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Land Acquisition and Boundary Expansion at GTM Research Reserve Quick Topics

The boundaries of GTM Research Reserve must encompass an adequate portion of key land and water areas of the natural system to ensure effective conservation. Key land and water areas are defined as areas that are so vital to the proper functioning of the estuarine ecosystem that it must be under a level of control sufficient to ensure the long-term viability of the Reserve for research on natural processes. Buffer areas of the Reserve are those areas that are adjacent to, or surround, the key land and water areas and are essential to maintaining their integrity.

The core areas of GTM Research Reserve are the estuarine waters and associated marshes associated with the Tolomato, Matanzas and Guana rivers and their tributaries. The buffer area of GTM Research Reserve is the immediate watershed of this core area. With the federal approval of its management plan, GTM Research Reserve expanded its boundaries and is pursuing land acquisition to better protect these core and buffer areas. All lands included in the recent boundary expansion remain under the direct management of their existing designated managing agency. The expansion streamlines coordination of agencies within core and buffer areas.

Boundary Expansion
  • Faver-Dykes State Park
    On April 4, 2003, Faver-Dykes State Park was expanded by 4,166 acres by a new land acquisition. The federally designated boundary has been expanded to include that addition.

  • Matanzas State Forest
    The Matanzas State Forest was established in 2003 with a 4,699 acre state acquisition. This property is immediately adjacent to GTM Research Reserve's southern component. One of the primary reasons for the expansion is to protect the last remaining undisturbed salt marsh within GTM Research Reserve.
Land Acquisition

There are three parcels identified as high priority for acquisition. The majority of parcels originally identified have been developed, removed from consideration by the owner or acquired.

  • Patricia A. Rogers Parcel
    This is an 18.63 acre in-parcel of uplands located on Guana Peninsula that bisects the recreational trails of GTM Research Reserve. It contains a portion of Wright's Landing, an archaeological site containing artifacts dating to the First Spanish Period of Colonization.
  • Hat Island
    This is a 7.78 acre island of mature maritime hammock south of the confluence of the Tolomato and Guana Rivers adjacent to the boundary of GTM Research Reserve's northern component. Acquisition would help protect water quality and conservation lands adjacent to the parcel.

Map of proposed land acquisitions
Map of proposed acquisitions for GTM Research Reserve's Northern Component

  • Marineland Hardwood Hammock and Coastal Trail System
    This 25 acre handwood maritime hammock represents near a pristine coastal environment. Acquisition will enhance the ability of GTM Research Reserve to provide educational and research experiences compatible to the surrounding community and provide significant upland forested buffers between proposed developments and the estuary.

GTM Research Reserve will continue to pursue al possible fee simple land acquisition programs for funding. It has also developed strong partnerships with North Florida Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and major landowners. The planned development of the 1300 acre Nocatee Preserve on the northwestern boundary of Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve is an opportunity for a cooperative relationship between GTM Research Reserve and a private landowner.

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Last updated: April 06, 2015

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