ACCORDING TO BARCHAM RODGERS, SPOIL ISLAND COORDINATOR IN FORT PIERCE, their are approximately ten Spoil Islands in the Indian River Lagoon still available for adoption.
When you adopt an island, you or your group is required to sign a contract to clean-up your island four times each year.
In our community, some familiar groups that have adopted Spoil Islands are The Rotary Club of Vero Beach Sunrise, the Sebastian Sail and Power Squadron, Grand Harbor and the Moorings Yacht and County Club. Some islands have been adopted by private individuals.
During the 1953 -1961 timeframe, 137 Spoil Islands were created from dredging a 12 foot deep channel within the 156 miles and four counties of the Indian River Lagoon; resulting in the Atlantic Inter-Coastal Waterway.
Indian River County has 55 Spoil Islands, St. Lucie County has 34 and Martin County has seven.
The State of Florida owns 124 of the islands, there are four dedicated to Martin County and the remaining 13 are either owned by U.S. Government, private interests or FIND, the Florida Inland Navigational District.
Once the Islands were created they quickly became populated with native and exotic plants and animals.
There are four categories of islands:
- “Conservation” Islands, which are not to be used for recreation;
- “Education” Islands used for environmental education programs;
- “Passive Recreation” Islands used for day time recreation only;
- and larger “Active Recreation” Islands, where campsites, sanitary facilities, barbecue pits and docks exist.
47 of the Islands are for Conservation, nine are for education, 56 are for passive recreation and 12 are for active recreation. (Source: Spoils Island Management Plan / 1990.)
If you or your organization hasn’t adopted a Spoil Island but you wish to explore and help maintain an island, the staff of the Florida Environmental Protection Agency’s (FDEP) Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves hosts “Soil Island Enhancement Days,” where volunteers plant Florida native plants, build and repair picnic tables and generally clean-up the islands.
FDEP transports volunteers to a designated island at 8:30 a.m. or those with their own boats are welcome to meet at the island. After arrival, volunteers are given a task list for the session and arrive back at the boat ramp at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Volunteers work around chainsaws and herbicide in dense vegetations.
Should you wish to adopt an island or volunteer please contact Mr. Rodgers using this link: