Emeralda Marsh

emeralda_marsh_mapCalling all Nature Lovers!

Adjacent to the shores of Lake Griffin, the Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area is an aspect of Harbor Hills living that residents cherish.  Called the ‘Jewel of Lake County’, this conservation area borders Lake Griffin and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life including rare birds.

The 7,089-acre U.S. wildlife and conservation area is maintained by the St. Johns River Water Management District. In 1974, the Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area was designated as a National Natural Landmark. Here, visitors find an abundance of wetland wildlife as well as boating, hiking and fishing.

The wetlands provide a diverse ecosystem for wildlife. Numerous wading birds including endangered wood storks and white pelicans feed in the restored marshes. White tail deer, river otters, owls and falcons grace the varied habitat.

Each winter, songbirds, marsh birds and ducks migrate to Emeralda Marsh. Flocks of snowy egrets and families of sandhill cranes stroll gracefully  through the tree-lined neighborhoods of Harbor Hills. Every so often, a bald eagle will perch brazenly on a sturdy branch of a tall fairway tree.

The open waters of the Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area have been stocked with fish by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Ken Kurth, President of the Harbor Hills Fishing Club, calls this a great area for fishing. ‘I caught my first fish there a year ago, and the fishing is even better now!”, he says.

Karen Davis works for the District Bureau of Land Management. She explains that during improvement of Emeralda’s paved roads this February, visitors can take a similar wildlife drive through the conservation area surrounding Lake Apopka. Call Karen at 386-329-4404 for more information or visit the website, http://floridaswater.com/recreationguide/emeraldamarsh/ . For more information on Harbor Hills’ Fishing Club, visit the website www.hhhfc.com.


By: Nikki Hoffman