Reef in Lake Worth Lagoon near the Palm Beach Inlet
Inlet Expansion Cost includes Sea Grass Beds, Reef, Experts Say
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to deepen and widen the Lake Worth Inlet would require destroying a healthy sea grass bed and a thriving reef.
Although the Corps has a proposal to mitigate for the losses, there’s no guarantee that its plan to replace the sea grass and reef would succeed, said James Barry, a former environmental director with Palm Beach County’s Environmental Resources Management division. Barry spent nearly 20 years overseeing water-quality restoration projects in the Lake Worth Lagoon before retiring six years ago.
Losing the reef, which is a popular destination for divers and snorkelers from around the world, would have far-reaching recreational and commercial consequences that could easily trump any economic benefits the expansion would bring, Barry said.
James Barry, Marine Biologist. [Image: Palm Beach Daily News]
Marine Biologist Knows Lagoon Well
James Barry has more than 40 years of experience working for the state and Palm Beach County governments as a marine biologist who focused on water quality in the Lake Worth Lagoon and elsewhere in Palm Beach County.