Water-Related News

Habitat restoration at Emeralda Marsh means big improvements for recreation

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the St. Johns River Water Management District have completed a series of management actions designed to enhance fish and wildlife habitat and improve public access at Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area - 3 in Lake County. Restoration efforts have allowed emergent and submersed aquatic vegetation to recolonize and expand, creating outstanding fishing and waterfowl hunting opportunities.

In 2016, the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Section and St. Johns River Water Management District undertook a major restoration effort, intended to enhance aquatic habitat and bring back the natural flow of the marsh by reconnecting it to Lake Griffin. These efforts included removing several thousand feet of former muck farm levees, extensive vegetation management including mechanical harvesting and shredding to control floating vegetation mats or tussocks, as well as planting over 3,800 native plants, including cypress trees and bulrush.

An existing boat ramp was improved to provide better recreational access for hunters, anglers and wildlife viewers. Additionally, 100,000 largemouth bass were stocked in this area by the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.

“The FWC’s mission is to manage fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people,” said FWC aquatic habitat biologist Dan Kolterman. “This project exemplifies that mission in action. Not only will fish and wildlife thrive, hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists will be able to enjoy the results of this project for generations.”

To learn more about aquatic habitat conservation in Florida, visit MyFWC.com/AquaticHabitats.

For general waterbody information, fishing forecasts, virtual tours, plant control operation schedules and annual workplans, boat ramp information and more, visit the “What’s Happening on My Lake” website at MyFWC.com/Lake.