Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System Projects
The Wekiva River holds a special place as one of only two designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in the state of Florida. Our organization recognizes the significance of the Wekiva’s Wild and Scenic River designation, bestowed upon it by the federal government in recognition of its exceptional natural, cultural, and recreational values. This prestigious designation signifies the utmost importance of protecting this unique ecosystem for future generations, and as such, we aim to always be serving in the best interests of the river, guided by a Comprehensive River Management Plan which we strive to uphold with fidelity, and, through partnership and education, preserve the intrinsic values of the Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System.
Management Committee & River Ambassador Projects:
Unified Signage: Developed and installed new signage with the National Wild and Scenic River logo at access points, resting areas, and bridges throughout the Wekiva River System and entry roads into the basin, enhancing visibility and recognition.
Incorporation of Wild and Scenic Logo: Integrated the Wild and Scenic logo into presentations, publications, flyers, displays, and visual media associated with the Wekiva River System produced by or for the National Park Service, ensuring consistent branding and messaging.
Informative Material Distribution: Created flyers, displays, and informative materials outlining regulations and guidelines for recreational use at different river access points, promoting responsible enjoyment of the River System.
BearWise Strategies: Implemented BearWise strategies by placing signage and utilizing bear-resistant trash cans at recreation hubs with frequent bear activity, aiming to mitigate human-bear conflicts.
Community Involvement: Facilitated the distribution of bear-resistant trash cans in residential areas at the interface between wildlands and urban spaces within the Wekiva basin, fostering community engagement in conservation efforts.
Social Media Engagement: Established a social media platform by the Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System River Ambassador, fostering a community of friends and followers for communication regarding events, volunteer opportunities, and educational experiences.
Habitat Enhancement: Collaborated with relevant agencies involved in designing and constructing the Wekiva Parkway bridge over the river, including wildlife underpasses, aligning with conservation goals to improve habitat connectivity and wildlife corridors.
Awareness and Stewardship: Organized numerous paddling groups, hikes, volunteer opportunities for community science, and guided tours led by local experts to increase public awareness and promote stewardship of the Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System. These activities aim to engage and educate the community on the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem.
Management Committee Funded Initiatives:
• Contributed funding for research investigating the movement patterns of Florida black bears at the urban interface of Rock Springs Run State Reserve and Wekiwa Springs State Park.
• Conducted a comprehensive User Capacity Study to evaluate the impact of recreational activities on natural resources within the Wekiva River system, including an assessment of the experience of resource-based recreational users.
• Collaborated with the University of Florida for the User Capacity Study, engaging in a survey to gather insights on the recreational experience within the River System.
• Supported post-storm cleanup efforts along Black Water Creek and Rock Springs Run, restoring navigability by funding the removal of debris following a significant storm event.
• Financed the construction of erosion and sediment control basins (bioswales) near the Wilson’s Landing river access point in Seminole County to mitigate environmental impact.
• Sponsored the creation of two informative publications, the paddling guide, detailing distances between access points, available services, GPS coordinates, and notable landmarks within the Wekiva River System.
• Developed an interpretive graphic for the paddling trail on Black Water Creek, enhancing the trail’s informational value.
• Updated the Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System website to function as a comprehensive information hub and a primary platform for social media communication.
• Supported turtle research in Wekiwa Springs Run conducted by the North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group, providing research opportunities for students and community scientists involved in long-term turtle population monitoring since 1999.
• Financed the production of a film titled “The Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System, A National Treasure,” showcased on the Wild and Scenic River website. This film serves as a promotional tool to raise awareness about the river’s ecological significance and the impact of its Wild and Scenic River designation on conservation efforts. Additionally, a condensed 5-minute film highlights the river’s ecological importance and the significance of its protection under the Wild and Scenic River designation.