Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves Participates in ‘Operation Safe Passage’

Oct. 2, 2014

~Multi-agency operation to clean up North Fork of St. Lucie River begins Oct. 1~

The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves will take part in a multi-agency effort to remove navigational hazards in the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. “Operation Safe Passage” takes place Oct. 1-2 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

This collaborative endeavor includes the Port St. Lucie Police Department Marine Unit, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Port St. Lucie Public Works, Port St. Lucie Parks and Recreation, and St. Lucie County Parks and Recreation.

“This cleanup effort will allow for safer navigation through these waters,” said Brian Sharpe, Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves manager. “We are excited to be a part of this important partnership to keep our waters clean of debris.”

On Oct. 1, fallen trees that have previously been identified as hazards to safe navigation will be towed to area boat ramps and stored until they can be removed with heavy equipment by Port St. Lucie Public Works the following day. The trees will be placed in dumpsters and then taken to the landfill where they will be mulched. Fallen trees that are affixed to the shoreline will remain, but will be documented and monitored in the future to prevent them from becoming hazards to navigation.

The storage and removal sites will be Rivergate Park and the River Park Marina. During the first day of the operation, the west boat ramp at Rivergate Park will be closed to facilitate storage. On the second day, the west and center boat ramps will be closed to facilitate removal. The boat ramps at the River Park Marina should not be affected.

Boaters should exercise caution in the North Fork of the St. Lucie River on both days, especially in areas where crews are working.

Aquatic preserves were established by state statute to protect and preserve the vital resources of the state’s waters. The Florida Coastal Office manages more than four million acres of the most valuable submerged lands and select coastal uplands. The office manages 41 aquatic preserves and, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, three National Estuarine Research Reserves, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Coral Reef Conservation Program. For more information about the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves, click here.

WHAT:     Operation Safe Passage

WHEN:     Oct. 1-2
                 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

WHERE:   Rivergate Park
                 2200 S.E. Veterans Memorial Parkway (formerly Midport Road)
                 Port St. Lucie, FL  34952

                 River Park Marina
                 500 E. Prima Vista Blvd
                 Port St. Lucie, FL  34983

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