Get the Storie on How 500 Million Gallons of Martin County Water Will be Cleaned Each Year

October 23, 2023 | Read Time: 5 minutes

Martin County Water gazebo at storie community

Surrounded by lakes, rivers, and oceans, it’s no secret that the story of Martin County is one of water. At the heart of that story lies the St. Lucie River, one of the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystems in the entire Northern Hemisphere. Decades of poor water management practices, however, have endangered the well-being of many Treasure Coast communities by polluting the estuaries with phosphate-heavy discharge.

Acknowledging Martin County’s vital need for clean water, the newly unveiled community concept of Storie is placing a high priority on being a part of the water solution. Not only would the waterways naturally flowing through Storie create a beautiful focal point, but an innovative filtration system could also clean 500 million gallons of water each year. Let’s take a closer look.

New Clean Water Innovations

As industrialized agriculture expanded in the 1800s, water diversions and flood-control projects of the Everglades have resulted in a degraded water quality where the health of critical coastal systems like the St. Lucie estuary are greatly at risk. Phosphate-laden farm water runoffs polluted Lake Okeechobee, and with nowhere else to go, the polluted water is pumped to the coast. This has caused toxic green algae blooms in the St. Lucie waters, harming native wildlife, introducing harmful bacteria to Florida’s beaches, and negatively impacting the quality of life in Martin County. Storie’s innovative filtration system could naturally clean more than 500 million gallons of water annually before it enters the Intracoastal Waterway. This is achieved by using marshes and greenways as natural buffers to slow and filter stormwater runoff, resulting in cleaner water being released at the South Fork of the St. Lucie River.

State legislator Toby Overdorf has been an advocate for clean water throughout Martin County. He worked with Storie’s design team to create the innovative system. “Storie’s plans would include using filtration marshes to naturally remove the legacy of phosphorus nitrogen as well as oxygenate the water,” shared Overdorf. “Storie would create these marshes utilizing native vegetation, and continuously maintain and monitor the area to ensure excess materials are taken out before it’s discharged into the St. Lucie River.”

martin county water birds pink

Creating Habitats for Native Species

The St. Lucie River serves as a dynamic haven for over 4,300 plant and animal species. Storie’s clean water initiatives could not only safeguard these species, but also create a haven for them in southern Martin County. With clean water and open spaces a top priority, Storie’s plans would naturally attract wildlife to settle in the area and create a thriving habitat. The abundance of wildlife would create a birdwatching spectacle for nature enthusiasts, with wading birds, bald eagles, great blue herons, Florida scrub jays, and more that could call Storie home.

Long-time Martin County resident and land planner Don Cuozzo of Cuozzo Planning Solutions Inc. worked with the development team to create a plan that would prioritize its environmental impact. “While we’re not the only solution, Storie is committed to being a part of the solution,” said Cuozzo. “64% of Storie’s land would remain open, be it with parks, wetlands, or green spaces that both residents and the natural wildlife could enjoy.”

kayak on martin county water systems

Adventures Along the Waterways

Storie’s waterways, however, wouldn’t just benefit the community concept’s natural inhabitants. An array of waterfront adventures would be accessible to all Martin County residents. The serene waters would wind gracefully throughout the community, with convenient launch points for kayaking and paddleboarding excursions. Additionally, large freshwater lakes would make the community concept a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Whether gliding through the waterways on a non-motorized boat or casting a line from the pier, anglers of all ages would be able to reel in a prized catch at Storie. Beyond these natural waterways, Storie’s plans also include community pools, equipped with splash pads, lap lanes, and more for swimming and family recreation.

Martin County Water - riverwalk in Storie

A Waterfront Promenade Open to All Martin County Residents

On land, Storie’s Village Center may soon combine fashionable shopping and dining with small-town charm. The vision encompasses a picturesque waterfront promenade, inviting strolls along paths adorned with an array of locally-owned boutiques, art galleries, and dining venues. Residents could enjoy the benefits of living in a walkable community or hop on an electric water taxi to be whisked to their dinner destination in style. Storie would also provide a new venue for local performers. An open-air amphitheater would showcase local talent, while the expansive green space surrounding it would be ideal for picnics, relaxing, and enjoying the live music. The Village Center would cater to people who want to enjoy the amenities of an urban downtown mixed with the relaxed ambiance of the Treasure Coast.

“We imagine Storie will be a self-contained village, where people can shop there, live there, and play there,” said Cuozzo. “Our goal is to create a walkable community that extends an open invitation to all of Martin County, inviting everyone to enjoy what Storie has to offer.”

As Storie progresses toward finalizing the details of this community concept, additional information will be revealed in the near future. To receive a copy of the StorieTime magazine with more details on the vision for this community, or to be among the first to see the vision video upon its release, register your interest at StorieFL.com.

Storie Magazine Cover

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