St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department (ERD) is committed to providing County residents with excellent customer service while being vigilant about the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations. It is our role and responsibility to prioritize two things: the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff while protecting, preserving, and enhancing St. Lucie County’s environmental resources. To achieve these goals, ERD’s main office, and the Oxbow Eco-Center will be closed to the public, though personnel will still be available to answer phone calls and emails. ERD’s Guided Nature Program series and Earth Day at the Oxbow Eco-Center have been suspended during this time, however, on the bright side, all of our preserves remain open from dawn to dusk every day and are FREE to visit. www.stluciepreserves.com
We appreciate your understanding that as a customer, your experience with ERD may be altered as we navigate this time together.
The Environmental Resources Department’s Mission is to preserve, protect and enhance SLC’s environmental resources through sustainable land management practices, regulations, public education and outreach.
Environmental Resources Department currently has a staff of 20 throughout its 3 divisions who work with citizens, businesses, homeowners and other stakeholders to carry out our mission.
Environmental Regulations Division
The Environmental Regulations Division reviews all proposed development to ensure compliance with the County’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code as well as compatibility with the County’s long-term vision. Regulations staff is responsible at a local level to identify the habitats of critical importance, work with land owners and developers to ensure avoidance and minimization of impacts to these importance areas and encourage preservation and appropriate mitigation to compensate for any unavoidable impacts. Regulations staff also provides support for multi-departmental and multi-agency initiatives with staff expertise in wetland delineation, gopher tortoise monitoring and management, and habitat conservation planning for threatened or endangered species such as the Florida Scrub-jay.
Environmental Lands Division
The Environmental Lands Division acquires, manages and monitors over 9,000 acres of preserves, parks and trails distributed throughout more than forty sites, twenty-six of which are currently open to the public. Since citizens approved a $20 million bond referendum in 1996, the County has more than tripled the initial funding through local, state and federal matches and partnerships, to purchase, enhance and manage over 9,000 acres of preserves. Land is acquired to preserve and protect native habitat as well as create a system of linear corridors for wildlife and greenways, blueways, hiking and paddling trails. These preserves provide passive recreational opportunities and are a critical part of the County’s ecotourism. While land is still actively being acquired, the focus has shifted to the next stage; internally called the “polishing stage” involving branding, marketing and planning from a visitor’s perspective. ERD hopes to create an inviting, welcoming first impression and enjoyable experience for preserve visitors.
Environmental Education and Community Outreach Division
The Environmental Education and Community Outreach Division operates out of the Oxbow Eco-Center and provides county-wide educational programs that foster an awareness and appreciation for the natural world, an understanding of ecosystems and sustainability, and a sense of stewardship toward Florida and all its inhabitants. Staff in this division develop programs for adults and youth on County preserves, in schools, and at a variety of venues and works with community partners to provide numerous volunteer opportunities that have a County-wide impact.
Please visit our webpages or contact us for more information. We are happy to talk with you about any of our programs.
Get our and explore St. Lucie County's many beautiful preserves during our FREE Guided Nature Programs. Preregistration is required.
Quick Contact Guide
Main Department: 772-462-2526
Environmental Regulations: 772-462-2526
Environmental Lands: 772-462-2526
Oxbow Eco-Center & Programs: 772-785-5833