Crystal Beach on Hutchinson Island Protected (FL)
Martin County, FL, 10/18/2007: The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, announced today the preservation of a 10-acre site on Hutchinson Island in Martin County, Florida.
Known locally as Crystal Beach, the property extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian River Lagoon, the most biologically diverse estuary in North America. Preservation of the site will protect ecosystems as diverse as sand dunes with sea oats, both black and red mangroves, and the blackwater of the Lagoon. Here, in the mingling of fresh and salt water, are more than 4,300 species of plants and animals, including 35 that are listed as threatened or endangered — more than any other estuary in North America.
“This acquisition continues Martin County’s tradition of preserving as much beach and river-front property as possible,” said Doug Smith, Martin County Commissioner. “We have been very successful, with the help of The Trust for Public Land and Florida Communities Trust.”
Smith said that, over the past seven years, the county has acquired more than 120 acres of island property, both beachfront and riverfront. One of the primary goals is to close the gaps in preserved property.
“Acquisition of the Crystal Beach property is key because it is near the Santa Lucea parcel acquired five years ago, which was another great acquisition that we partnered on with Florida Communities Trust,” Smith said. “Crystal Beach is a critical piece for continued public access to the waterfront.”
The county acquired the site from TPL with proceeds from a 2006 referendum approved by voters that created a dedicated source of funding for the purchase of land for clean water, wildlife habitat, beaches and parks. The county will seek a state grant from the Florida Communities Trust program to leverage the local dollars.
“Parcels with this unique geography – extending from the ocean to the lagoon – are very rare and are highly sought after for residential development,” said Susan Grandin, director of TPL’s Northeast Florida Office. “Having an oceanfront home with a dock in the backyard for a boat is a dream come true for many people. We were very fortunate that the landowner was willing to work with us to preserve the property.”
Martin County plans to open the parcel for public access with very limited impact.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 sites – over 200,000 acres at a market value of about $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information please call 850-222-7911 or go to www.tpl.org.