Nature & Wildlife

As America’s most diverse estuary system, the Indian River Lagoon covers more than one-third of Florida’s east coast, extending 156 miles from Ponce de Leon Inlet near New Smyrna to the Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County.

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A Diverse Ecosystem and Flourishing Estuary Reflect Harmony of Man with Nature

As America’s most diverse estuary system, the Indian River Lagoon covers more than one third of Florida’s east coast, extending 156 miles from Ponce de Leon Inlet near New Smyrna to the Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County. The portion of the estuary system which Grand Harbor occupies presents a transition from predominantly saltmarsh wetlands to a lush mangrove forest.

In recent years, the federal, state, and local government has enacted laws which significantly reduce wetland loss. Grand Harbor’s developers and residents share a responsibility to continue the preservation of this rare and precious environment, protecting and preserving it for future generations of wildlife, plant life and human life.

When you gaze across the native landscape of Grand Harbor, it’s hard to identify the difference between the wetlands that were created, preserved or rehabilitated. Blending together in natural symmetry, they are evidence of a job well done.

Grand Harbor was originally developed on reclaimed and highly degraded wetlands that had been retained as part of a citrus grove. Construction of the golf courses impacted 12 acres of these wetlands. In the process, the developers spent between 2 and 3 million dollars to create new salt and freshwater marshes. To achieve a natural balance, the tidal system was reopened by lowering high ground and reconnecting the wetlands to the Indian River Lagoon. Exotic species such as the invasive Brazilian Pepper and Australian Pine were replaced with native plant life. Once again, the indigenous vegetation began to thrive and the wildlife returned. Had they remained impounded, it would not have reached its full habitat potential.

Manatees, otters and bottlenose dolphins now call the estuary home. The endangered green and loggerhead turtles spend early stages of life here, while birds of many feathers flock to a greatly improved and inviting habitat. Ospreys and bald eagles soar in the skies above our grounds, while blue herons, white ibis, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, marsh hens and sandhill cranes create a welcome distraction along the fairways. Dense forests of mangroves hug the shoreline with their roots dipping like fingers into the water. Vast beds of seagrass provide food and shelter for a variety of marine life. Cypress and maple trees shade the lakeside and a wide assortment of saltwater plants are spread throughout the area.

In recognition of these efforts, Grand Harbor was the proud winner of the ENVY Award, an environmental honor in which entries were judged on the following criteria: preservation of flora and fauna, blending with the surrounding community, family safety and recreation, common areas, street, drainage, utility design and marketability.