Important Bird Areas

Matanzas Inlet and River

Florida

Fort Matanzas National Monument, 121 ha
Northeast Florida Blueway Phase II Tolomata and Matanzas River FF Project, 6070 ha
State sovereign lands, 4040 ha

In southeastern St. Johns County, from State Road 312 to Pellicer Creek between the mainland and the barrier islands. Fort Matanzas National Monument is at the extreme southern end of Anastasia Island in southeastern St. Johns County, along the north side of the Matanzas Inlet. This IBA is contiguous with parts of the Northern Atlantic Migration Stopover IBA to the north and south.

Fort Matanzas National Monument: federally-owned property with undisturbed coastal dunes surrounding 18th-century Fort Matanzas. Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project: an extensive marsh and estuarine system running from St. Augustine south for 14 miles (22 km). The entire FF Project area encompasses 27,929 acres (11,302 hectares), but some of this is north of State Road 312, which marks the northern boundary of the IBA. A 9000-acre (3642-hectare) silvicultural site sought for public acquisition occupies virtually the entire southern half of the IBA. Matanzas Inlet is a natural inlet that connects the Matanzas River with the Atlantic Ocean. The Inlet is characterized by extensive tidal flats and sandbars, interspersed with natural out-croppings of coquina rock.

Ornithological Summary

Significant populations of Endangered and Threatened species; significant numbers of shorebirds; and significant natural habitats

This IBA supports a Wood Stork rookery, large numbers of wintering shorebirds and larids, and smaller numbers of breeding larids.

Conservation Issues

Fort Matanzas National Monument: human disturbance. Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project: *development, runoff.

Fort Matanzas National Monument: the Least Tern rookery is posted against human intrusion. ? Driving on the beach which disturbs roosting and foraging shorebirds and larids, is permitted within the National Monument. Matanzas River Blueway FF Project: The entire project acreage is privately owned and under threat of residential development, which is occurring all around the IBA. ? Residential runoff from existing development impacts the river.

Ownership

U.S. National Park Service (Fort Matanzas National Monument), State of Florida (sovereign lands), and private (acreage part of the Northeast Florida Blueway Phase II Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project)

Habitat

Fort Matanzas National Monument: *coastal strand, maritime hammock, artificial. Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project: *tidal marsh, *estuarine, *pine plantation, *maritime hammock, sand pine scrub, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp, riverine.

Land Use

Fort Matanzas National Monument: *conservation, *recreation, *historic preservation. Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project: *silviculture, *conservation, recreation, private lands under threat of development