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Enhanced levee maintenance project turns into an amenity at Lake Apopka

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Donations since November totaled $1,500 toward North Shore recreational maintenance and improvements

From St. Johns River Water Management District

Visitors to the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD) this weekends will see their donations at work. What started as a levee maintenance project was enhanced to include amenities for visitors to enjoy, built with outside dining and wildlife viewing opportunities in mind.

District operations and maintenance staff have constructed a new picnic area located at the intersection of McDonald Canal and Laughlin roads, where the levee was eroding due to vehicles parking along it to access nearby facilities. By installing a limerock parking area at the site, staff anticipate less erosion.

Improvements, funded in part through $1,200 in visitor donations

Picnic area covered with shade cloth

Two tables made with recycled plastic (to be installed next week)

Parking area with five spots, including handicapped parking

Relocated bird-identification kiosk with easy access from the picnic area

Area grading to prevent water buildup and erosion

Osprey platform

Raptor perch

Installation of an osprey platform and (right) new shaded picnic area and parking area.

Nearly 200,000 people visit LAWD each year and it is by far the District’s most visited conservation property.

As with all District properties, admission to the Lake Apopka North Shore’s wildlife drive and trails is free of charge. However, since November 2020, visitors have the option to donate through online credit or debit card donations to assist with expenses for sanitation, security, maintenance of levees, roads and trails, as well as improvements, brochures, maps and other educational materials. The link to donate is www.sjrwmd.com/LAWD-donate.

The wildlife drive is a one-way, 11-mile drive meandering through the eastern portion of the property, beginning at Lust Road in Apopka. Also, the Lake Apopka Loop Trail is available for non-motorized visitors and follows the lake’s edge through the property, covering more than 20 miles and providing hiking and biking opportunities.

Visit www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/lake-apopka for more information about the recreational opportunities that await at the LANS.

St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the District and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The District encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville and Palm Bay. Connect on Twitter at @SJRWMD, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. For more information about the District, please visit www.sjrwmd.com.

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