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Historical Background of GTM Research Reserve Quick Topics

The Guana Peninsula has been open to public use by the state through a variety of managers since the erection of Guana Dam in 1957.

Site selection for a Florida east coast National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) began in September 1991. Estuaries in the Carolinian and West Indian biogeographic regions were identified and assessed. The Guana Tolomato Matanzas ecosystem was identified as the preferred site by a committee of scientists, environmental educators and coastal managers for its potential for scientific research, environmental education opportunities and its relative pristine condition.

Guana Lake and EEC

After obtaining support from the citizens and legislators of St. Johns and Flagler counties, the State of Florida nominated the estuarine ecosystem composed of the Guana, Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers for designation as a NERR. GTM Research Reserve has become the manager of a portion of Guana Peninsula. In addition, it is responsible for managing state sovereign submerged lands within Matanzas River and its tributaries within the boundary of GTM Research Reserve.


  • 1957 - The State of Florida leases the bulk of Guana Peninsula (12,000 acres) from several investors for public use.
  • 1970 - Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve is established.
  • 1984 - The State of Florida purchases that acreage through the Conservation and Recreation Lands and Save Our Coasts programs.
  • 1985 - The Guana River system is designated Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve.
  • 1988 - Management authority of Guana River State Park (2500 acres) is conveyed to Division of Recreation and Parks under Lease #3462.
  • 1999 - GTM Research Reserve is officially designated.
  • 2003 - Lease #3462 is transferred to CAMA, giving them management authority over the former Guana River State Park.
  • 2005 - Environmental Education Center opens to the public.

GTM Research Reserve

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Last updated: April 06, 2015

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