The West Palm Beach South Cove Natural Area

The West Palm Beach South Cove Natural Area is a project by the Palm Beach County  to provide habitat and improve water quality of the intracoastal between Flagler Bridge and Royal Park Bridge.



The 3-year project has multiple focuses

  • The South Cove Natural Area is designated as a high-priority restoration project in the Lake Worth Lagoon Management Plan.
  • This project will create critical shallow water habitat important to local fisheries, wading and shorebirds, manatees, and sea turtles.
  • Fill anoxic (lacking-oxygen) dredged hole with approximately 100,000 cubic yards of fill to create three intertidal mangrove/spartina islands.
  • Improve water qualityand water clarity by capping muck sediments.
  • Create 2 acres of mangrove and spartina habitat, 3.5 acres of potential seagrass habitat, and 0.9 acres of rock revetment/oyster reef. These habitats provides filtration capabilities and improve water quality through stabilization of the sediments.
  • Construct a 556-foot elevated boardwalk, 16’ x 16’ observation deck and educational kiosk for public use.

Watch a video from the end of the boardwalk.

A pictorial review of the building of the West Palm Beach South Cove Natural Area

During the planning phase, the islands were outlined with markers. This is how the intracoastal looked from 2009 – 2010.

In July of 2010 work started in earnest to build up the South Cove Natural Area. The  dredged hole required approximately 100,000 cubic yards of soil to fill.

After a year of filling up the dredged holes, in July of 2011 the islands popped up  above the waterline

Due to the intratidal nature of the islands they were constructed so that the highest point was  just below the high-tide line. During low tides most of the island is visible.

The structures to support the 556 Ft. boardwalk get installed.

First concrete pylons go in for the Boardwalk


Rocks are piled onto the islands


Pilons are cut down to size
Workers were creative when getting onto the pylons

Planks go in to make up the Boardwalk


Laying Planks can be tricky


During this time part of the Flagler walkway was blocked off and redone.


South Cove Natural Area Broadwalk stretches out into the intracoastal


By May 2012 the islands were complete

Mangroves get planted – State Rep. Mark Pafford helps out.


Things are almost done


Sign is up! The South Cove Natural Area is almost done!

Taking my first walk down the boardwalk

We get a brand new view of our downtown from the South Cove Natural Area Broadwalk