Title: Restoring the Emeralda Marsh
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00001473/00001
 Material Information
Title: Restoring the Emeralda Marsh
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: SJRWMD
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Restoring the Emeralda Marsh
General Note: Box 8, Folder 5 ( Vail Conference, 1995 - 1995 ), Item 87
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00001473
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

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The Emeralda Marshes extended for
more than 10,000 acres on the eastern
side of Lake Griffin, near the headwa-
ters of the Ocklawaha River. The
marshes were covered with dense
sawgrass in shallower areas, while
other wetland grasses and water lilies
dominated the deeper water that
braided through the sawgrass. Small
tree islands grew in the marsh. In
essence, the sawgrass marsh looked
like a northern version of the
Everglades in South Florida.

When water rose in Lake Griffin, it
spread further into the marsh where it
lsh was filtered. Water in the marsh also
st extended the fish habitat. Falling
Lion r levels in the lake caused water
ality o the marsh, like the ebb
:s in
sn only more slowly.
!r Emeralda Island, a sandy rise of
ra ear the middle of the area
ndians lived before
rri lorida. As
ce e homesteaders,
ent rida Southern Steamboat Line
ra- listed a wharf to the river for
.g oranges grown on the island.
acts in the winter of 1895 wiped
arlir nge groves there, halting
) is nt development for many

h s, development of the
uded constructing the
anal, building levees and
e various properties and
marsh for use as farm-
ed water from these farm-
pumped into Lake Griffin,
losses in water quality and
habitat similar to the deterio-
ion of Lake Apopka. Today, the
storation of these marshes has

_ _

The Goal
The purpose of the District's
Emeralda Marsh program is to allow
the system to restore itself by making
hydrologic conditions in the area more
similar to those occurring before
drainage. By balancing short-term and
long-term goals, a dynamic ecosystem
will return to Emeralda Marsh.

The emeralda Marsh System
The marsh already provides some of
the habitat and functions it had long
ago. By looking to the long-term needs
of the system, the District believes that
Emeralda Marsh will once again
become an integral part of the watery
mosaic that comprises the upper
Ocklawaha River basin.

Short-term goals for initial restora- The Wake Griin Jlow-way
tion efforts include reducing the Natural marshes act like giant
release of nutrients into the lake by kidneys, filtering water and allowing
halting agricultural discharges and by matter suspended in the water to
flooding fields. The Lake Griffin Flow- settle out. The Lake Griffin Flow-way
wvay will be used to .will use this process to clean water
filter and clean coming from the lake. Water from the
water from the lake will flow through pipes into the
lake through a restored wetland. It will be filtered as
marsh system it passes through the wetland marshes
that removes nutrients. In before being pumped back into the
addition, recreational fishing will lake. District scientists will carefully
improve initially by the stocking of monitor the restored marsh to learn
sport fish in the deeper areas of the how well it cleanses Lake Griffin's
marsh. water and whether operation of the
flow-way can improve the lake's water
Long-term ecological goals provide quality.
the framework for restoration of these
important marshes. These goals The initial phases of
include re-establishing flow the project are underway with
between Lake Griffin and the the help of the Lake County Water
marshes by breaching and removing Authority. The flow-way will be utilized
levees, plugging ditches and installing so long as it is able to remove nutri-
culverts when necessary. The marsh ents from the lake. After that the
will emerge by restoring hydrologic marshes will be reconnected to Lake
conditions that mimic those found Griffin and the rest of the system.
naturally. This allows the system to
restore itself rather than relying on The Emeralda Marsh Type 1
active and expensive manage- Wildlife Managementfirea
ment. Allowing nature to dictate which The initial growth of marsh habitat
fish and animals grow and reproduce, on the flooded fields has already
rather than manipulating fish and attracted large numbers of wintering
other animal numbers through stock- waterfowl. Sport fish stocking in'the
ing, will result in a self-maintaining deeper water areas is developing a
system. Finally, areas used by threat- viable fishery as well. Since the fall of
ened and endangered species will be 1993, waterfowl hunting and fishing
considered when managing recre- has been allowed on these marshes.
national use. Over time, recreational opportunities
in the Emeralda Marsh area will
approach those existing prior to
drainage of the marsh.

I ----

[bout WIM
As a participant in restoring and protecting this vital river system, your active support of this Surface Water
Improvement and Management (SWIM) program is key to its success. Funding is limited across the state. By
working together, we can improve water quality and restore the wetland habitat, recreational values and beauty
of the historic Emeralda Marsh system.
For more information on the St. lohns River Water Management District SWIM programs, or to arrange for
informational displays, speakers or tours of the restoration sites, contact the District's Sunnyhill Farm field office
at (904) 821-1489 or the SWIM Administration office at (904) 329-4323.
/gidditionalInformation:Additional brochures and posters are available from the District which further describe
pro ms iBthe upper Ocklawaha River basin. A waterfowl hunting and fishing guide to the Emeralda Marsh
Vili Migement Area is also available.

Photo Illustrations by Steve XJesbitt, Alorida Game and resh Water Jsh Commission
This brochure was produced with the assistance ofthe district's
Aipision of PublicInformation to inform the public about
the District's (pper Ocklawaha Ptiper Sasin SWWIprogram
Printed on recycled paper

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