Lagoon Waterfront Properties
Over our 20 year history, the Indian River Land Trust has worked to retain the character that makes this county unique by protecting environmentally important land and conserving its wildlife habitat and water quality. With real property valuations at a generational low for river frontage parcels, the Land Trust has an historic opportunity to make a lasting impact in our community.
Early in 2009, the IRLT Board of Directors determined that the Indian River Lagoon was its highest priority for protection, especially in light of the declining real estate market and increased availability of properties near the Lagoon. Given this direction, Indian River Land Trust staff utilized a strategic approach for identifying Lagoon parcels in need of protection. A computer mapping process allowed staff to prioritize undeveloped parcels larger than two acres using a wildlife habitat ranking system developed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
In 2010, IRLT initiated efforts to purchase and manage undeveloped waterfront parcels along the Indian River Lagoon. The Land Trust is currently in discussions with a dozen waterfront property owners on both the east and west shorelines of the river.
Through the efforts of the Lagoon Waterfront Initiative, the Indian River Land Trust will:
Since 2009 the IRLT has acquired more than 925 acres and over 8 and a half miles of frontage on the Indian River Lagoon. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together as we work to preserve the remaining undeveloped land along our Indian River Lagoon.
- Preserve environmentally important land and water resources of the lagoon
- Protect scenic waterfront areas of the river from further development
- Provide open space for public recreation and education
Coastal Oaks Preserve Acquisition:
In September 2011, the Land Trust purchased the 191-acre Coastal Oaks Preserve. Located 1/2 mile north of the St. Lucie County border, the property anchors a five mile conservation corridor on the west side of the Lagoon. The property's tropical oak hammocks, wetlands, and ponds provide a critical habitat for hundreds of wildlife species. In December 2016, the Preserve was expanded to 220 acres with the acquisition of a 29-acre key conservation property containing important bottomland hardwood forests.
Bee Gum Point:
On March 15, 2011, the Land Trust purchased Bee Gum Point, at the time, the largest piece of conservation property in our 20 year history. The 111-acre property is one of the last unprotected wetlands on the barrier island and contains a mile of lagoon shoreline. It is situated along the Atlantic Flyway, a major corridor for millions of migrating birds each year and is a key property in an important block of conservation lands along the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in the nation. The primary purpose for purchasing Bee Gum Point is to protect important habitat along the Indian River Lagoon. The property will remain as a natural area for conservation and will be available for periodic IRLT guided walking and bird watching tours.
Winter Beach Salt Marsh:
In November 2010, IRLT purchased 50 acres of conservation land along the west side of the Indian River Lagoon off of 63rd Street. The property contains 1/4 mile of lagoon frontage and is one of two remaining intact high salt marshes in Indian River County. The property is made up of approximately 1/3 uplands, 1/3 oak hammock and 1/3 wetlands. It is adjacent to Spoonbill Marsh, a 45-acre man-made marsh managed by the County Utilities Department. The Land Trust's purchase of the 50-acre property more than doubles the protected conservation area.
Bridge View Properties:
In spring 2013 The Land Trust acquired 200+ acres and more than a mile of shoreline property. In two independent transactions, IRLT acquired both a 56-acre and a 150-acre property. These two properties are a critical part of a two-mile stretch of green shoreline in full view from the Barber Bridge. In 2014, the Land Trust added an additional 25 acres of maritime hammock, high salt marsh and mangrove forest in an effort to further protect the fully restored wetlands located on the 200+ acre Bridgeview Property.
Oyster Bar Marsh:
Oyster Bar Marsh consists of a 155-acre mangrove forest located on the west side of the barrier island, one-half mile north of the St. Lucie County Line. Recognizing the important conservation value of this coastal wetland ecosystem, Indian River County acquired and protected the northern portion of Oyster Bar Marsh in 2001. In 2015, the Land Trust acquired an additional 30-acres, thereby protecting nearly all of the two miles of Lagoon shoreline. In partnership with Indian River County, the Land Trust is developing a recreational trail along the shoreline of Oyster Bar Marsh. The trail will include boardwalks and observation platforms highlighting the diverse plant and animal life as well as spectacular Lagoon views.