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Martin B. Main and Ginger M. Allen2 1. This document is WEC231, part of the Florida's Environment series of the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date July 2007. Reviewed November 2010. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Martin B. Main, associate professor, wildlife extension specialist, and Ginger M. Allen, senior biologist, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL; Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0304. Florida's Environment Series Northeast Florida (Fig. 1) is a region centered along the St. Johns River, which is one of the few rivers in the United States that flows north. The river and the floodplains, swamps, and lakes associated with the St. Johns River dominate wetland habitats in this region. Pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks dominated by live oak make up most of the uplands. Nearly 25% of the region is protected in conservation lands ( Table 1). Northeast Florida region with counties. Credits: UF/IFAS Large, cypress-lined lakes with dark, tannin-stained water feed the St. Johns River. Most of the swamps in northeast Florida occur within the floodplain of the St. Johns River or the headwaters of the St. Marys and Nassau Rivers. To the west of the St. Johns River is the southern end of the Trail Ridge, an ancient coastal dune formatioin that retains the Okefenokee Swamp and defines the path of the St. Marys River. Elevated, sandy soils and clear lakes characterize the Trail Ridge. Along the Atlantic coast lays a protective fringe of sea islands, sandy dunes, and beaches that attract large concentrations of shorebirds. This document summarizes major rivers, lakes and springs, featured natural areas, and cultural aspects of Florida's northeast region. For information
Florida's Environment Northeast Region 2 on other regions in Florida, refer to The Florida Environment: An Overview, and the other seven regional profiles available online (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu). Conservation land acreage in Florida's northeast region. Baker 147,856 39% Clay 124,613 30% Duval 111,258 20% Flagler 36,514 11% Nassau 35,874 8% Putnam 183,751 35% St. Johns 87,824 20% Based on 2006 Florida Natural Areas Inventory Managaed Conservation land database. Florida State University. The St. Johns River flows for approximately 310 miles from its origin in east central Florida to its final destination, the Atlantic Ocean, making it the longest river contained entirely within Florida. Of Florida's 23 major rivers, only the St. Johns and St. Marys drain into the Atlantic Ocean. All others discharge into the Gulf of Mexico or inland lakes. The St. Johns is one of the "flattest" rivers in the world and has the 3rd largest drainage basin in Florida, measuring 5,632 acres. Upland habitats associated with the St. Johns River are home to many of Florida's protected species including the wood stork, easter indigo snake, scrub jay, black bear, sandhill crane, and crested caracara. Northeast Florida major conservation lands. Credits: UF/IFAS The St. Marys River (Fig. 2) flows for more than 125 miles and forms a border between Georgia and Florida. It meanders through Florida for 100 miles before it empties into the Atlantic just north of Fernandina beach. There is little development along the river, making this river one of the more pristine blackwater river systems in Florida. Hardwood and pine-palmetto forest communities dominate the upland habitats along the river, gradually changing to a marshy estuarine environment at the river's confluence with Cumberland Sound. Northeast Florida has both aquifer-linked lakes perched on the sandy Trail Ridge, and the large, blackwater, cypress-lined lakes that feed the St. Johns River. One large lake in this region was created as a reservoir. Lake Ocklawaha (Rodman Reservoir) is a 9,200-acre impoundment of the Ocklawaha River along the northern boundary of the Ocala National Forest. This recreational fishing area was created in 1968 by damming the Ocklawaha River. Osceola National Forest includes ~200,000 acres of forested woodlands and swamps and offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. Historically logged and burned, the forest is now managed on an ecological basis. A 23 mile section of the Florida National Scenic Trail passes through the forest and through the Olustee historic civil war battlefield.
