Bear Point Mitigation Bank

Bear Point Mitigation Bank ProjectMitigation Bank permits authorized St. Lucie County to establish a 317-acre mitigation bank on County-owned wetlands adjacent to the Indian River Lagoon.

Bear Point Mitigation Bank is in Mosquito Control District Impoundment 1, about 1.3 miles south of Ft. Pierce Inlet, in Sections 12 and 13, Township 35 South, Range 40 East (Class III Waters). Click here for location map.

Mitigation activities include enhancing water quality and wildlife habitat by increasing water exchange, removing exotic plants, and continuing to improve management practices.

Work implemented under the permits is used as mitigation for impacts at other locations within the service area, from Sebastian Inlet to St. Lucie Inlet along the Indian River Lagoon, yielding a total of 49.8 estuarine mangrove mitigation bank credits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and 43.3 credits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The main basis of the mitigation plan is the enhancement of water quality and hydrology by adding twenty-four 36-inch culverts through the impoundment levee and increasing the volume of pumped water (using an additional pump station, previously permitted). The additional gated culverts allow significantly increased water, nutrient, and faunal exchange during the open culvert months (generally mid-September to mid-April), simulating natural conditions with no levee.

During the flooded, pumping period (May-September), about 49,000 gallons per minute are continuously pumped into the impoundment. After an initial “pump-up,” with culvert gates closed, the volume of pumped water is maintained, and several of the culvert gates are partly or completely opened, to mimic the natural tidal volume exchanged, while maintaining desired water levels

During the pumping period, the target water exchange volume is 80% of what would naturally be exchanged if the levee were not present. Although this volume will not always move freely in and out of all the culverts, several different types of culvert gate allow various discharge types: bottom water, surface water, outflow only, two-way exchange. The setting and adjustment of these control structures regulate circulation and water quality in the impoundment, and are changed weekly, based on water level and water quality data. The mitigation plan also calls for at least one draw-down in the summer for a 2-week period to allow for more complete flushing of water and to enhance feeding opportunities for wading birds.

In addition to enhancing the hydrology, flooding the impoundment with salt water helps reduce exotic infestation. Invasive exotic plants on the levee include Australian pines, Brazilian peppers, and grasses, which are controlled as needed by regular cutting and herbiciding. Those sites are revisited on a regular basis for follow-up treatment and to confirm the re-establishment of native vegetation.

For more information about the Bear Point Mitigation Bank, please contact:

St Lucie County Mosquito Control District
3150 Will Fee Road
Fort Pierce, FL 34982
Phone: (772) 462-1692