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Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida Quick Topics

Nassau River - St. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve Segment - Transcript

Our photographic journey ends on Florida's northeastern coastline. Here, the Nassau River - St. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve runs along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, just north of Jacksonville. Vast salt marsh estuaries with numerous interconnecting tidal creeks, rivers and channels with minor uplands characterize the area. The old beach dunes or sea islands are located along the barrier islands, displaying an unique collection of time tempered fossils and driftwood. The Nassau River - St. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve covers an area of approximately fifty seven thousand acres, protecting critical habitat and an abundance of fish and wildlife.

Big Talbot #6

Big Talbot #6
Photo: Clyde Butcher

In almost every community there is someone who has a vision to preserve our natural heritage and to protect our greenspace. In Jacksonville, under the visionary leadership of Mayor John Delaney, Duval County took the actions necessary to protect large acres of prized natural lands surrounding the aquatic preserves.

Mayor John Delaney:
I have described this area, as the last best Florida, it's the way it looked when the Indians first began to move in and the Spaniards came over�it's a spectacular area. That's the great thing about a preserve. You build a library, you build a fire station and they last fifty or sixty years maybe. You get the land like this in a park system, it's centuries that it will be held in the public's trust.

I came up with a friend fishing in this area, not far from here, up Sister's Creek and I had never been in there. As the crow flies it's only about four or five miles from where i grew up; it's on the other side of the river. The only real access up here was really by boat, and I kept floating up in there and I just realized that this isn't where we wanted the strip malls and the condos and the laundromats and those kinds of things. And we were opening it up, some roads were punching it through and it was viewed as the next best area to develop. And so we began to cobble together some local resources and then try to get other matches, we developed a great partnership with the state and with the National Park Service. And this area that is known as northeast Jacksonville or northeast Duval County is just a spectacular place.

The communities of aquatic and wetland plants within the preserve are vital to the health and productivity of the estuarine system. Predominant salt marshes that lay behind the barrier islands of the preserve, are a network of sediment-laden tidal creeks and channels. Tides and currents circulate nutrient material within the marshes creating a productive enriching environment. Waterbirds roost and nest here.

Retired writer and well seasoned traveler, Sue Spencer talks about her experience of living along side of the aquatic preserve.

Sue Spencer:
Because we lived on five continents, we lived in Africa and Australia and Brazil and always in our leave, we came back here because we had a little house here on the creek and it was always home. And then in 1969 or 1970, we built a house. We have 130 acres on Clavert Creek. And the people are always breathing down our necks, you know they want to do something wonderful with this good water front property. We don't want to develop it. We would like to leave it like it is, so we probably keep it just like this forever.

My sister and I still travel a lot and we always want to come back to Bug Tussel, we like to come back, just turning off the highway. Everyone wonders why we don't pave our road. Well, we like it the way it is, a little sand road. The minute we pass the mail box and turn off the road you just, something happens; you just relax, you feel safe.

The wars are gonna be fought about water. We don't know how precious it is. And when it gets polluted, it's ruined you know, it's terribly important. We are so rich in water, particularly in Florida. We must take care of it. We must just take care of everything we have because we really have a lot of God-given advantages.









Last updated: April 06, 2015

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