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Description of Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

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 creek.

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.

Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve map


Last updated: October 31, 2016

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