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Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve

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Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve_DEP Staff_View of marsh at Pellicer Creek

Pellicer Creek is part of the northern watershed in the Upper East Coastal Basin. The majority of the watershed in this basin is drained by relatively small creeks or branches. The Hulett, Pringle, Stevens, Dave and Schoolhouse branches all drain into the aquatic preserve from the west. Styles Creek flows south out of Pellicer Creek, near the Matanzas River.

From the Matanzas River lagoonal area, the flow of water eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Matanzas Inlet.

The undisturbed salt marsh is one of the most pristine estuarine/riverine systems along Florida's east coast, providing exceptional biological and aesthetic value to the state and resulting in its designation as a state paddling trail.

A map pointing out Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve and adjacent protected areas.Pellicer Creek flows into the Matanzas River, which is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. This river can better be described as a coastal lagoon with access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Matanzas Inlet, located approximately 2.5 miles north of Pellicer Creek.

The long, narrow chain of barrier islands outside the aquatic preserve acts as the first line of defense for the mainland against storm surges. Inlets have formed along these islands during storms, forming temporary shallow inlets that later closed due to siltation. Human alteration of the existing inlets has allowed saline water to mix with fresh water, creating the estuarine environment that now exists.

Matanzas Inlet is the only natural uncontrolled inlet in Florida and one of the few on the east coast of the United States.

Managed Location Contact: 
Scott Eastman
Total Acreage: 
Receives State Funding: 
State Owned: 

Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve was established in 1970.

Public Access: 

Recreational opportunities include bicycling, wildlife viewing, boating, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

Archaeological Resources: 

Northeast Florida has experienced a long interaction between humans and nature. The region is of special interest because of the comprehensive documentary record of human settlement and landscape modification beginning at an early date. The detailed records of the Native American, Spanish, French, British and American inhabitants indicate that these cultures adapted in very different ways. Burning, clear-cutting, plowing, dredging, filling, ditching and drainage are all evident throughout the historical record.

There are 61 recorded archaeological sites within the boundaries directly managed by Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, including a burial mound, numerous shell middens, a Spanish mission and homestead sites.

Major prehistoric and historic sites include:

Although likely to be significant, much less is known about underwater archaeological resources. GTM Research Reserve has co-sponsored symposia on underwater archaeology to bring together experts in this field and promote collaboration and educational initiatives within GTM Research Reserve.

Habitat-Wildlife Type: 
Aquatic Preserves
Last Modified:
August 14, 2023 - 2:02pm

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