History of IRLT

  • Indian River Land Trust is established in Vero Beach, FL
  • IRLT helps promote $26 million bond referendum
    Approved by voters to purchase environmentally sensitive land.
  • Archie Carr Refuge for Sea Turtles Fund
    IRLT establishes fund to enable protection of sea turtle habitat in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
  • McKee Botanical Garden Purchase and Restoration
    IRLT completes ten year, $10 million project culminating in the protection of McKee Garden in perpetuity through a conservation easement held by IRLT.
  • Environmental Land Bond Referendum
    IRLT leads countywide effort for passage of $50 million bond referendum approved by 67% of voters to purchase land and easements to protect our natural, historic and agricultural land.
  • IRLT researches and produces digital map of Indian River County's most important environmentally sensitive lands.
  • Gopher Tortoise Study
    IRLT funds a study in the North Sebastian Conservation Area to determine tortoise populations, carrying capacities of the Preserve, and the potential for relocating tortoises displaced by development.

    Protection of Treasure Hammock Ranch
    IRLT initiates and facilitates county project to purchase a conservation easement on the 462-acre historic, working cattle ranch containing wetlands, native wildlife, and natural water filtration. This is the first true agricultural conservation easement in the State of Florida.

    Protection of Padgett Creek Ranches
    IRLT assists with county project to purchase conservation easements on more than 1,600 acres of environmentally significant working cattle ranchland containing the Padgett Branch, a critical waterway leading directly to Blue Cypress Lake and the St. John's River.
  • Lagoon Greenway
    Initiated a multi-agency effort to establish and manage miles of trails and boardwalks through 187 acres of conservation lands along the Indian River Lagoon, including a 66-acre property owned by IRLT.
  • Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail
    Acquired two parcels totaling eight acres along the Indian River Lagoon which will provide public access to a 50-acre block of publicly managed parcels of oak hammocks, dwindling native scrub forest and essential mangrove swamps, with beautiful views of the lagoon.
  • Land Trust Doubles Conservation Lands North of Barber Bridge
    Purchased 4-acre waterfront property on Historic Quay Dock Road.

    November 2010 completed the purchase of Winter Beach Salt Marsh a 47-acre high salt marsh and mangrove swamp with a 1/4 mile of lagoon frontage adjacent to the Spoonbill Marsh conservation area. This acquisition doubles the protected area available to dozen of species of wading birds such as the threatened Roseate Spoonbill and Wood Stork.
  • Purchased our largest pieces of conservation property in our 20 year history.
    Bee Gum Point - The 111-acre property is one of the last undeveloped wetlands on the barrier island, containing a mile of lagoon shoreline. It situated along the Atlantic Flyway, a major corridor for millions of migrating birds each year, and will remain a natural area for conservation. This purchase was made possible with the Financial assistance of The Conservation Fund.

    Coastal Oaks Preserve - This 185 acres located on the west side of the Indian River Lagoon contains tropical hammocks, wetlands and ponds, as well as a mile of Lagoon shoreline.
  • Federal Grant - The Indian River Land Trust was awarded a one million dollar grant by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This grant, made available through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, was provided for completing the acquisition of Bee Gum Point.

    Pine Island - The Land Trust accepted a donation of 130 acres of premier conservation land. This gift along with the acquisition of 60 acres in March 2012, assembles 190 acre block of significant wading bird habitat.
  • Expansion of the Winter Beach Salt Marsh: In an effort to fully protect the Winter Beach Salt Marsh IRLT originally acquired in 2010, we added 5 acres and 1/4 mile of shoreline, expanding the property to 52 acres. Now, the IRLT's salt marsh properties and the County's adjoining Spoonbill Marsh north of Grand Harbor now make up a nearly 100 acre block of contiguous conservation lands with a mile of protected shoreline.

    Purchased Bridge View Properties: The Land Trust acquired another 200+ acres and more than a mile of shoreline property in the spring. In two independent transactions, IRLT acquired 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.
  • Expansion of Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail conservation lands: July 2014: Through a three-way transaction between IRLT, Indian River County and the St. Johns River Water Management District, the IRLT was able to acquire 30 acres of publicly managed oak hammock, scrub and coastal wetlands. This ecologically significant property would have been sold by the State as "surplus" had IRLT not intervened.

    December 2014: IRLT accepted the generous donation of an 11.6-acre property from Virginia and Warren Schwerin and family. This valuable property, located along Hwy U.S. 1, now serves as an important upland buffer to adjoining Lagoon-front property owned by IRLT and has expanded the conservation area to over 50 acres.

    Expansion of Bridgeview Properties: The Land Trust purchased 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.

    Late November, acquired the final puzzle piece of the Lost Tree Island Archipelago. Van Busch Island, now named Cove Island is a 15 acre island a mile north of the Barber Bridge.
  • Winter Beach Salt Marsh
    With donor and federal grant support, we began a significant effort to restore one of the last remnant high salt marshes in our County.

    Reed Cut
    Part of a long-term strategy in the Wabasso area to conserve a nearly 150-acre block of natural lands along the Indian River Lagoon that already included 60 acres of Land Trust properties on the northern end, this key 10-acre parcel was the first acquisition on the southern end.
  • Fisheries study
    Beginning in 2016, ongoing monitoring of juvenile snook and tarpon on IRLT-protected properties, including Bee Gum Point Preserve, is yielding important information about how to manage mosquito impoundments more effectively, recognizing that they are vital habitat for regional sportfish. Check out this research paper or or short video about the ongoing project, funded in part by the Ladies of the Lagoon.

    Coastal Oaks Preserve
    Further acquisitions expanded the preserve to 220 acres that encompass five distinct habitat types.
  • Mathew Property
    Acquiring this 30-acre property was a key element of the Land Trust's long-term strategy in the Wabasso area to conserve a nearly 150-acre block of natural lands along the Indian River Lagoon, which had already included an additional 60 acres of Land Trust property.
  • Hoffmann Property
    IRLT acquires 66 additional acres, extending the Bridge View connected habitats. This land had high development potential and represents a big victory for preservation.

Additional Accomplishments:
  • IRLT has been an active partner in the improvement and expansion of the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and the historic Jungle Trail.

  • IRLT has been a critical partner in the establishment of the St. Sebastian River Greenway by developing the St. Sebastian River Greenway Plan, adopted by the Indian River County Board of Commissioners, and securing associated lands at risk with the goal of protecting a corridor of native habitat leading into the Indian River Lagoon.