During the permitting process for the Water Quality Project located at McCarty Ranch Extension, two eastern indigo snakes were discovered. Because of their endangered status, they are legally protected. After an assessment conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it was determined that a total of 21 snakes could possibly be living on the property.
Before Area 1 can be placed into operation and Areas 2 through 6 can be constructed, building appropriate habitats for the snakes are required. Several tons of rock were delivered to the site to build the first two habitats located at Area 1. The formations are 10 by 20 feet and 4 feet high. The indigo snake prefers high, dry habitats, but they also frequent streams and swamps. The McCarty Ranch Extension is the best of both!
A total of 14 habitats will be constructed as work continues on Areas 2 through 6 of the Water Quality Project. Although the project is not open to the public, signs will be posted near the rock habitats warning of the consequences should the snakes be harmed.
Docile and non-poisonous, indigo snakes can grow to a maximum length of 8 feet. Their bodies are bluish-black in color, with some red or cream coloring on the sides of their head and chin. They eat poisonous snakes, frogs, small mammals, and birds.
The Water Quality Project is taking approximately 1,871 acres of fallow citrus grove and a 730-acre water impoundment, located at McCarty Ranch Preserve, and converting them to a shallow water storage facility consisting of seven reservoirs capable of receiving water diverted from the C-23 Canal. It also will capture an annual average of 53 inches of rain on the property reducing the need to discharge.
Once complete, the project is anticipated to keep up to 21% of excess freshwater C-23 Canal discharges from entering the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, all while maintaining and creating additional habitat for the endangered eastern indigo snake.
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