St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District St. Johns River Water Management District
St. Johns River Water Management District -

Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area


7,068 acres.


In Lake County, between State Road (SR) 42 and SR 44, just north of Lisbon, on the east side of Lake Griffin and west of County Road (CR) 452.


Historically, the Emeralda Marsh extended for more than 10,000 acres on the eastern side of Lake Griffin, near the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River. The District has acquired approximately half of the project area identified by the state’s Conservation and Recreation Lands acquisition program for restoration. In 1974, the area was designated as a National Natural Landmark through a program of the National Park Service.

Wildlife viewing:

The natural communities and agricultural lands support a large and diverse wildlife population, particularly migrating and wintering birds. A large number of the eastern greater sandhill crane population winter in the area. Thousands of ring-necked ducks and lesser numbers of wood ducks, Florida ducks, and hooded mergansers and large flocks of white pelicans and other waterfowl species can be seen in the area. Listed species include bald eagle, wood stork, limpkin and snowy egret. The wetlands and adjacent water bodies support one of the highest concentrations of alligators in central Florida.

Wildlife Viewing Hiking Fishing Horseback Riding Biking Canoeing Canoe Launch Boating Boat Ramp Hunting
Recreational activities:
  1. Seasonal waterfowl hunting, fishing, hiking, bicycling, canoeing, horseback riding, boating and wildlife viewing. more info
  2. The open waters have been stocked with fish by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  3. A handicapped-accessible wildlife viewing platform is available.
  4. A seasonal interpretive drive is open to vehicular access starting the third weekend in February through May on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gate is locked at 5 p.m.
  5. View hunting information.
Restrictions: more info
  1. Off-road vehicles (including motorcycles and all-terrain or track vehicles) are not allowed on property.
  2. Airboats are not permitted.

Travel east from Weirsdale on SR 42 past the Sunnyhill Restoration Area and turn south on CR 452. Public parking areas are provided off CR 452. Access is also available from Emeralda Island Road.

For more information:

Call the District’s Bureau of Land Management at (386) 329-4404.


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Governing Board meetings
Please see agendas for specific meeting times, which may differ monthly.

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922