District, partners celebrate marsh’s connection to Lake Griffin
Today was a great day to be in the field to celebrate another milestone at the District’s Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area. This conservation area is truly an example of how partnerships among the District and agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are benefiting Florida’s water resources and its residents.
Our celebration today focused on reconnecting the marsh back to Lake Griffin. This 6,000-plus acre property was drained and converted for farming in the 1940s, a process that removed the native wetland vegetation and caused, over time, the soil to oxidize and subside and contribute to degrading the lake’s water quality and habitat.
The reconnection work here has included removing most of the remaining agricultural infrastructure, relocating recreational infrastructure and water telemetry equipment, breaching old farm roads and levees, and conducting vegetation management and plantings. These actions along with many others to improve the lake’s water quality and habitat support a healthier lake and floodplain and all the associated recreational activities. During this process, our popular seasonal wildlife drive was relocated and includes a new observation platform and pull-off areas.
While we celebrate improvements, our work is not done. Our continuing work includes improvements to the boat ramp and parking area to provide the public access to enjoy the marsh and lake. FWC has plans for additional plantings of native vegetation, such as bald cypress and bulrush, and removal of additional floating vegetation.
Thanks to all who joined us today and thanks for the continuing dedication of District staff and partners in restoring and protecting this resource for all to enjoy!