Florida's Environment Northeast Region 3 The GuanaTolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR) encompasses approximately 60,000 acres of salt marsh and mangrove tidal wetlands, oyster bars, estuarine lagoons, upland habitats (Pine Flatwoods, coastal scrub and hardwood hammocks) and offshore seas in St. Johns and Flagler Counties. GTMNERR contains the northern most extent of mangrove habitat on the east coast of the United States. The coastal waters of the GTMNERR are important calving grounds for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. The Reserve is geographically separated into a northern section where the Tolomato and Guana Rivers mix with the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and a southern section along the Matanzas River, extending from Moses Creek to south of Pellicer Creek. Welaka State Forest is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Pine flatwoods, hammocks, sandhills, and bayheads occur in the forest, and river swamp habitat occurs along the St. Johns River. Three types of flatwoods habitat can be found: longleaf pine, slash pine, and pond pine. Sandhill communities are dominated by longleaf pines and wiregrass. The Big Gum Swamp consists of 13,600 acres of nearly level fresh water flats and relatively undisturbed cypress-gum forested swamp with pine flatwoods uplands along the perimeter. The swamp is located just north of Interstate 10 along the Columbia and Baker County junction. Much of the swamp's surface is covered in a thick spongy mat of organic peat creating numerous shallow sloughs where water creeps along to small streams. The Okefenokee Swamp sprawls across southern Georgia and northern Florida for 600 square miles. The buildup of peat and mosses in the swamp creates floating islands that move and tremble under your feet, hence the name given to it by people long ago, Okefenokee, which translates as trembling earth. The associated Pinhook Swamp is a conservation area connecting the Okefenokee Swamp with the Osceola National Forest. The Okefenokee and Pinhook swamps form the headwaters of the St. Marys River. Prehistoric Indian sites, middens, and mounds are found along many of north Florida's rivers. Shell middens indicate that Indians were living along the St. Johns as far back as 10,000 years ago. Some of the large shell mounds were commercially mined in the late 19th century to pave roads in nearby towns. Several of the first sites on the St. Johns river date back to 5000 to 3000 BC, the Middle Archaic period. Fish and shellfish were abundant in the St. Johns River system and were important foods to these early inhabitants. The Timucuan Indians, which included subgroups such as the Saturiwa and the Utina, lived along the St. Johns River until the arrival of the French and Spanish in the 1560s. The French attempted to establish a permanent colony in the area in 1562 and built Fort Caroline west of present-day Jacksonville. Fort Caroline lasted only 3 years and was lost to Spanish forces sent from St. Augustine in 1565. Fort Caroline National Monument is part of the Timucuan National Preserve. St. Augustine was established by the Spanish in 1565 and is the nation's oldest city. Florida's rivers formed a natural means of inland transportation during exploration and colonization by Europeans. In an effort to convert native peoples to Christianity and to colonize the area, Spanish missions were built along many of the rivers in the region in the 17th century, particularly in the vicinity of the St. Marys river. Later, the St. Marys region was associated with pirates and other disreputable elements of early colonial history. Ocean Pond, in the Osceola National Forest, is best known for the historic Battle of Olustee that took place there during the Civil War. The Confederate Army's victory at Olustee ensured the Northern Army's confinement to the coastal areas and left a supply route open to Florida's Confederate neighbors. This success is commemorated at the Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site. Each year the skirmishes and battle are re-enacted during President's weekend. By 1870 the St. Johns River was the gateway to south Florida tourism via paddleboat steamer. The
