Daylighting Escambia Slough is a ‘Win-Win’

For years, St. Marys Riverkeeper Volunteers have been testing the water quality of Alligator Creek and reporting the results to the Nassau County Department of Health, City of Fernandina Beach government and community, and Florida DEP in hopes that a solution would present itself to bring the health of the creek back to meet state water quality standards. Even though the main source of the contamination is avian, it is vital the creek’s health is restored to ensure our community is safe when fishing or recreating in the area. Escambia Slough (aka Alligator Creek) has been listed on Florida’s 2022-2024 DRAFT Verified List and, if approved, the state would apply a TMDL to the waterbody.

Thankfully, during their January 3 Workshop meeting, the City of Fernandina Beach Commissioners decided to take matters into their own hands to resolve the water quality issue by deciding unanimously to daylight Escambia Slough. This means demolishing Escambia Street to allow the creek to flood and recede unimpeded! This will improve water quality of Escambia Slough and increase the resiliency of the city.

The impact of removing the road “reduces the amount of time [the area] is flooded by 2.5 hours…Another benefit is all the bacteria we hear about from St. [Marys] Riverkeeper about the birds…it has a better flushing system. It’s not stagnant water anymore and it creates a conservation area by having more marsh” Interim City Manager Charles George

The plan has been given the green light by St. Johns River Water Management District, FDEP, St. Marys Riverkeeper, and most importantly the residents along Escambia Street.

“I truly believe that it [removing Escambia Street] will naturally clean the water and create more environmental area of natural habitat to our city! What a WIN!!” Commissioner David Sturges

This is win for Escambia Slough and the Fernandina Beach community as well as a huge testament to St. Marys RIverkeeper Citizen Scientists’ dedication to monitoring and advocating for our waterways! Thank you for your service to our St. Marys River watershed.

See our most recent water quality data for Alligator Creek at Escambia Street as well as water quality from around the watershed.

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