Loxa-Lucie Initiative Secures Second Parcel for Protected Ecological Corridor in Hobe Sound

Posted on October 18, 2023

Hobe Sound, Fla. – An innovative and ambitious plan to create a permanently protected ecological corridor in south Martin County between the Loxahatchee and St. Lucie rivers has taken a significant step forward with a second land acquisition along Bridge Road in Hobe Sound.


The Conservation Fund, a member of the Loxa-Lucie Headwaters Initiative, has closed on a 20-acre tract on the south side of Bridge Road in Hobe Sound. This piece of land is another critical component to the Loxa-Lucie vision for conserving a landscape spanning nearly 70,000 acres between and including Jonathan Dickinson State Park and the Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park.


“We’re especially proud that the land purchase was made possible solely through the generosity of the community,” said Matt Sexton, Senior Vice President and Southeast Regional Director for the Conservation Fund and a Loxa-Lucie Steering Committee member. “The fundraising campaign we launched last December to purchase this piece of land was a great success. The $1.2 million raised enabled us to acquire the land with private donations. We didn’t need to draw on any governmental funds.”


The first parcel purchased by the Loxa-Lucie Initiative was a two-mile long stretch along the north side of Bridge Road that was acquired in 2021. This second acquisition, which is on the south side of Bridge Road and is adjacent to county-owned lands, furthers the Loxa-Lucie Initiative’s vision to bring undeveloped properties along the Bridge Road corridor into permanent conservation stewardship. The tract will help restore previously existing wetlands and assist in re-establishing the natural hydrological connection to the Loxahatchee River. It is within the eastern leg of the Florida Wildlife Corridor project and will also help to conserve a corridor for the wildlife that depend on these connected ecosystems of the Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park.


Historically, this land mass, called the Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem, was recognized by the state as the critical component in the preservation of the Loxahatchee Watershed and the South Fork of the St. Lucie River and was included in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program’s (CERP) Indian River Lagoon South Project.


The need to preserve the remaining lands that are part of these important watersheds is greater than ever. Saltwater intrusion issues in the Loxahatchee, higher demand for potable fresh water, increase in development pressure and rising real estate values are all driving this urgency.


As the Steering Committee for the Loxa-Lucie Initiative continues its campaign to generate funds from private donors for additional land acquisition, it has also taken its message to Tallahassee.  “We’re raising awareness about the project to garner funding through Florida Forever, a well-established state-wide program to buy land for conservation and recreation,” explained Sexton. “We have an opportunity to preserve this precious ecosystem for future generations, and we need to take it.”


The Loxa-Lucie Headwaters Initiative is a collaboration among three well established non-profit 501(c)(3) environmental organizations: the Guardians of Martin County, the Treasured Lands Foundation and The Conservation Fund. The Initiative has generated widespread and growing support among citizens, community groups, businesses and government entities, including the Town of Jupiter Island and the Martin County Board of County Commissioners.


Other organizations that have expressed support include: Audubon of Martin County; Center for Plant Conservation; Friends of Jonathan Dickinson State Park; the Hobe Sound Golf Club; Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program; Jupiter Island Garden Club; Jupiter Island Historical Society; Jupiter Island Residents Association; the Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council; the Martin County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society; the Rivers Coalition; various Hobe Sound area homeowners associations and landowners along the Bridge Road corridor.


The Steering Committee urges all who care deeply about the Loxa-Lucie Initiative and its noble objectives to contribute generously to its ongoing efforts to purchase adjacent and related properties in Martin County. To make a tax-deductible contribution, click here. Education and outreach is also critical to this initiative. To schedule a presentation to your group, contact Greg Braun at 561-758-3417 or execdirector@theguardiansofmartincounty.com.  For more information, visit www.LoxaLucieHeadwaters.org.

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