BLM Colorado

BLM Colorado

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area

BLM FISHERIES EASTERN STATES

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area 

The Jupiter Inlet provides a natural outlet for the Loxahatchee River and the Indian River portion of the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean.  Although this tropical estuarine system has been dramatically modified since the turn of the Twentieth Century, it supports healthy mangrove covered shorelines, lagoons, and seagrass beds.  Jupiter Inlet is known as the premier snook fishery of South Florida and its brackish waters support numerous other fish species like tarpon, snappers, redfish, sheepshead, jacks, bluefish, grouper, sea trout, and many others.  The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) encompasses 120 acres of open space within the highly urbanized South Florida coast and affords public access to roughly 2 miles of shoreline.


Jupiter Inlet ONA.  Confluence of the Loxahatchee River (Right) and Indian River (Left) and outlet to the Atlantic Ocean (Above).

Since its inaugural 2015 event, the BLM has hosted its annual Jupiter Inlet Veterans Family Fishing Classic, a community-fishing event in partnership with FishingCommunity.Org, to bring wounded veterans and their families to enjoy fishing instruction free of charge, and provide educational and interpretive activities to foster a deeper appreciation of America’s public lands.  The Jupiter Classic provides an opportunity for underrepresented communities, such as veterans and those who are transitioning out of the military, to socialize with their community and uses fishing as a tool to encourage health and reduce stress.
                         

Mangrove snapper (Lutjanus griseus)

Hardhead catfish (Arius Felis)


In 2016, Hurricane Matthew churned along the Florida coast, staying far enough offshore to avoid a direct hit, but still caused flooding, wind damage, and power failures.  The ONA, like many beaches in Palm Beach County, experienced moderate erosion and overwash from storm surges, that required extensive clean up.  BLM and co-hosts: American Legion Post 271, Diveheart.org, FishingCommunity.Org, Fishing Headquarters, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Leonard Bryant Photography, Loxahatchee River Historical Society, Through Our Lens LLC, Veterans Administration-West Palm Beach, West Palm Beach Fishing Club, and many others, managed to hold a successful event under good weather and great catches for 42 participating wounded heroes and their families.
  

Veterans and families at the Jupiter Inlet Veterans Family Fishing Classic 2015


Veterans and families at the Jupiter Inlet Veterans Family Fishing Classic 2017

The popularity of this event continues to grow, and in 2017, 58 veteran and family members participated in the Jupiter Classic.  In addition to the Jupiter Classic, other ongoing and new veterans and family fishing classes will take place at the ONA.