Blue Cypress Lake, photo credit: Vince Lamb
Our 13-day journey began with a ceremonial blessing from Sister Pat Siemen. Today's launch coincides with World Water Day, an international day of awareness for water issues. The tour team explored Blue Cypress Lake, headwaters of the St. Johns River and the largest concentration of Osprey in the world. Karen's Kayaks, a local outfitter provided guided knowledge, and partners with the Center for Earth Jurisprudence joined the group for inspiration and partnership building. Middleton's Fish Camp provided the perfect backdrop for a waterfront lunch.
After lunch, the tour team met with upper basin land managers from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) for a tour of Fort Drum Conservation Area. The marsh is 20,000 acres acquired for flood prevention and protection of the headwaters. The new boardwalk allows the public to reach Hog Island. Cattle graze on the land under a lease with the SJRWMD.
Land managers then escorted the Tour Team through Fellsmere Farms, a project that directs agricultural water from citrus and cattle farms into 10,000 acres of dispersed water storage areas instead of allowing it to reach the C-54 canal and the Sebastian River and Indian River Lagoon.
We finished the day at Marsh Landing Restaurant in downtown Fellsmere, the former land buying office and at one time, police station. Our community events lead us to connect with nearly 60 members of the public and a great chance to learn more out the headwaters of the mighty St. Johns River.