Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - County Receives Funds For Preserve RestorationSt. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department has received $13,000 in funding from the Florida Wildlife Commission to reduce the risk of wildfires and improve habitat for gopher tortoises and the endangered Florida Scrub Jays at two preserves.
St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources staff will add 3.15 acres of firebreaks at Sheraton Scrub Preserve, located at 2222 North 41st Street, Fort Pierce, and provide 55 acres of fuel reduction at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, located at 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. This is the third consecutive year that the staff has received FWC funding for habitat improvements at the Indrio Savannahs Preserve. Work on these two preserves is expected to begin this fall.
These funds will be utilized to reduce the amount of overgrown vegetation, enhance habitat and protect adjacent homes from wildfire. This work will also prepare the sites for future prescribed fire activities. Prescribed burns are a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk. Prescribed fire on County lands is carried out by the Environmental Resources staff, in coalition with the Florida Forest Service.
“This Habitat Funding Assistance is especially helpful in that they have multiple benefits, such as habitat improvement and reducing the risk of wildfire, and help to reduce our operational budget. It’s a win-win for the County,” said Environmental Resources Department Director Karen L. Smith.
Purchased through a voter-approved bond referendum, St. Lucie County manages more than two dozen preserves that are open to the public for passive recreation. St. Lucie County's preserves are open every day during daylight hours.
For more information about the County's environmental preserves contact the St. Lucie County Environmental Resources Department at 772-462-2526 or visit: www.stlucieco.gov/erd.