Florida Sandhill CraneFlorida Sandhill Crane.
Photo credit: Barbara Birdsey
Over 11,000 acres of privately-owned land located west of the residential community of Hobe Sound separate Jonathan Dickinson and the Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Parks. Located in Florida’s Atlantic Coastal Ridge, where the maximum elevation is 86 feet above sea level on Hobe Mountain, wetlands may have little to no surface water half of the year, and water flows are nearly undetectable during the dry season. But when skies darken and summer rains fall, water in formerly “isolated” wetlands flows south through Kitching Creek into the Loxahatchee River and north into the South Fork of the St. Lucie River. Numerous threatened and endangered plant species exist on several undeveloped tracts, which also serve as critical pathways for native fauna that move between the state parks.

In 2018, The Conservation Fund, The Guardians of Martin County and the Treasured Lands Foundation began developing a campaign to bring these key properties into conservation. Critical lands within the project area have been on the State’s Florida Forever list of desirable, at risk, parcels for years, but intense competition for limited state dollars has prevented the project from scoring high enough to attract state funding. These properties, which are situated at the edge of Martin County’s Primary Urban Services District, are subject to intense development pressure, as the demand for residences and urban development surges north from the megalopolis of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. In fact, this area is the last large undeveloped natural area of its kind east of I-95 that has not yet been claimed for development or conservation.

 

our role

Our coalition is working together to protect this last remaining wild area and these two watersheds that also feed into the Indian River Lagoon system. We are currently negotiating with the willing seller of a strategically-located, 138-acre representing two miles of frontage on Bridge Road—the sole infrastructure impediment that interrupts water flow and animal movement between Jonathan Dickinson and the Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Parks.Great Egret in Loxa Lucie GBraun Great Egret in Loxa-Lucie.
Photo credit: G. Braun


The conservation of this property will protect water, wildlife, and preserve the rural character of the area. It will also help leverage funding from the State of Florida’s Florida Forever program towards protection of the larger Loxa-Lucie landscape.

 

Why It Matters

Many land speculators have had a different vision for this land, including carving it up into dozens of single-family residential homesites, which would interrupt surface and subsurface hydrologic flow and animal movement between the state parks and water flowing into the already endangered Indian River Lagoon system, the most biologically diverse estuary in the country. As our work across the United States has shown, purchasing land from willing sellers while it is still in restorable condition is much less expensive than trying to retrofit channelized water flow and address the habitat fragmentation that results from residential development.

Once these lands are brought into conservation management, they will be able to manage water flow into the Loxahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers and provide opportunities for recreation for residents and visitors. They will also provide permanent protection for wildlife corridors, foraging and nesting habitat for native wildlife species including wood storks, snail kites and limpkins, and will maintain biodiversity in a corridor that links over 16,500 acres of existing state park lands.

 

what can you do?

Making A Gift To The Conservation Fund
On behalf of The Conservation Fund, thank you for your support of the Loxa-Lucie project. Your restricted gift will directly support the project acquisition costs associated with the purchase of the Loxa-Lucie project in Hobe Sound, FL.

Acknowledgements & Recognition
We formally acknowledge all contributions to The Conservation Fund by letter. Unless directed by the donor to remain anonymous, all gifts of $1,000 and more are recognized in The Conservation Fund’s annual report. Thank you for your thoughtful commitment.

Donation via Check
Checks should be made payable to The Conservation Fund. Please designate your gift by including Worldwide Fabrics/Bridge Rd, FL #26995 on the reference line and mail to The Conservation Fund’s headquarters: 1655 N. Fort Myer Drive, Suite 1300, Arlington, VA 22209

Donation online
To donate online to the Loxa-Lucie project, please click here.

Donation via Wire
Please contact Scott Tison at stison@conservationfund.org.

 Y6A8562 Edit2 LR Alligator lily G Smith
Alligator lily. Photo credit: G. Smith