Monday, May 9, 2016

What We Discovered At Pinnacle Point

Our next adventure was to take us to some old bungalow in Panama City Beach to try to recreate something I remembered from my very first attempt at surfing when I was at kid. Instead we ended up at a high rise condo in a gated community that looked as if it was part of the set for the Truman Show. This is Pinnacle Point at Panama City Beach and here is where I learned more about Ecology than I had ever planned.

Pinnacle Point appears to be a lush planned community built in the last 1970's and is still adding on. The condo portion of the property seems to have been there first and is nestled between the gulf of Mexico on one side and an inland lake on the other. My first guess was that the lake would be something more like an overflow pond, but it turned out to be large enough to make it a good place to paddle. What makes this interesting to us folks interested in Ecology, is that the government here has done something similar to upset the balance of nature that we saw down in south Florida recently: They decided to dredge out the opening where the lake meets the gulf.

Normally in nature, the lake is closed and only when there are storms or a lot of rain, does the lake or gulf breach the sand dunes to meet, but the dredging changed all that. Now it goes with the tides, and even if we think we are smarter than nature, we can see something going on that can't be good. When the tide in incoming, the water is clear and emerald green, when the tide is outgoing, the tannic acid colored fresh water runs out to meet the salt water. You can easily follow the color out into the gulf and down the beach. Even if you are the sort of person that believes that this can't cause any ecological harm, there is the harm to the condo owners who now have a beach water that looks like  the Mississippi  River.

On this small scale, you don't expect to see fish kills. On the other hand, in spite of all of the fishermen around, I did not see one fish caught. They were definitely waiting for the outgoing tide, but I have to wonder what kind of game fish like the brackish water...

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