|Resource Management at North Fork St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve
The North Fork St. Lucie River was artificially straightened by US Army Corps of Engineers and
North St. Lucie Water Control District in the early 1900s to provide flood control and improve navigation.
During this process, original riverbends and adjacent wetlands were isolated from the river as the banks
of the newly channelized area were lined with large dredge spoil deposits. Erosion of the banks along
the shoreline increased turbidity in the preserve while isolation of floodplain habitat and oxbows
dramatically decreased the residence time of water within the North Fork. Reduced residence time
ultimately decreased the amount of nutrient absorption and settlement of suspended solids before the
water reached seagrass and oyster reef habitat in the southern section of the preserve and the Middle
The Resource Management Program currently focuses on
information dissemination, group coordination and
Hydrologic restoration projects, such as oxbow and floodplain reconnections, have been shown to
improve water quality and habitat for native species.
- Shoreline Restoration
Shoreline restoration has been a part of the hydrologic restoration projects in North Fork
St. Lucie Aquatic Preserve.
- Land Acquisition
Acquisition of adjacent helps protect the natural
resources of the preserve. Prioritization of desired
parcels is still needed.
Although removal of large muck deposits from the SLR would be favorable, several monetary and
environmental concerns have slowed the
process. Three pilot muck removal projects have provided
answers to many issues. However, the process will be
expensive, and cost-effective beneficial uses of St.
Lucie muck sediments remain to be identified.
- Oyster Reef Restoration
Preserve staff support the oyster reef restoration
projects by Florida Oceanographic Society, Martin County
and St. Lucie County.
September 24, 2010
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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