The Easthole tract of the Reserve stretches along one mile of bayshore and is located just east of the center of St. George Island, Florida. This site, named after the oyster harvest area located just to the north in the bay, is made up of 251 individual lots and a single seven-acre parcel of marsh; all fragmented by historically platted county roads, alleys and canals. Easthole was purchased by the state to protect Apalachicola Bay by reducing development of fragile barrier island ecosystems. By participating in Chronolog at St. George Island Bridge, you can help us monitor Easthole's new and expanding mangrove populations, track a dynamic shoreline adjacent to numerous oyster bars in St. George Sound, and document recreation use at a popular fishing and kayaking site on St. George Island! The site is tidally influenced and consists of salt marsh, mixed mangrove-marsh, coastal dunes, flatwoods and scrub forest in the uplands, and seagrass and oyster beds in the adjacent submerged lands.
Deep in the shady tupelo and cypress swamps of the floodplain, dark, rich water bleeds into the broader flow of the Apalachicola, a large alluvial river that makes its way to one of the most historically productive estuaries in the northern hemisphere. The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is one of 29 coastal sites designated to protect and study estuarine systems in the U.S., encompasses over 246,000 acres of public lands and waters in the Florida Panhandle. The Reserve boundary includes 52 miles of the Apalachicola River and its associated floodplain, Apalachicola Bay, a string of unique barrier islands, and several disjunct parcels embedded in the small coastal communities.. To manage the diverse natural communities of the Reserve, there is a similarly diverse group of natural resource managers, scientists and educators who seek to preserve the important biological function of each component. The Reserve, which is supported by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, includes programs that focus on research and monitoring, stewardship, environmental education and training for a variety of audiences. Check out our Chronolog stations at Easthole (Unit 4) and Nick’s Hole to help us capture change and activity in both natural and human communities occurring in the Reserve.