Completed in August of 2019, the Jupiter Inlet District worked collaboratively with the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) on a project to restore and protect the one remaining mangrove island in the Loxahatchee River's Central Embayment. Boat and storm-induced wave action, swift natural currents and mosquito ditching had caused extensive erosion over time.
Red mangrove habitat plays a critical role in the ecology of the embayment, providing important nursery grounds and physical habitat for a wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates, including many threatened and endangered species. Over the years, Mangrove Island has also served as a bird rookery for species such as the brown pelican. Because mangroves also benefit water quality and clarity by filtering pollutants and trapping sediments, its protection was critical in order to preserve this important and unique resource.
Following a numerical modeling analysis of waves and currents, Taylor Engineering developed conceptual plans for a series of breakwaters surrounding the island to provide protection with sufficient space for natural sediment accumulation behind the structures.
The series of nearshore, low-crested limestone breakwaters were designed to reduce wave energy, while providing hardbottom habitat for fish and other marine life.
The project recived a $190,000 grant from the Loxahatchee River Preservation Initiative (LRPI) to preserve and protect this eroded mangrove island habitat lying just offshore the south shoreline within the Central Embayment of the Loxahatchee River.
Ongoing biological monitoring has documented numerous mangroves taking root within the breakwaters, extensive seagrass growth behind the structures and multiple species of fish taking advantage of this native limestone habitat. For more information about the project, contact the District at (561) 746-2223.