Anglers rejoice! The St. Johns River Water Management District opened the highly anticipated Headwaters Lake Boat Ramp in Indian River County on Aug 10.
“Headwaters Lake Boat ramp is the latest example of our agency’s long history of providing recreational opportunities whenever possible when we buy land for water resource protection, flood control or water quality improvement projects,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Providing community access to the excellent fishing at Fellsmere Water Management Area is just one more benefit of the successful Upper St. Johns River Basin Project.”
Headwaters Lake Boat Ramp at the district’s Fellsmere Water Management Area, a 10,000-acre reservoir east of the St. Johns Water Management Area, is known locally as the “Stick Marsh” and is the latest addition to the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project. The FWMA boat ramp is four miles west of Babcock Street on the Fellsmere Grade and includes 36 parking spaces, overflow parking adjacent to the paved lot, and restrooms.
The boat ramp is the key feature of Headwaters Lake, which covers the northern half of FWMA. Boaters can reach Egan Lake to the south via a navigational channel.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was a vital project partner since the beginning. While FWMA was still under construction, FWC planted 15,000 trees, dug pits, channels and contours on the lake bottom to create fish habitat. In addition, FWC contributed a 50-percent funding match for the construction of Headwaters Lake Boat Ramp ($842,000) through the Florida Boating Improvement Program.
“We are thankful for the partnership we have with the St. Johns River Water Management District in completing this eagerly anticipated project that will provide more access for freshwater fishing,” said Eric Sutton, FWC Executive Director. “Headwaters Lake Boat Ramp is a conservation success story, and we are proud to have worked on this incredible venture that will ensure the Fellsmere Water Management Area is a thriving fishery for the future of angling in Florida.”
Fellsmere Farms also has been a partner in the restoration of the St. Johns River’s headwaters for 60 years. The company donated Blue Cypress Lake in 1958 and later conveyed to the district the 6,500-acre Stick Marsh in 1983 and the 3,000 acres known today as T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area in 1987.
“The FWMA is the final capstone component to the district’s internationally recognized project to restore the upper basin of the St. Johns River,” said Greg Nelson, president of Fellsmere Farms. “We are pleased to be a cooperator in the successful completion of such a beneficial project.”
Daily hours of operation begin one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.
Information regarding FWMA, including rules and regulations, can be accessed through the district’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/list.