Situated amidst growing developmental pressure, these beautiful, natural and cultural areas require special attention and protection."
Nassau River-St. Johns River Marshes and Fort Clinch aquatic preserves are in the northeastern part of Florida, along the Atlantic intracoastal waters of the St. Marys, St. Johns and Nassau rivers.
Nassau River-St. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve, located in Nassau and Duval counties, was designated an aquatic preserve on Nov. 24, 1969, to protect the Nassau Sound area marshes and associated waters. This area consists of a vast salt-marsh estuary with numerous interconnecting tidal creeks, rivers and channels with some small tree islands. The aquatic preserve is about 69,000 acres.
Fort Clinch State Park Aquatic Preserve (also called Fort Clinch Aquatic Preserve), in northeastern Nassau County along Amelia Island, was designated on March 4, 1970, to provide an aesthetic buffer for the state park and historic Fort Clinch. The preserve surrounds the state park and is largely composed of open waters around St. Marys Inlet, the Amelia River and a 3-mile extension into the Atlantic Ocean off Amelia Island.
The western edge of the preserve borders extensive salt marsh along Amelia Island, and the preserve extends to the Florida-Georgia state line. This aquatic preserve is about 7,600 acres.
The Nassau River-St. Johns River Marshes and Fort Clinch aquatic preserves offer a variety of activities within their boundaries while an abundance of adjacent parks provide access to state waters for residents and visitors to the Jacksonville area. Popular activities include boating, kayaking, swimming, sunbathing, bird-watching, whale watching and fishing. The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail passes through the aquatic preserves. There are six state parks that border the aquatic preserves, plus four local parks and a national preserve.
More than 100 sites of archaeological and cultural significance have been identified in the coastal area of Northeast Florida. The earliest occupation of the area dates back to 3500 BC. The early inhabitants were the Timucuan Indians who occupied southeastern Georgia and northeastern Florida.
Their predominance in these coastal areas attest to the appeal that the productive marshes, offshore waters, and numerous inlets and natural ports has to its inhabitants. Fort Clinch in Fernandina is one of the historical sites that borders the Fort Clinch Aquatic Preserve.
Fort Clinch is the original fortification with construction beginning in 1847. Today, the fort is a living museum with guided tours and reenactments.
June 1, 2023 - 1:44pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.