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Help HIPI Preserve and Protect Hutchinson Island in Martin County

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"The IRL [Indian River Lagoon] is home to a rich array of plants and animals whose existence depends on the quality of water within the Lagoon. More than 2,000 species of plants, 600 species of fish, 300 species of birds, and 53 threatened or endangered species inhabit the IRL for at least some portion of their lives, and scientists have shown the IRL to be one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America, with approximately 4,000 species documented to occur."  CLICK HERE to read about how you can help protect the Indian River Lagoon.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Farrar

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PHOTO: Elizabeth Farrar

Martin County's beaches on Hutchinson Island are some of the most important nesting grounds in North America for the threatened loggerhead and endangered leatherback sea turtles. From 2016-2020, Martin County beaches had the third highest number of loggerhead nests in Florida, with over 50,000 loggerhead nests. In 2020, Martin County had the highest number of leatherback nests in the state.  Click HERE to read about how you can help preserve and protect our nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.

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During the cooler Florida months, manatees are drawn to the warmer waters in and around the Indian River Lagoon.  They can even be seen nearshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Four years ago, manatees were considered no longer to be endangered, now they are dying at record numbers, with over 1000 manatee deaths in Florida in 2021.  Manatee deaths are being attributed to loss of sea grass beds, destroyed by repeated algal blooms in the lagoon.  CLICK HERE to read about how you can help protect our manatee population.

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Martin County is home to 32 species of threatened or endangered birds.  Marine debris, derelict fishing gear and discarded fish carcasses can pose a serious threat to our native and migratory birds.   CLICK HERE to read about how you can help protect our bird populations.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Farrar

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The University of South Florida’s Atlas of Florida Plants lists over 1100 species of plants native to Martin County.  Thirty of those species in Martin County are listed as threatened or endangered in 2010 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In 2021, the website,, lists 45 threatened plants found in Martin County, including the red mangrove found on Hutchinson Island. CLICK HERE to read about how you can preserve and protect the plants on our island.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Farrar

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The Southeast Florida Reef Tract, the only living coral barrier reef in the United States and the third largest coral reef system in the world, extends from the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County.  Bathtub Reef, on the southern tip of Hutchinson Island, is home to a colony of tiny tube-building Sabellariid sea worms.  Bathtub reef is used by over 500 marine species, including sea turtles who forage on and around the reef, and is a federally designated Essential Fish Habitat. CLICK HERE to read about how you can help preserve and protect the reefs off Hutchinson Island in Martin County.  


Martin County states, “The average person generates over three (3) pounds of recyclable waste per day. But only about one (1) pound of it actually gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills. Please do your part to help conserve our natural resources by reducing the amount of waste that goes into your trash.”  CLICK HERE to learn about recycling in Martin County.

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