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Pine Island Conservation Area

Pine Island Conservation Area
2121 Pine Island Rd
Merritt Island, FL 32953
Phone: (321)255-4466

gopher tortoise, bobcat, Eastern indigo snake; Sam's Creek-West Indian manatee, bottlenose dolphin, alligator; Listed in State of Florida Great Florida Birding Trail-American wigeon, migratory blue-winged teal, migratory songbirds, waders, shorebirds, woodstork, osprey

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This 1000-acre conservation area provides access to 2 trails at the trailhead 0.5 mile from main entrance. These moderate walks lead through pine flatwoods and hydric hammock habitats. Hikers will also see cabbage palm hammocks and hardwood hammocks, with mangrove forests and marshes fringing the Indian River Lagoon. The interior marsh ponds and borrow lakes make great spots for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Two canoe trails invite a relaxing way for visitors to observe area wildlife. Cycling is permitted on the established roads and bike trails only. Please do not ride bikes on hiking trails.

Pine Island Conservation Area is a dynamic landscape supporting a diverse plant community and abundant wildlife. Adjoining the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to the north, the 879-acre conservation area is jointly owned by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL Program) and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Acquired to buffer the Indian River Lagoon from development impacts along two-miles of shoreline, the conservation area also offers protection that reduces habitat fragmentation, provides regional stormwater treatment in the on-site borrow lakes, and provides passive recreation and environmental education opportunities. The conservation area is managed through an inter-agency agreement between the EEL Program and District designed to provide comprehensive protection of the natural resources. Primary ecosystem management activities on the site are hydrological restoration, stormwater enhancement, prescribed burning and removal of invasive exotic species.

A regionally unique feature from which the site derives its name is the slightly elevated pine flatwood "island" that directly adjoins the open waters of the Indian River Lagoon. Typically, pine flatwoods in the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem slope gently into hydric hammock or marsh habitats joining the water’s edge).

Visitors can also observe freshwater wetland and impounded salt marsh habitats. The series of natural shallow water ponds and channels embedded within the salt marshes reflect depressions in the subsurface limestone—an ancient seabed which underlies this area. Known as the Anastasia Formation, the limestone layer was shaped over the millennia by erosional forces of groundwater that resulted in the irregular topography of collapsed sinkholes and channels.

Mining of the Anastasia Formation for sand and marl production in the 1960’s altered the natural landscape along the eastern portion of the property—creating the North and South Borrow Lakes, and the dredging of a natural channel (locally referred to as Sam’s Creek) to form Rinker Canal. Spoil material deposited on site during the mining operations created a disturbed substrate subsequently exploited by the invasive exotic species, Brazilian pepper.

The diversity of habitats for many species of wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, and migratory birds is a prominent feature of the conservation area. Reptiles and amphibians including alligators and aquatic turtles are common, as are mammals such as bobcats, river otters, raccoons, and opossums that seek food and refuge on the site.

Pine Island Conservation Area Features & Activities
Bicycle Trail Equestrian Trails Fishing
Nature or Hiking Trail Paddling Wildlife Sanctuary
Wildlife Viewing    
Current Weather Conditions In Merritt Island, Florida.