Florida's Environment Northeast Region 4 Recreational and cultural opportunities in natural areas in northeast Florida. (NERR = National Estuarine Research Reserve, WMA = Water Management Area) Baker St. Marys River Canoe Trail (912) 843-2688 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/north/trails/ st_marys_river.htm Baker Osceola National Forest (386) 752-2577 http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/florida/recreation/index_osc.shtml Baker Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (912) 496-7366 http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/ Baker Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site (904) 758-0400 http://www.floridastateparks.org/olusteebattlefield/default.cfm Clay Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State (352) 473-4701 http://www.floridastateparks.org/mikeroess/default.cfm Clay Black Creek Ravines (904) 269-6378 http://sjr.state.fl.us/recreationguide/blackcreekravines/ index.html Clay Bayard Conservation Area, St. Johns River (904) 329-4404 http://sjr.state.fl.us/recreationguide/bayard/index.html Clay Gold Head Branch State Park (352) 473-4701 http://www.floridastateparks.org/mikeroess/default.cfm Clay Camp Blanding WMA (904) 682-3104 http://myfwc.com/RECREATION/ WMASites_CampBlanding_index.htm Clay/Duval Jennings State Forest (904) 291-5530 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/jennings.html Duval Little Talbot Island State Park (904) 251-2320 http://www.floridastateparks.org/littletalbotisland/ Duval Ft. George Island Cultural State Park (904) 251-2320 http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortgeorgeisland/ Duval Huguenot Memorial Park (904) 251-3215 http://www.coj.net Duval E. Dale Joyner Nature Preserve (904) 665-8856 http://pelotes.jea.com/ Duval Theodore Roosevelt AreaTimucuan Historic Preserve (904) 641-7155 http://myfwc.com/RECREATION/View_Destinations_sitene07.htm Duval Kingsley Plantation (904) 251-3537 http://www.nps.gov/timu/historyculture/kp.htm Duval Karpeles Jacksonville Museum (904) 356-2992 http://www.rain.org/~karpeles/jaxfrm.html Duval/ Nassau Fort Caroline National Monument/ nTimucuan National Preserve (904) 641-7155 http://www.nps.gov/foca/ Duval/ Nassau Cary State Forest (904) 266-5021 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/cary.html Flagler Lake Disston (904) 437-0106 Flagler Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve (904) 696-5994 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/COASTAL/sites/gtm/pellicer.htm Flagler Washington Oaks Garden State Park (386) 446-6780 http://www.floridastateparks.org/washingtonoaks/
Florida's Environment Northeast Region 5 Recreational and cultural opportunities in natural areas in northeast Florida. (NERR = National Estuarine Research Reserve, WMA = Water Management Area) Flagler Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area (386) 517-2086 http://www.floridastateparks.org/gamblerogers/ Flagler Haw Creek Conservation Area (904) 446-6786 http://www.flaglercounty.org/facilities.aspx?page=detail&RID=6 Flagler Faver-Dykes State Park (904) 794-0997 http://www.floridastateparks.org/faverdykes/default.cfm Flagler Graham Swamp Conservation Area (904) 329-4404 http://www.flaglercounty.org/facilities.aspx?page=detail&RID=8 Flagler Bulow Plantation Ruins State Historic Site (904) 517-2084 http://www.floridastateparks.org/bulowplantation/ Nassau Ralph E. Simmons State Forest (904) 845-3597 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/ralph_e_simmons.html Nassau Timucuan National Preserve (904) 641-7155 http://www.nps.gov/timu/ Nassau Nassau-St. Johns River Marshes (904) 696-5994 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/nassau/ Nassau Ft. Clinch State Park (904) 277-7274 http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch/ Nassau Amelia Island State Park (904) 251-2320 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ameliaisland/ Putnam Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Mgt Area (904) 329-4404 http://sjr.state.fl.us/programs/operations/land_mgmt/index.html Putnam Welaka State Forest (386) 467-2388 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/welaka.html Putnam Dunns Creek Conservation Area (904) 329-4404 http://sjr.state.fl.us/recreationguide/dunnscreek/index.html Putnam Etoniah Creek State Forest (904) 467-2740 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/etoniah_creek.html Putnam Rodman Reservoir and Recreation Area (904) 329-3575 http://www.rodmanreservoir.com/ Putnam Little Lake George Wilderness Area (352) 625-7470 NA Putnam St. Johns Loop Trail (904) 328-1503 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/crossflorida/ cross_florida.htm St. Johns The Gonzalez-Alvarez (oldest) House (904) 824-2872 http://www.staugustinehistoricalsociety.org/ St. Johns St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum (904) 829-0745 http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/ St. Johns Anastasia State Park (904) 461-2033 http://www.floridastateparks.org/anastasia/ St. Johns Ft. Matanzas National Monument (904) 471-0116 http://www.nps.gov/foma/ St. Johns Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve (904) 696-5994 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/gtm/guana.htm St. Johns Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR (904) 461-4054 http://nerrs.noaa.gov/Reserve.aspx?ResID=GTM
