The North Fork floodplain is comprised of a unique combination of temperate and subtropical species such
as this rare butterfly orchid.
The Southeast Florida Aquatic Preserves (SEFLAP) program has a staff of three Full Time Equivalent
positions (FTE; two field and one administrative) and one full-time, temporary, Park Service
Specialist position (OPS) to manage four Aquatic Preserves. The four Preserves total nearly 48,327
acres in 4 highly developed counties of Southeast Florida; Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm
Beach. The management goals identified in this plan for the North Fork SLR Aquatic Preserve
must be balanced with the management goals of three additional Preserves affiliated with the IRL
and the Loxahatchee River. The SEFLAP program has developed a strategic plan to include staff
responsibility breakdown, vehicle and vessel replacement, and facility, staffing, and program needs
that is revised on an annual basis.
Successful implementation of the strategies identified in the plan depends upon unpredictable
funding and staffing factors over the next ten years. For example, engaging the community and
boosting the education and outreach program has been identified as an issue by local residents
and the North Fork SLR Aquatic Preserve Advisory Committee. Currently, less than 10% of staff
time is spent on education and outreach for the Preserve. A full time education position will be
necessary for staff to reach these education goals. The help of local residents and volunteers is
another essential key to reaching the identified goals associated with the debris removal program,
distribution of information, and citizen patrol. A volunteer database and distribution list has already
been established and will be maintained to effectively document the amount of assistance the
community provides to the management of the Preserve.
The River Lilly cruise provides guided tours of the North Fork St. Lucie River.
Facilities - The Southeast Florida Aquatic Preserves field office is located in Fort Pierce within SLR
Preserve, a subparcel managed by Savannas Preserve State Park. Office components consists of
one 1456 square foot modular building with five offices that was built in 2003 and has a design life of
30 years, three portable sheds purchased in 2001, 2002, and 2006, and a three-bay (two open and
one enclosed) pole barn for boat storage built in 2004 and extended in 2007 that has a design life of
20 years. The office was not leveled properly when it was placed on the property in 2003. Due to this
oversight, the sides of the office are settling and the building is separating down the ridge line. The
ceilings have small stress cracks, the walls have large (1/4 inch) vertical cracks, and a ridge is forming
down the center of the floor. Annual funds will be allocated to re-leveling the office on an annual basis
to help maintain the structural integrity for as long as possible. It is unlikely that the building meet the
expected design life of 30 years.
Upon the occasion of a hurricane storm event, all vessels and vehicles of the Preserve will follow
the procedures outlined in the Southeast Florida Aquatic Preserves hurricane plan which is
Vehicles and Vessels - All major vehicles and vessels deemed necessary in the strategic plan have
been acquired. As part of the program’s strategic planning cycle, the suitability and condition of all
vehicles and vessels in the program undergo a monthly inspection and maintenance by staff or an
authorized vendor. The annual cost for fuel and maintenance is approximately $1,100 for the two vessels
and $3,400 for the two vehicles, respectively. This is expected to increase with increasing cost of fuel and
vessel and vehicle age.
Vessels and vessel functions follow:
1. 19’ Carolina Skiff with 90 Hp Mercury Four Stroke Engine - Acquired in 2001 for field work in
shallow coastal waters within four Southeast Aquatic Preserves. The Carolina Skiff has a wide (6
foot) beam and a side console which makes it an excellent vessel for hauling field equipment to
monitoring and enhancement sites.
2. 19’ Twin Vee Bay Cat with 115 Hp Yamaha Four Stroke Engine - Acquired in 2007 for field work
in coastal waters in four Southeast Aquatic Preserves and near shore reef environments within St.
Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park.
Vehicles and vehicle functions follow:
1. GMC 3500 4x4 Dually Sierra (with winch) - Acquired in 2000 for North Fork SLR Buffer Preserve
land management projects and for towing boats. Since the management transfer of the North Fork
SLR State Buffer Preserve to Savannas State Park in 2004, the GMC has primarily been used to
tow boats and transfer building supplies for the IRL Spoil Island Project. The fuel efficiency of the
GMC is poor and despite low mileage the vehicle is becoming unreliable and costly to maintain.
Funds have been requested to replace the GMC during the 08-09 Fiscal Year with a more efficient
four-wheel drive vehicle that can tow either boat, haul heavy building supplies, and serve as a
second vehicle for travel.
2. Chevy Blazer 4x4 - Acquired in 1998 for travel and towing boats to four Southeast Aquatic
Preserves. With 103,000 miles, the Blazer is also becoming unreliable and costly to maintain.
This is the primary vehicle used for long-distance travel to meetings, science symposia, and
workshops. A replacement four-wheel drive vehicle will be needed in the near future to maintain
efficient operation of Aquatic Preserve programs.
3. Chevy Blazer 4x4 - 1998 model transferred from DEP’s Southeast District Office to the Southeast
Aquatic Preserves Field Office in 2007. This surplus vehicle has 94,000 miles, is without air
conditioning, and is the primary vehicle used by the grant-funded Indian River Lagoon Shoreline
Revegetation Coordinator. The vehicle is used to travel and tow a boat throughout the shoreline
revegetation project boundary which extends from Brevard to Palm Beach Counties. Four new tires
and a tow package were installed on the vehicle after the transfer in 2007.