Moving an island: major project under way in Jupiter

Fullerton Island restoration to wrap up in 2014

JUPITER, Fla. - A mega-move is under way along the Intracoastal waterway in Palm Beach County. Crews have been working for weeks to relocate part of an island.

Carolyn Beisner has a pretty cool job. As Project Manager of the Fullerton Island Restoration, she is helping to transform the Jupiter island.

"You'll see what it used to be like years ago," Beisner said of the project. "It will be kept in it's natural state."

This massive excavation project is ridding Fullerton Island of non-native plants and also about 60,000 cubic yards of sand. The island will soon be taken over by shallow water to become a new and unique place for kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders to visit.

"People who are out for eco-tourism and want to go bird watching will have a destination and will be able go to the inside of the island," said Beisner. Small boats will also have access to a portion of the area. 

This environmental project will likely have economic ripple effects. Customers of nearby Jupiter Outdoor Center have been paddling by the project for weeks. Managers say - when complete - Fullerton Island will create more interest in stand-up paddle boarding; an activity already making waves in our area.

The sand from this island is hauled onto two massive barges which travel twenty five miles south - twice a day - to Lake Worth. It is then dumped into the Intracoastal next to Bryant Park to help create wetlands and a sea grass habitat there.

"This material will be put to good use," said Beisner.

The $3.1 million project is being funded by Palm Beach County, the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), the Department of Transportation and the town of Jupiter. Completion is anticipated in fall of 2014.

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