At the direction of Governor DeSantis and to successfully uphold CDC guidance to maximize social distancing and avoid gatherings larger than 10 people, DEP will close all Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection managed lands to the public effective Tuesday, March 24. This follows the cancellation of events and closure of state parks and National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERRs) facilities and education centers to the public earlier this month.
This closure includes state-owned uplands, such as beaches, islands, sand bars and emergent shoals within aquatic preserves. Vessel landings are strictly prohibited.
Unless closed by local or county order, state waters in aquatic preserves are open to recreational or commercial fishing and boating at this time, as long as adequate social distancing is observed.
We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we work to prioritize the welfare of our communities and staff. We look forward to welcoming you again to our NERRs and aquatic preserves as soon as possible.
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) was designated in 1979. It is located in Franklin, Gulf and Calhoun counties, within one of the least populated coastal areas of the state. The Apalachicola River basin is only part of the larger Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system (ACF), which drains an area covering approximately 19,600 miles, extending into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Florida portion contains about 2,800 square miles, and the population within Florida's basin is probably less than 100,000 individuals.
The boundary of ANERR includes the lower 52 miles of the Apalachicola River and floodplain, as well as most of Apalachicola Bay. It includes lands managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Park Service, Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) and the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection. Of the uplands acreage within ANERR, the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection manages 6,794 acres, the USFWS manages 11,938 acres (St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge), the Florida Park Service manages 2,024 acres (St. George Island State Park), FWC manages 63,814 acres and NWFWMD manages 36,241 acres. The balance of the total acreage is open water, including Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve (80,875 acres).
The Apalachicola National Research Reserve is also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, an internationally designated protected area meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature.
Location: Franklin, Liberty and Calhoun counties
Acreage: 234,715 acres
Contact: Jenna Harper, Manager Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Environmental Education and Training Center 108 Island Drive Eastpoint, FL 32328 850-670-7700 Jennifer.Harper@dep.state.fl.us
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.