Sawfish Bay Marine Restoration

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The Project

The Sawfish Bay Marine Restoration project is a five-phase multi-year initiative to install a living shoreline, restore marine habitat including installation of artificial reef modules, promote seagrass and oyster growth, contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species, improve water quality, and enhance resiliency of approximately 7,000 total linear feet of shoreline spanning over 30 acres of water. The transformative nature-based approach to this project accounts for the history of the area dating back thousands of years to the original hydrologic system, in an effort to bring balance back towards the natural ecosystem through analysis and understanding of the hydromorphology of the area. Numerous studies and data sources indicate that this area has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years as evidenced by large shell middens throughout the greater Jupiter Inlet area. Historical accounts from pioneer days described the middens as containing fish bones in addition to the shells of oysters and other mollusks, thus demonstrating the area once had a rich and diverse fisheries and marine habitats.

Over time, the natural resources in the area have dwindled as the shell middens were mined for road construction base material, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) was dredged and created, remaining oyster beds removed in the 1970’s for navigation purposes, and the Jupiter Inlet was relocated. A portion of Sawfish Bay Park is located on created land that was built to support reconstruction of the SR-811 Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) bridge in 1975, which resulted in the narrowing of the mouth of the Loxahatchee River. The cumulative effect of these anthropogenic influences has forever altered the natural hydrodynamics of the region. One of the biggest limiting resources in the area is the shoreline length and quality of marine habitat along the shores of the river and the ICW.

The marine restoration of Sawfish Bay is an ideal location for enhancing the larger aquatic preserve since the bay area is buffered from busy marine traffic of the ICW by the Town’s Sawfish Bay Park on the west and on the east by approximately 20 acres of publicly owned islands, making for a protected estuarine sanctuary. The surrounding lands are owned and managed by the Town of Jupiter, Florida Inland Navigation District, and Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resource Management. The Town of Jupiter and its partners seek to restore as much of the natural ecosystem as possible, as evidenced by statements in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, Town Council’s strategic priorities, and the mission statements and management plans of partnering entities. In addition to the habitat and resiliency benefits this project will produce, it is expected that the improved fishery will help the underserved community population of Jupiter, as the park is within walking and bicycling distance for many of the Town’s lower-income residents who already visit the park for subsistence fishing purposes.

Project Phases

  • Phase 1 (In Process): Installation of a 100 linear foot living shoreline along a portion of the degrading vinyl seawall at the Town’s Sawfish Bay Park, within the 0.73 acre old marina basin. The living shoreline includes riprap (installation date TBD), artificial reef modules (installed 11/02/2022), and mangrove plantings (installed 11/02/2022).
  • Phase 2 (Fully funded, submitted for permits): Installation of the remaining portions of the living shoreline in the old marina basin with additional sections of riprap, artificial reef modules of varying sizes, and mangrove pod plantings.
  • Phase 3 (Fully funded in future CIP): Installation of a flushing culvert in the southern corner of the old marina basin and installation of riprap, artificial reef modules of varying sizes, and mangrove plantings along the remainder of the seawall north of the marina basin.
  • Phase 4 (Applied for grant funding): Marine and environmental engineering, design, permitting, and installation of a wetland on the park to provide stormwater treatment of an existing FDOT outfall, breakwater structure at the north end of the bay to provide flushing, mangrove planters, improved fishing structure north of park and created marine habitat abutting existing mangroves towards the park’s south shoreline. Hydrologic analysis for adequate flushing is critical for ecosystem sustainability, as historical imagery and data indicate extreme amounts of sediment deposits have occurred.
  • Phase 5 (Applied for grant funding): Construct two new fishing platforms in Sawfish Bay Park; Extend restoration throughout Sawfish Bay to add marine habitat along the west side of Sawfish Island, Fullerton Island and around the small un-named island, creating a more diverse and adaptive marine habitat.

Phase Events - Sawfish Bay Park, 1133 Alternate A1A, Jupiter, FL

Start EndDescription
Phase 1 Riprap Installation TBAPhase 1 Riprap Installation TBA
Installation of riprap to complete remainder of 100 linear foot pilot project.
Phase 2 TBAPhase 2 TBAInstallation of the remaining portions of the living shoreline in the old marina basin with additional sections of riprap, artificial reef modules of varying sizes, and mangrove pod plantings.
Phase 3 TBAPhase 3 TBAInstallation of a flushing culvert in the southern corner of the old marina basin and installation of riprap, artificial reef modules of varying sizes, and mangrove plantings along the remainder of the seawall north of the marina basin.


Sawfish Bay Park Living Shoreline