The Natural Resources Division is charged with maintaining the highest quality native habitat on Town-owned open space properties. To accomplish this goal, the Town performs regular removal of invasive exotic plants and conducts prescribed mechanical management. Both methods help to improve native plant habitats to provide food and cover for wildlife, while also reducing the risk of accidental wildfire.
Invasive Exotic Plant Removal
The Town of Jupiter contracts with qualified professionals to visit each Open Space property approximately every three months to perform the removal of invasive exotic plants Opens in New Window . Methods of removal include use of herbicides, machetes, and hand-pulling certain species of plants to bag and dispose of properly off-site. Herbicides are only applied by a contractors that hold a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs pesticide applicator license Opens in New Window . The Town requires proof of licensure for all contracts. Prior to any herbicide treatment, informational signage is placed at the Open Space property to alert visitors of the work.
Reducing Risk of Wildfire and Improving Wildlife Habitat
Certain habitat types require more intensive management in order to maintain high-quality habitat for wildlife. Under natural conditions, some habitat types would be affected by fire - usually from a lightning strike. These wildfires usually cover large areas, but are low-burning on the ground level. The burned areas quickly regenerate with new growth of wiregrasses and other vegetation that is ideal for wildlife such as gopher tortoises and a variety of birds. Prescribed burns conducted by professional habitat managers are often conducted in natural areas to mimic natural wildfires. Jonathan Dickinson State Park often conducts prescribed burns as part of its regular habitat management. Since the Town of Jupiter's open space properties are in close proximity to many residential neighborhoods, the Town performs mechanical management instead, which also mimics the effects of the natural fire cycle. Heavy equipment grinds down smaller brush, creating open areas for new growth. The removal of the smaller brush also reduces the risk of accidental wildfire.
During the months of August and September 2019, mechanical management was conducted in the following open space properties:
- Jones Creek Headwaters,
- Jones Creek Hammock, and
- Georgian Park Preserve (see map to the right).
During the month of September 2020, mechanical management was conducted at the Town's Washington Street Preserve open space property as shown in the yellow box below:
The Town will continue to conduct mechanical management on a regular basis, approximately every 1-3 years.
The Town appreciates your patience as it works to properly care for and maintain its open space properties. Should you have any questions, please contact the Town’s Natural Resources Division.