A team from St. Johns River Water Management District will outline the complex Emeralda Marsh Improvement Project at Trout Lake Nature Center’s Friday Night Naturalist Program on Friday, July 21, at 6 p.m. This your chance to learn what’s happen’in. The project, which closed the popular Lake County fishing and wildlife viewing area throughout much of 2016, is projected for completion this autumn, according to Robert Naleway, Apopka Basin engineer for the water management district. Naleway, a registered professional engineer who has worked on water resource projects in Florida for nearly 20 years, will be joined by two colleagues in the district’s Division of Water and Land Resources: Dr. Dianne Hall, environmental scientist, and Nels Parson, land manager. They will outline a primary goal of the ambitious environmental undertaking — to restore the natural connection between the expansive marsh – the focal point of one of the district’s most visited properties — and Lake Griffin. That was made possible, in part, by “re-establishing the connection to areas that had previously been farmland,” Naleway explains.
Among the project’s significant environmental benefits will be the restoration of fish habitat, creating new fishing opportunities for visitors to the popular wetlands.
A new, relocated wildlife drive, with reconstructed levees, vehicle pullovers and a new boat-launching ramp, will enhance wildlife viewing opportunities.
“This is an important wildlife restoration area,” he adds, “with very high nature value.” Once the area reopens, visitors “will find abundant wildlife viewing opportunities,” in addition to small-game hunting, fishing and boating. The program is free of charge; donations are welcome to help support the not-for-profit nature center. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 352.357.7536. The nature center is located at 520 East CR44 in Eustis.