It’s strange to find perhaps the most untouched part of the St Lucie River in the heart of Florida’s eighth largest city, Port St Lucie. In fact a full trip up the North Fork goes all the way to Ft Pierce. Although many of the trickling branches once running to the river have been developed, some have not, and the immediate area around the oxbows was left wild.
Poor water quality from agriculture and development’s runoff plague this 1972 designated Aquatic Preserve but nonetheless it is an incredible relic! Today I share phots and videos of this remarkable place. The photos of mangroves and sable palms look a bit flat and repetitive, but the videos really reveal the dimension of the experience.
Ed and I took put the Maverick in at Leighton Park in Palm City. Other than screaming a few times when gigantic wakes almost enveloped us, it was a great trip- a trip I have not taken in many, many years.
This excerpt from the 1984 Aquatic Preserve Management Plan notes that the North Fork was straightened and channelized by the U.S. Army during World War II, nonetheless much of the fork has the wonderful oxbows as you can see from my phone’s screenshot below. These oxbows are an incredible thing to see and definitely give one the feel of someplace wild and exotic like Africa. Like Florida was not too many years ago…
“Water is the one resource whose characteristics most directly affect this
estuary’s habitability and healthiness for the plants and animals naturally
adapted to living there. The drainage basin of the entire St. Lucie River has
been modified by agricultural drainage and residential development. The North-
Fork-St. Lucie River receives the outfall of two major drainage canals (C-23
and C-24) and many other drainage sources in the upper headwaters. The
freshwater flow from the St. Lucie Canal on the South Fork may also affect the
North Fork indirectly. The uplands surrounding the preserve area are also
modified by the extensive Port St. Lucie residential development and the other
residential developments along the river. The North Fork was also modified by
the U. S. Army during World War II. Those modifications involved the
straightening and channelization of the upper section of the river
(Environmental Quality Laboratory, 1980). The result of all of these
modifications to the river and its basin is that rainfall that may have taken
months to get to the river by natural drainage now takes only hours. The
river that once meandered through a broad floodplain now flows down a deep
channel.” -1969 Internal Improvement Fund via 1984 N.F.A.P.M.P.
Photos North Fork, St Lucie River January 3, 2021
Videos St Lucie North Fork Oxbows
List of Birds/Wildlife/Plants seen 1-3-21 SLR and North Fork