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Wekiva River Aquatic Preserve What's New

"The Wekiva's place in Central Florida's past and future is truly remarkable. Where else in the nation can you find a spring-fed river beginning in the midst of a rapidly urbanizing area that leads like an ever expanding path out of the city and into a hundred miles of wilderness? Whether it is the Black Bear, the mournful cry of the Limpkin, or the happy voices of children in a canoe on a sunny day, the sounds and sights of the Wekiva will enrich the lives of countless generations yet to come if we are wise enough today to do what is necessary to preserve this ecosystem."

Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy, Florida Audubon Society


Central Florida in Orange, Lake, Seminole, and Volusia counties


6,000 acres of sovereign submerged lands


Deborah Shelley
Aquatic Preserve Manager
8300 West State Road 46
Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 330-6727


Download a fact sheet. (pdf - 999 KB)


  • The Wekiva River, a State Canoe Trail and Outstanding Florida Water, is one of only two Florida rivers to receive the federal designation of Wild and Scenic River.
  • The twenty-two mile portion of the St. Johns River within the aquatic preserve is a federally-designated American Heritage River. Additionally, much of that section of the St. Johns River is an Outstanding Florida Water and all of it is a Manatee Protection Zone.
  • The Wekiva and Middle St. Johns Rivers support extensive floodplains, but also have significant spring fed components.
  • Wildlife is abundant, including several endangered and threatened species such as the West Indian manatee, Florida black bear, wood stork, bald eagle, and sandhill crane.
  • Several species typically found in marine environments such as blue crab, stingray, and needlefish inhabit the St. Johns River, and occasionally visit the Wekiva.
  • The springheads at Wekiwa and Rock Springs are two of the few places in central Florida where limestone that comprises Florida's underground aquifer is exposed and can be easily observed.
  • Most of the aquatic preserve is located in a region of ecological transition between two climate zones - temperate and sub-tropical. This overlap creates an area of high floral and faunal diversity.


The Wekiva River Aquatic Preserve Management Plan has been updated. A draft plan was produced and made available to the public for review and comment. Three public meetings have been held to receive feedback. The plan was updated based on these comments and was approved by the Acquisition and Restoration Council on October 17, 2014.

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Last updated: November 04, 2014

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