|Description of Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve
The Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve is an estuarine system comprised of five
distinct areas which include portions of the Halifax River, Smith Creek, Bulow Creek, the Tomoka River
and the Tomoka Basin. The endangered West Indian manatee is a summer resident
of the area, traveling in the Halifax and Tomoka Rivers.
Approximately seven miles of the Halifax River, north from the southern
boundary of Ormond by the Sea is designated aquatic preserve. The Halifax
is a long, wide, shallow estuarine lagoon bounded on the west by the Florida
mainland and on the east by a barrier island. The mixing of saltwater from
the Atlantic Ocean introduced through the Matanzas inlet to the north and
the Ponce DeLeon Inlet to the south, with freshwater from the Tomoka River,
Bulow Creek, and the upper Halifax River drainage basin creates the estuary.
The Halifax River is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) which is 125 feet wide and
dredged to a depth of 12 feet.
Smith Creek is a shallow, estuarine creek with numerous oyster beds. Portions
of the natural channel of the creek were dredged to accommodate the ICW. The
remaining natural channel is primarily salt marsh, interspersed with small
islands, both natural and created.
Bulow Creek is a shallow meandering waterway bordered by marsh and floodplain
hardwood trees. From its origin in vast wetlands to the north, the creek flows
south for about 4 miles meandering to its confluence with the Halifax River.
Large expanses of black needlerush border the
The Tomoka River watershed drains an area of about 150 square miles, making it
one of the largest sub-basins within the Florida East Coast Basin. Numerous
man-made canals have increased the boundary of the
Tomoka watershed. The natural headwaters of the Tomoka River originate in
low-lying areas south of I-4 and west of I-95.
From its natural headwaters, the river flows generally north-northeast until
its confluence with the Halifax River at the Tomoka Basin. The Tomoka River
east of U.S. 1 is designated aquatic preserve.
The Tomoka Basin is approximately 400 acres of shallow estuarine bay, located
at the confluence of the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers.
October 31, 2016
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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