The Lost Tree Islands Conservation Area (LTICA) is comprised of approximately 508 upland, wetland and submerged acres located in the Indian River Lagoon, immediately north of the State Road 60 bridge (Merrill Barber Bridge). The islands are situated between the mainland and the barrier island, and extend from the southern portion of a mosquito impoundment known as McCuller's Point, formerly an estuarine tidal marsh, southward to include all of 2 and a portion of a third "inner islands", and 3 "outer islands", as well as 6 low spoil islands located in Gifford Cut, a navigational channel between the inner and outer islands.
The marsh and the 6 larger islands were natural landforms and supported native vegetative communities prior to human alteration during the 20th Century. They now exhibit considerable ecological degradation as a result of the marsh impoundment (aimed at control of mosquito populations), and the deposit of dredge spoil from the Intracoastal Waterway and Gifford Cut on the islands. The six small islands in Gifford Cut appear to be manmade spoil deposits. Topographic and hydrological disturbances, water quality reduction and the invasion of exotic plants are the major effects from these activities.
Despite the effects of historic land uses, the LTICA provides substantial environmental, social and aesthetic benefits to the citizens of the local and regional community. The creation of the Conservation Area removes the threat of residential and commercial development of the islands, preserves green space within the urban area, provides a link in the Indian River Blueway, and allows for natural community restoration, natural resource management, listed species protection and public recreation uses on the islands.
The County has allowed for portions of Joe Earman Island and Duck Head Island to be restored via off-site wetland mitigation projects. These projects have served to remove exotic species from portions of each island , allowing for native species to re-colonize. Portions of Duck head Island have been re-vegetated with a mixture of native upland and wetland plant species.
Public access is provided via the dock on the east side of Joe Earman Island. Two picnic pavilions have been constructed, and a walking trail has been created through a portion of the Island. Please refer to our website home page for the map showing the location of this Conservation Area.