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Official Guide to the Loxahatchee River and Jupiter Outdoors  

 Loxahatchee River .net -- Your Coastal Connection!

Local Rivers, Waterways & Ecosystems

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Overview of the Loxahatchee River:

The unique ecosystem of the approximately 14-mile long Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee
River has captured the attention and imagination of residents, visitors, agency and community
leaders for many years. Consisting of 10.3 miles of federally-designated Wild and Scenic River,
it provides essential habitats that support a wide spectrum of ecological resources including
freshwater riverine floodplain vegetation such as bald cypress, freshwater and estuarine fishes,
and tidal floodplain vegetation and animals such as mangroves, oysters and seagrasses. In
addition, the National Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River contains unique cultural resources, provides the public with recreational opportunities and was the first of only two rivers in Florida to receive the national designation. Read more: Loxahatchee River Management Plan

Jupiter Inlet and Loxahatchee River - Jupiter, FL (photo courtesy of
Jupiter Inlet, FL 

Loxahatchee River
Loxahatchee River

Indian River Lagoon & Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve:

Florida's Aquatic Preserves

Indian River Aquatic Preserve (Jensen to Jupiter)

Lake Worth Creek Aquatic Preserve

Link to Site Pages


   Handy Florida Facts
  • Total area of Florida: 58,560 square miles.
  • Distance from Pensacola to Key West (by road): 792 miles
  • Coastline: More than 1,260 (more than any state in the continental U.S.)
  • Sandy beaches: 825 miles
  • Total conservation lands purchased by Florida: 3.8 million acres
  • Total fresh water area: 11,761 square miles
  • Longest river (entirely in Florida): St. Johns River at 273 miles
  • Largest lake: Lake Okeechobee at 435,840 acres
  • Number of springs: Approximately 700.

    * Source: Department of Environmental Protection





Ecosystems of South Florida  USGS Logo

The Loxahatchee River's "Kitching Creek":

Kitching Creek is a major tributary to the Loxahatchee River that winds through a portion of Jonathan Dickinson State Park and empties into the "Wild and Scenic" Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River.  Over the years, Kitching Creek has been affected, and redirected by development of the land west of the state park.  These land development activities had an adverse affect on Kitching Creek by causing lower groundwater levels and degradation of natural wetlands.  The reduction of freshwater flowing into the river, along with the strong tidal effects of the Jupiter Inlet, have resulted in saltwater intrusion to the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River.  Salt water is pushing its way farther upstream into the Northwest Fork; this has an adverse affect on existing natural habitats along the river.

There is a project underway to redirect and restore freshwater flows to Kitching Creek, and the Loxahatchee River. This project is a joint effort by state agencies to increase the flow to the Loxahatchee for habitat restoration, raise groundwater levels, restores degraded wetlands, and reduces nutrient loads reaching the North and Northwest Forks of the Loxahatchee. Partners include Martin County, South Florida Water Management District, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

For paddlers, Kitching Creek is easily accessible from the Jonathan Dickinson State Parks canoe and kayak concession area.  You can bring your own boat, or rent one onsite.  Kitching Creek is not far from Trapper Nelsons; another great destination for paddlers on the "Wild and Scenic" portion of the Loxahatchee. 

Kitching Creek - Loxahatchee River
Kitching Creek empties into the Northwest Fork of the
Loxahatchee River within Jonathan Dickinson State Park.


Trapper Nelson's Interpretive Site:

Trapper Nelson was a colorful character that lived at the headwaters of the Loxahatchee River.  Learn more about our resident "Wild man of the Loxahatchee" ==> Trapper Nelson.


Jones Creek Restoration Project (improves water quality and reduces flooding):

Click for details ==>


Department of Environmental Protection, July, 2010:

DEP-TALLAHASSEE - Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a proclamation honoring July as Florida Rivers Month, recognizing the importance of protecting the more than 50,000 miles of rivers and streams flowing throughout the state.

Excerpt from the "the Post" on the Loxahatchee River...
The Loxahatchee, Florida's first federally designated National Wild and Scenic River, winds its way through Jonathan Dickinson State Park, passing under a canopy of centuries-old cypress trees. The river has a timeless beauty all its own, featuring ecological and recreational values that are unique in the United States. Along the river and within the park is coastal sand pine scrub, a biological community so rare it is designated "globally imperiled." Other habitat types found within the watershed include pinelands, hardwood hammock, freshwater marsh, wet prairie, cypress swamps, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, tidal flats, oyster beds, xeric oak scrub and coastal dunes. These habitats support diverse biological communities including many endangered and threatened species such as the manatee and the four-petal pawpaw, a tree found only in Martin and Palm Beach counties.

Turtles on the Loxhatchee River
Turtles sunning themselves on the Loxahatchee River


Map of The Loxahatchee River:

(right-click image to save, or click to open)

Click to view a map of the Loxahatchee River 




Jupiter, Florida:

River Systems
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