The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center is OPEN but undergoing repairs due to Hurricane Michael. The aquarium tanks and boardwalks will once again be operational when the repairs are complete.
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center 108 Island Drive Eastpoint, FL 32328 850-670-7700 Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The environment within the ANERR boundaries and on ANERR-managed land provides a wide variety of outdoor resource based recreational opportunities. Although ANERR does not coordinate recreation, it is an important activity within ANERR. These include fishing (salt- and freshwater), hunting, hiking, camping, nature study, birding, canoeing, kayaking, boating, shelling, beach activities, swimming and nature photography.
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) accomplishes resource management by physically conducting management activities on the resources for which they have direct management responsibility, and by influencing the activities of others within and adjacent to their managed areas and watershed. These activities, and the resultant changes in environmental conditions, affect the condition and management of the resources within their boundaries. Coastal watersheds are especially sensitive to upstream activities affecting water quality and quantity.
The Coastal Training Program (CTP) provides science-based knowledge, training, resources and technical assistance to individuals responsible for making decisions that affect the coastal resources so vital to our watershed, our economy and our way of life. We promote and facilitate community-based stewardship and conservation by engaging leaders, managers, professionals, business owners and residents in gaining knowledge of the reserve. We draw expertise from both federal and state levels, channeling it to the local community.
Monitoring submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) has shown particular promise in detecting specific factors that may influence both short and long-term changes to near-shore aquatic ecosystems. This vegetation can serve as an important indicator to the health of an estuarine system. SAV also plays an important ecological role to the aquatic environment by providing food and habitat for waterfowl, fish, shellfish and invertebrates.
Researching Oysters for the Economy and for the Environment Apalachicola Bay is known for delicious oysters, but did you know that these oysters grow more quickly than oysters anywhere else in the United States? It takes Apalachicola oysters about 18 months to grow to legal size, about half the time it takes oysters in Chesapeake Bay to grow to an equivalent size.
The relatively undisturbed miles of Gulf beach and dunes of the barrier islands provide essential habitats for a number of endangered and rare birds. Since 1985, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) has concentrated most of its avian management efforts on several listed species, including least terns, black skimmers and American oystercatchers, which utilize habitats within the Reserve for breeding and nesting. The Research Section's annual nesting shorebird survey is concentrated in two areas within ANERR - "Bird Island" and the St. George Island Bridge Causeway.
Although they are not as widely utilized as the beaches of southeast Florida, the beaches of northwest Florida provide excellent habitat for nesting sea turtles. The barrier island beaches in the Apalachicola area support some of the densest concentrations of nesting loggerhead sea turtles in northwest Florida. The loggerhead is the most common turtle to nest in this area. There have been occasional reports of green sea turtles nesting on northwest Florida beaches and even rarer occurrences of leatherback nests.
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.