Florida's Environment Northeast Region 6 river also served as a corridor for development, allowing east Florida to progress much faster than the more inaccessible west Florida. With the 20th-century shift from water to land transportation, the populations of some towns along the river declined. This unusual trend continued as late as the 1990s. Development along northern Florida rivers has been limited in large part due to floodplain management ordinances, land use planning, and land acquisitionn programs designed to conserve and protect important wetland resources. Reflecting Florida's diverse history, many rivers hold names of Indian or Spanish origin. For example, Okefenokee means land of trembling earth in the Seminole language. Ponce De Leon's journeys to find the fountain of youth landed him in a place he called La Florida, meaning island of flowers. Allen, G.M. and M.B. Main. 2005. Florida's Geological History. Fact Sheet WEC 189, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Bellville, B. 1999. River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida St. Johns River, University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. Carter, E.F. and J.L. Pearce. 1985. Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Florida: Vol. I, North Central Panhandle and Peninsula. Menasha Ridge Press. Birmingham, AL. Cerulean, S. and A. Morrow. 1998. Florida Wildlife Viewing Guide. Falcon Publishing. Helena, MT. Fernald, E. A. and E. D. Prudum, eds. 1998. Water Resources Atlas of Florida. Institute of Science and Public Affairs. Tallahassee, FL. Florida Department of Natural Resources. 1989. Florida Rivers Assessment. Florida Department of Natural Resources. Tallahassee, FL. Gannon, M., ed. 1996. The New History of Florida. Univ. Press of Florida. Gainesville, FL. Karim, A. and M.B. Main. 2004. Tropical Hardwood Hammocks in Florida. Fact Sheet WEC 181, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Kavanagh, J. ed. 1997. The Nature of Florida : An Introduction to Common Plants & Animals & Natural Attractions (Field Guides Series) Waterford Press, Phoenix, AZ. Kleinberg, E. 1997. Historical Traveler's Guide to Florida. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL. Laurie M., and D. Bardon. 1998. Florida's Museums and Cultural Attractions. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL. Main M.B., and G.M. Allen. 2005. Florida State Symbols. Circular 1467, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Main M.B. M.E. Swisher, J. Mullahey, W. DeBusk, A. J. Shriar, G. W. Tanner, J. Selph, P. Hogue, P. Bohlen and G. M. Allen. 2004. The Ecology and Economics of Florida's Ranches. Fact Sheet WEC 187, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu Main M.B., and G.W. Tanner. 1999. Effects of Fire on Florida's Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat. Fact Sheet WEC 137, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Meyers, Ronald L. & John J. Ewel, eds. 1990. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL.
Florida's Environment Northeast Region 7 Milanich, J. T. 1998. Florida Indians from Ancient Times to the Present. University of Florida Press. Gainesville, FL. Milanich, Jerald T. 1995. Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe. University of Florida Press. Gainesville, FL. Ohr, T. 1998. Florida's Fabulous Natural Places. World Publications, Tampa, FL. Perry J., and J. G. Perry 1992. The Sierra Club Guide to the Natural Areas of Florida. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, CA. Ripple, J. 1997. Florida: The Natural Wonders. Voyageur Press, Osceola, WI. Stamm D., and D. R. Stamm. 1998. The Springs of Florida. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL. Winsberg, M. D. 1997. Florida's History Through Its Places: Properties in the National Register of Historic Places, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Florida Division of Historical Resources, http://www.flheritage.com/ Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Wildlife Viewing Sites, http://www.myfwc.com/recreation/View_index.htm Florida's Historic Places, http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/florida/lessons/places.htm Florida's Museum of Natural History, http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/ Florida Natural Areas Inventory, http://www.fnai.org Florida's Scenic Highways, http://www.floridascenichighways.com/ Florida State Parks, http://www.floridastateparks.org/ Florida Water Management Districts, http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/fgils/wmd.html P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/index.html Touring the Georgia-Florida Coast, http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/geo-flor/gfintro.htm Visit Florida, http://www.visitflorida.com