August is Water Quality Month and it’s the perfect time to think about nearby Lake Griffin. The lake is adjacent to the Harbor Hills community, providing spectacular views as well as fishing from the neighborhood dock. The area is part of the Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area known as the Jewel of Lake County. It is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life including rare birds. It’s one of the most scenic sites along the Great Florida Birding Trail. The 7,089-acre US wildlife area is maintained by the St. Johns Water Management District. In 1974, the conservation area was designated as a National Natural Landmark.
The state of Florida is home to one-fifth of the country’s wetlands. Protection of these fragile areas is critical. Half of all North American bird species and other endangered animals use wetlands for feeding and nesting. In winter, songbirds, marsh birds and ducks migrate to Emeralda Marsh. Flocks of snowy egrets and sandhill cranes stroll gracefully through the nearby neighborhoods of Harbor Hills. The sturdy branches of our fairway trees provide ample cover and a grand perspective for the occasional bald eagle.
Today, area visitors find an abundance of wetland wildlife as well as boating, hiking and fishing. Open waters are stocked with fish by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Neighbors Ken Kurth, Dr. Dan Wassell, Dan Kurka and Mike Doyle are a few of our recreational anglers. Others include Barry Palmer, Tom Ingram, Mark Witkop and Mike Cofer. They enjoy fishing the many interconnected lakes of the scenic Harris Chain including Lake Griffin.
Much work has been done to improve our local water quality and restore a thriving habitat for our plant and animal life. For information, visit floridaswater.com.