Hot Spot - Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves, FL

The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves is experiencing severe impacts from outdoor activities and is one of the many Hot Spots in 2018. With site-specific training, consulting, educational programs, service projects and more, these threatened areas can be put on a road to a healthy recovery.

The Spoil Islands of the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves provide beautiful views, easy island access for kayakers and sights of stingrays, dolphins and other wildlife that call this unique ecosystem home. Many visitors use the various recreational islands for camping and picnicking, however resources on the islands are limited. They provide no access to fresh water, facilities or downed wood. Lack of preparation and high visitation have created various recreation-related impacts including cutting and burning of native vegetation, human waste impacts, illegal campfire rings, and litter.

The Spoil Islands were first selected as a Hot Spot in 2017. As a part of the initial Hot Spot efforts Leave No Trace worked with staff from the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves to host 11 events in which they were able to reach over 400 local stakeholders with Leave No Trace education. They also worked to install new educational signage to help educate future visitors on how to mitigate their impacts on the islands. In 2018 Leave No Trace will return to the area to continue to help the Spoil Islands on their journey to recovery.

Photo by: Jeff Holloway

Friday, February 9th
Lunch and Learn at the Manatee Center
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm 
Where: Manatee Center, Fort Pierce, FL
Contact: Emily Dark, or Erin Lomax,
Additional Details: Come join the Traveling Trainers for a Leave No Trace workshop at the Manatee Center! Learn how to practice Leave No Trace and protect your favorite outdoor spaces. 
St. Lucie County Spoil Island Clean-up and Sign Installation
Time: 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Where: Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit Boat Ramp and St. Lucie County Spoil Islands
Contact: Please contact Emily Dark,, to register. 
Additional Details: Come join the Leave No Trace team and Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves staff for a clean-up of the local Fort Pierce Islands installation of signage on conservation islands. The Leave No Trace team will also be discussing how to best practice Leave No Trace and minimize your impact when recreating on the Spoil Islands. 
Leave No Trace at Sailfish Brewery
Time: 7:00 pm 
Where: Sailfish Brewery, Fort Pierce, FL 
Contact: Emily Dark,
Additional Details: Come join the Leave No Trace team for a brew and learn more about Leave No Trace and the efforts at Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves. 
Saturday, February 10th
Party in the Park Education Day
Time: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm 
Where: Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
Contact: Emily Dark,
Additional Details: Leave No Trace will have a booth and talking with visitors about practicing Leave No Trace at this annual event. 
Sunday, February 11th
Leave No Trace Guided Nature Walk at the Oxbow Eco-Center 
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm 
Where: Oxbow Eco-Center, Port St. Lucie, FL
Contact: To register please contact Erin Cartmill,
Additional Details: Come join the Leave No Trace team for a short presentation and guided hike at the Oxbow Eco-Center to learn how to practice Leave No Trace and prevent recreation-related impacts while enjoying your favorite outdoor spaces.