saw the palmetto bushes below the pattern created by the reflections in the water seemed like op art.  Reflections are often very precise, like hyper realism or very wavy and showing the lines of the water.  The distorted band through the middle of the water was seamless here and very unusual. 

Primitive Banks, St. Sebastian

Primitive Banks, St. Sebastian

Below are several more images from this beautiful kayak trip.  The vegetation is very dense near the beginning and changes to a more coastal variety closer to the ocean.  

Epiphytes and Vines, St. Sebastian River

Epiphytes and Vines, St. Sebastian River

Oak Tree Covered with Air Plants, St. Sebastian River

Oak Tree Covered with Air Plants, St. Sebastian River

Sabal Palms and Leatherback Ferns, St. Sebastian River

Sabal Palms and Leatherback Ferns, St. Sebastian River

As I pulled into the landing at the park, I saw a beautiful night heron strolling by.  There is so much beauty along the St. Sebastian River and the environs of the Indian River Lagoon that deserves to be protected for its own sake and the remaining creatures that dwell here.

Night Heron, St. Sebastian River

Night Heron, St. Sebastian River