• Check out the new Alligator Point sign at the Welcome Garden. A big thank you to Michelle Darpel / Laurie McCarter for organizing the purchase /shipping, and to Gary Darpel / John McCarter for the installation.

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  • Many Thanks to John and Laurie McCarter for their hard work improving the Welcome Garden! Also, a big thank you to the Water Resources Board for waiving fees and installing a new water valve for the plantings!

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Local Focus: Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve

In the current Local Focus we highlight the Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve. Below you will find a brief history and contact info for the Preserve Manager. For additional information please click on the "Local Interests" tab above, select "Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve" from the drop down menu and go to their page on our website. Be sure to click on their facebook link and like their page. History: Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve was designated in 1969. The barrier islands and spits in the area began forming 5,000 years ago when sea level had risen essentially to its present position. The region is now primarily rural with scattered concentrations of single-family beach homes, but development pressure is increasing. Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve is a shallow, neutral estuary and a barrier spit lagoon. It lies just east of the Apalachicola estuary and is enclosed by the Alligator Point sand spit. The harbor is approximately 4 miles long and 1 mile wide with a mean low water depth of approximately 4 feet. There is little freshwater inflow into the harbor, and salinity levels do not vary much from those in the adjacent Gulf of Mexico. While it appears the aquatic preserve borders the Florida mainland on the north, the land mass is actually St. James Island, formed by the Ochlockonee and Crooked rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Alligator Harbor supports a variety of commercial and recreational species of fish and invertebrates in valuable aquatic habitats including seagrass meadows, salt marshes, oyster bars and beaches. It serves as a major forage area for migratory birds, and in particular, for trans-gulf migrants in the fall and spring. Clam aquaculture sites were established in 2002 at Alligator Harbor and are producing a very valuable product for Florida's economy. Migratory species — include piping plovers, semipalmated plovers, least terns, peregrine falcons and a variety of hawks — call Alligator Harbor home for part of the year. Local species at Alligator Harbor include American oystercatchers, black skimmers, snowy plovers, royal terns and brown pelicans.The Alligator Harbor area is part of a broad, sandy shore plain that is constantly being altered by wind, rainfall and sea level change, and is bordered by several prominent offshore shoal systems: Dog Island Reef to the southwest, South Shoal to the southeast, and the Ochlockonee Shoal to the east. Dog Island Reef is considered to be an example of a submerged barrier island; the South Shoal was probably deposited by the Ochlockonee River during a lower stand of sea level; and the Ochlockonee Shoal probably represents a downed barrier island or headland. Total Acreage: 14184.00 Contact: Jon Brucker, Manager Email: Jonathan.Brucker@FloridaDEP.gov Phone: 850-670-7723