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State restoring some bends to St. Lucie River

Published Sep. 1, 2005

State agencies have begun restoring the natural twist and turns to the St. Lucie River in order to clean the water and provide a habitat for fish to spawn, find food and hide from predators.

The river's North Fork was straightened in the 1920s by a regional water control district in order to dig a drainage system for the growing agriculture industry. Now canals pour farm and urban runoff into the river, which lacks the natural, winding means to clean itself.

The Department of Environmental Protection recently excavated a small section of dry riverbed in White City to complete the connection of a 4,000-foot natural channel.

It took the excavator three weeks to dredge a 250-feet-long, 40-feet-wide opening to complete the natural bend.

Engineers have identified 25 other turns to reintroduce in 12 to 15 miles of river.

More than 450 Haitians returned to Port-au-Prince

MIAMI _ More than 450 Haitian migrants were returned to Port-au-Prince Saturday after they were intercepted at sea on two dangerously overcrowded boats earlier this week, the Coast Guard said.

A Coast Guard helicopter saw 146 migrants on a boat west of Great Inagua, the Bahamas, on Wednesday. They were given life jackets and taken onto a Coast Guard cutter.

On Thursday, a Coast Guard helicopter found another migrant vessel _ this one 40 feet long and carrying 319 migrants. The migrants were taken from their boat southeast of Great Inagua.

Both migrant vessels were destroyed as hazards to navigation.

_ Staff, wire reports