The Friends of the GTM Reserve recently partnered with St. Johns County Audubon Society and Audubon Florida to fund the Guana water quality project being conducted by the Northeast Florida Aquatic Preserves and the GTM Research Reserve research team.
This project will allow the Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve and the GTM Research Reserve to take water quality samples for one year to create a baseline for water quality assessment.
“We are very excited about partnering with Audubon Florida and St. Johns County Audubon to study our precious Guana Lake and Guana River,” said Ellen Leroy-Reed, executive director of Friends of the GTM Reserve. "Audubon's mission to protect land, water, and wildlife aligns with GTM's expertise in science-based monitoring and research, so the partnership makes sense."
Guana Lake and Guana River are within both state Aquatic Preserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve designations intended to protect the health of Guana waters for long-term recreational enjoyment, commercial fishing and oyster harvesting, research and education. There has been limited water quality testing in Guana Lake, which was created in 1957 after the construction of a dam intended to improve hunting and fishing.
A recent short-term study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flagged Guana Lake as a potential problem area due to sediment contaminants, bacteria concentrations and overall habitat quality.