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

As of 2004, land use within the North Fork St. Lucie River (SLR) watershed was primarily agricultural and urban; however, urban growth within the last five years has spread westward and accelerated the conversion of agricultural lands to urban lands. Very little natural area is left within this urban corridor.

With the exception of the adjacent public conservation lands, the preserve is almost entirely surrounded by urban areas. In many places there is no buffer between the preserve and urban land. In these cases, the natural shoreline has been removed and homeowner's backyards and commercial properties extend to a seawall, upland retaining wall, rip rap, or directly to the mean high water line.

Within the City of Port St. Lucie, which surrounds approximately half of the preserve, residential and commercial land use accounts for 84% of the total area.

Grass on the riverbank

Urban land may be immediately adjacent to the river.

Both agricultural and urban land use within the watershed can affect the water quality of the preserve. Low quality water (high turbidity, high nutrients, low dissolved oxygen) enters the preserve from agricultural lands through the canal system, and from commercial and residential lands via local drainage canals. In both cases, untreated stormwater runoff from developed lands has heavily impacted not only the preserve, but also its headwaters. Ten Mile Creek and the North Fork SLR have suffered severe water quality degradation and pollution, and have been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as impaired waters. As development increases and agricultural lands are converted to urban lands, it is reasonable to predict that water quality within the preserve will continue to degrade.

Between 2000 and 2007 Florida�s population more than doubled (17%) that of the country (7%). During the same time period Martin County's population increased 13% and St. Lucie County�s population increased 41%, more than five times the rate of the country. The increasing local population affects the preserve in complex ways.









Last updated: April 06, 2015

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