The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area straddles an ancient coastal dune system with remnants from Indian River County south through Palm Beach County. High and dry these ancient dunes were among the first areas to be developed along the Treasure Coast and scrub habitats are now isolated in small patches in Palm Beach County.
Currently 63 acres in Lots 15 and 19 are predominately scrub habitats. Three prescribed burns have been conducted in three blocks over the last ten years. Most of the aged sand pine remaining in the unburned blocks was killed by the 2004 hurricanes, transforming much of the tract. On the eastern portion of the tract there is a narrow band of tropical hardwood hammock transitioning into mangrove and a tidal lagoon along the Indian River Lagoon/Intracoastal Waterway.
Special Status Species
Four-petal pawpaw (Asimina tetramera), Federal and State-listed as Endangered
Perforate lichen (Cladonia perforata), Federal and State-listed as Endangered
Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) Federal and State-listed as Threatened (not seen onsite
West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), Federal and State-listed as Endangered
Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), Florida Species of Special Concern
Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), Florida Species of Special Concern
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), Florida Species of Special Concern
Tri-colored heron (Egretta tricolor), Florida Species of Special Concern
Curtiss milkweed (Asclepias curtissii), State-listed as Endangered
Large-leaved rosemary (Conradina grandiflora), State-listed as Threatened
Nodding pinweed (Lechea cernua), State-listed as Threatened
Banded wild pine (Tillandsia flexuosa), State-listed as Threatened
Reflexed wild pine (Tillandsia balbisiana), State-listed as Threatened
Giant wild pine (Tillandsia utriculata), State-listed as Endangered
Common wild pine (Tillandsia fasciculata), State-listed as Endangered
Thirty-eight exotic plant species have been identified on Lots 15 and 19. Thirteen of these have been identified by Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council as having the capacity to invade and disrupt native plant communities. Brazilian pepper and Australian pine dominated much of the perimeter of the tract when habitat improvement work began in 1997.
Key Past Actions
- Three prescribed burns totaling 17 acres have been completed in Lot 15:
o 1998 - 5.3 acres, scrub oaks chopped prior to burn
o 2002 - 5.8 acres, sand pine canopy removed prior to burn
o 2008 – 6 acres, post hurricane, most heavy fuels removed prior to burn
- A two-acre tidal lagoon with mangroves and upland plantings was completed in 1999.
- Removal of woody invasive plants, primarily Australian pine and Brazilian pepper, was completed by 2004. Lot 17 and portions of Lot 18 around the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse remain untreated.
- Annual sweeps continue to control invasive vines and herbaceous exotics by hand pulling and hand applied spot treatments of herbicide in Lots 15, 16 and 19. Quarterly sweeps are conducted in Lot 18.
- Slope stabilization was completed along a section of the Loxahatchee River in 2005.