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Significance of North Fork St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

The St. Lucie River (SLR) receives federal and state attention through its connection to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), Lake Okeechobee and nearshore coral reefs, and its designation as an Aquatic Preserve.

  • The SRL provides relatively contiguous habitat for fish and wildlife. The wide salinity (fresh upper reaches and saline lower reaches) and associated habitats in the North Fork are unique to the region and serve as a productive nursery and spawning ground for recreationally and commercially important species of fish and wildlife. Several rare fish species that rely on a tidal system with wide salinities for one or more phases of their life cycle are limited to the tributaries of the IRL, such as the SLR. Adjacent state and county-owned public lands with natural shorelines provide a wildlife corridor which connects a variety of natural communities and facilitates a wilderness experience that is easily accessible to the residents of White City, Port St. Lucie and Stuart.
Live oak over river
  • As a state aquatic preserve, the North Fork St. Lucie River is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water (pursuant to Chapter 62-302 F.A.C.).

  • The St. Lucie connection to Lake Okeechobee (via the C-44 canal) makes the restoration projects in the preserve the northernmost component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

  • The IRL is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America. As the largest tributary of the IRL, the SLR has been integrated into the IRL National Estuary Program, a partnership between water management districts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • The mouth of the SRL is adjacent to St. Lucie Inlet, the northernmost extent of tropical coral reefs on Florida's east coast. The reefs immediately south of St. Lucie Inlet are exposed to riverine waters from the SLR and IRL during outgoing tides. These Martin County reefs have been incorporated into Florida's Coral Reef Conservation Program, a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.


Last updated: April 06, 2015

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