See a menagerie of wildlife on District lands

Finally! The heavenly season we call winter has arrived. We’re in that all-too-brief period where we can explore the wilder corners of the state without worry about heatstroke or sweat-drenched clothes.

The St. Johns River Water Management District can provide you with a firsthand wildlife experience free of charge! And we’re talking about wild animals, not a roadside petting zoo.

We own or manage more than 774,000 acres of land throughout our 18-county jurisdiction. These unspoiled tracts are part of our effort to protect water resources. The land helps to filter out pollutants from runoff, prevent erosion and provide flood protection. However, it also provides habitat for protected plants and animals. Chances you live near one of our 42 listed properties.

Our properties range from wetlands to dry uplands, meaning that you may encounter wildlife from otters and alligators to deer and gopher tortoises, not to mention hundreds of species of birds. We’ve included the pictorial (above) to entice you see what we have to offer. All of these photos were taken by District staff on District lands.

Pack your water, snacks, cell phone or camera for photos and bug repellent and visit a property nearest you. All we ask is that you respect Florida’s wildlife and use caution while visiting District lands. These are wild animals (some with sharp teeth). For your safety, don’t approach or feed any wild animal.

A barred owl casts a menacing gaze at Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area in Indian River County.

An American alligator finds a place of solitude in Blue Cypress Conservation Area in Indian River County.

An American alligator finds a place of solitude in Blue Cypress Conservation Area in Indian River County.

A deer seems to pose for the photographer in a field in Lake Norris Conservation Area in Lake County.

Juveniles hitch a ride on mother possum’s back at Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area in Lake County.

A colony of wood storks standing in some water

A colony of wood storks greet the morning at Stokes Landing Conservation Area in St. Johns County.

A playful river otter glides through the water in the northern St. Johns River. The river is accessible from many District properties.

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