Completed in 2014 after decades of work with state and federal partners, the Jupiter Inlet District created the South Shoreline Access Channel in the Loxahatchee River's Central Embayment, located within the larger Loxahatchee River-Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve.
The 1,500-foot long channel was dredged to depth of -5 ft. NGVD with a width of 50-feet, connecting to the Main Channel in the Central Embayment on the East and the Southwest fork of the Loxahatchee River to the West. With extensive seagrass in the area - all located within the larger aquatic preserve - this new channel gave boaters accessing the waterway from the southern shoreline a navigable channel to avoid cutting through the seagrass beds to connect to the Main Channel. Channel markers were installed by and are maintained by the Jupiter Inlet District.
Technical and biological surveys conducted by Taylor Engineering identified extensive prop scaring from boat traffic which can be devastating to sensitive seagrass beds. Seagrasses are extremely important to an ecosystem. 70% of Florida’s marine recreational fish depend on seagrass communities at some point in their lives. Seagrass beds to the Central Embayment on the flood shoal are home to a highly diverse group of plants and animals, including; microscopic bacteria to copepods, shrimp, blue crab and juvenile fish. Manatees depend on seagrasses and they also help to maintain water clarity, stabilizing the river bottom with their root system while providing a nursery for fish and other animals.
With strict environmental protocols in place during construction, and University of Florida study on sedimentation issues and tidal flows within the Loxahatchee River Central Embayment, permits for the project were issued by the Florida Deparment of Enviornmental Protection (FDEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Sediment dredged from the channel was placed the the District's Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA) for future use on public projects.
For more information about the project, contact the District at (561) 746-2223.