A Response from the State

My Letter:

Good Morning,

I have a question about some construction I’ve seen on an island directly east of the canoe launch just south of Mulligan’s in Sebastian.  I’ve been sent in a number of different directions on this issue.  Doug Alderson has sent me to you.  The online spoil island guide does not list this island though it’s clearly there and appears to be a spoil island, as are the others in the area.  The island designations jump from IR3 to IR8 with no IR4-7 labeled.  I have identified the island in question as IR6, simply by counting islands from IR3, up.  I paddle these spoil islands (IR1-6) several times each year.  On my last trip I saw what appears to be a semi-permanent camp set up on the southeast side of what I call IR6.  The camp includes a substantial dock with navigation lights, several bollards tor anchoring boats, topped with small platforms with rod or umbrella holders, a permanent pas grill, large fire pit, porta-potty and enclosed shower.  All this is documented in the YouTube video my website (see my video, Spoil Island Mystery).  If this island is state property and open to the public, someone is poaching there and the construction should be removed, unless he/she has permission to build.  BTW, the designation of IR3 as a conservation island and IR2 for recreation should be reversed.  IR3 is heavily used for fishing and picnics, and as a dumping ground for derelict boats (there are four there currently), while IR2 is pristine, loaded with birds and seldom visited by boaters.  I’ve paddled these islands for seven years and it has always been like this.

k line rTN

The Response:

Hi Don,

This is Barchan Rodgers with Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves office.  We appreciate your notification and pictures as to the structures built on Spoil Island IR6.  Our office is responsible for most (but not all; the distinctions can get pretty convoluted) of the spoil islands in St. Lucie, Indian River, and Brevard counties, with some in Volusia, Martin and Palm Beach Counties as well.  The particular island you are referencing is in fact IR6, why they chose to not label IR4, IR5, and IR6 on the Google Maps, I can only guess (IR7 is now subtidal, hence why it is not listed).

IR6 is public land in both the State Aquatic Preserve and National Wildlife Refuge.  We were already made aware of the structures and are currently in the process of addressing them in accordance with the state statutes, but unfortunately this can take some time, especially with regards to the spoil islands, where it’s almost impossible to know who constructed them.  The spoil islands are just one of a number of aquatic resources we manage over a very large range, and as such, we don’t always notice where people have built structures without consent or permits, so we appreciate any reports from the public.

The spoil island designations is another topic currently being looked at, since they stem from recommendations drafted over 27 years ago and as you’ve noticed, the resources and conditions of islands in that time can change.  IR2 and IR3 in particular, our office manages as reversed designations (IR2 conservation & IR3 recreation vs. their listing) as you suggested, and for the same reasons.  We currently have a grant funded project starting this summer to post signage on the islands, where IR2 will be posted as conservation (and any maps hopefully updated).  There are also updated management plans for spoil islands being drafted for both the region and state, that should address these, as well as many other management issues.

I thank you again for your contacting us, and hope this answers any questions you might have.  Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or future concerns.

Thank you,

Barchan Rodgers

Environmental Specialist

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserve

Fort Pierce Field Office

3300 Lewis Street

Fort Pierce, FL. 34981

(772) 429-2995 ext. 22



 © Don Yackel 2020