Kitching Creek Preserve is a 51-acre nature area that is managed by Martin County, located at 6125 SE 138th Street in Hobe Sound, Florida.
The County constructed several features to allow the public to use the property including a parking area, canoe and kayak launch, paddling trail and a pathway around the lake. The site is very popular for equestrians, dog walkers, bird watchers and fishing groups. Future amenities include educational signage and picnic tables.
The site has been heavily used by native wildlife including alligators, otters, song birds, raptors and a host of wading bird species. Several listed bird species have been observed foraging throughout the area including wood stork, roseate spoonbill, tri-colored heron, little blue heron, bald eagle and osprey.
Kitching Creek Project:
In 2009, Martin County acquired the Kitching Creek Preserve property to help restore the Central Flow Way of Kitching Creek and the Loxahatchee River. Historically, water flowed from the Atlantic Ridge ecosystem south through a series of wetlands and sloughs that formed three flow ways extending into Jonathan Dickinson State Park and eventually Kitching Creek. The construction of roads, agricultural and residential development and extensive drainage operations cut off and isolated these wetlands areas.
Martin County acquired this property within what was once the central of the three historic flow ways. At the time of acquisition the property was being used as a vegetation recycling facility. The County collaborated with an engineering firm to develop a plan to capture water from a nearby ditch, hold it on-site in a series of lakes and wetlands, and then slowly discharge the water back into Kitching Creek and ultimately the Loxahatchee River. The project included constructing a 24-acre lake containing 8-acres of shallow marsh/wetland habitat, and the restoration of 12-acres of heavily impacted wetlands.