By: Treasure Coast Newspapers
The Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge just got about 4 acres bigger.
Four contiguous beachfront lots on Jupiter Island’s North Beach Road were donated by the Coast Guard, increasing the federally protected sea turtle nesting habitat.
The beach is one of the most productive sea turtle nesting habitats in the U.S., the refuge's website says.
"So it's very important that it’s not developed," refuge Manager Christine Eastwick told TCPalm. "The Town of Jupiter Island has been working on this for over two decades."
The now 1,095-acre sanctuary’s natural habitat — sand pine scrub, mangrove forests and miles of coastal dunes — supports about 40 plant and animal species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern.
To expand the refuge, President Donald Trump signed the Jupiter Island Land Transfer Act on Dec. 4. Congress passed the bill Nov. 28. It was introduced by U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City.
“Ensuring that we are good stewards of our environment begins with strong conservation efforts, and on the Treasure Coast, protecting our environment is also critical to our businesses and livelihoods,” Mast said in a news release. “This is land that the Coast Guard no longer needs and the Department of the Interior is willing to include in the wildlife refuge, making this bill a win-win for all involved.”…