Mangrove wetlands and lighthouse
Mangrove wetlands and lighthouse
Credit: BLM

Bureau of Land ManagementJupiter Inlet Natural Area

Member Since: 06/03/2004

Primary Contact: Faye Winters
Other Contacts: Katie O'Gara, Neal White

North side of Bridge Road
East of U.S. Hwy 1
Tequesta, FL 33469
(601) 977-5431 (Mississippi BLM office)

Educational Partners: The Jupiter High School Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy (JREFSA) is a magnet program focused on natural resource management. They currently use the Jupiter Inlet ACEC as an outdoor classroom conducting monitoring programs for upland post-burn areas and for tidal wetlands. The students have been involved in project design, including building and testing custom nets for sampling the ONA's lagoon fisheries, and in designing a protocol for quantifying sand pine regeneration in two burn plots. They have established photo plots for both burn plots and currently have two years of quarterly photos, as well as vegetation transect data., JERFSA is a partner in the Jupiter Inlet Working Group, which represents BLM, two municipalities, Palm Beach County, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Loxahatchee River Historical Society. JERFSA lists an additional 25 cooperating partners throughout the area. JERFSA provides over 75 field activities per year, including "Enviroservice" where students contribute over 230 hours of environmental service every month, much of it as on the ground habitat improvement projects on federal, state or county lands., JERFSA student projects slide-show:, JERFSA Student Projects, The Bureau of Land Management's summer intern project slide-show:, 2010 Intern Project

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On May 8, 2008, Public Law 110-229 brought the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) into being, designating it a unit within the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). Of the over 850 units within the NLCS, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA is the first and only unit east of the Mississippi River. Designation of this "island of green" in heavily urbanized south Florida to the NLCS is very significant - indeed making the system truly national.

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse ONA is home to a remarkable array of natural and cultural resources. It is one of the rare geographical points on the planet where these two sets of values intersect in such striking fashion. Perhaps this is most clearly demonstrated by the fact that today this 120-acre site provides habitat for 25 special status species (including four Federally-listed) and yet also has cultural resource values so rich that continuous human occupation of 5,000 years can be documented.

There are few locations where history and the natural environment have so perfectly converged. This can be seen in the abundant fresh water and rich fisheries that lured Juan Ponce De Leon in 1513 to take respite at Jupiter Inlet for several days, or the bluff at the confluence of the Loxahatchee and Indian Rivers - a bluff that attracted indigenous people for thousands of years. This bluff also provided the optimal location to construct a lighthouse to safely guide ships past the treacherous reefs and sand bars off of Jupiter Inlet. The Jupiter Narrows (Indian River) with its meandering mangrove islands played a key role in concealing blockade runners in the civil war. Today, the same Indian River, which graces the eastern border of the ONA is one of the richest and most biologically diverse estuaries in North America.

The Management Plan is currently being developed pursuant to section 202(c)(1) of the designating Act. It describes the resources that currently exist within the ONA, past and present uses, and how we arrived at the point we are today. The Plan strives to strike a balance between use and conservation, between public access and preservation of imperiled habitat, between recreational opportunities, and protection of the sacred trust of the people that came before us. Most importantly, it outlines over 40 proposed actions and alternatives that address a wide range of issues and needs.

These were carefully and collaboratively developed by the Jupiter Inlet Working Group - a unique partnership of Federal, county, municipal and non-profit entities dedicated to this special site. Working Group members include The Bureau of Land Management, the United States Coast Guard, Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management Department, the Town of Jupiter, the Village of Tequesta, The Loxahatchee River Historical Society, and the Jupiter High School Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy.

Contact Faye Winters for more information.

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