Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area

Near the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River, northwest of Orlando in Lake and Marion counties, visitors may hike along levees and other marked trails to view wildlife in the hammocks, pastures and extensive sawgrass and wet prairie marshes.

Watchable wildlife:
Waterfowl are abundant here. Look for northern shovelers, hooded mergansers,  blue-winged teal and Florida, wood, ring-necked and fulvous whistling ducks. Sandhill cranes are common. Bald eagles soar overhead year-round but are most abundant in winter and spring. The wetlands also attract white pelicans, purple gallinules, limpkins, glossy and white ibises, wood storks, alligators and otters. Dawn and dusk are the best times to catch a glimpse of a bobcat or deer.

St. Johns River Water Management District

(386) 329-4404

From Leesburg, take U.S. 441 south for two miles to C.R. 44. Take C.R. 44 to Emeralda Ave. and turn left (north). Turn left onto Emeralda Island Road NW. Entrances to the marsh properties are located on both sides of the road.

Related Sites:
Other Central Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks

FWC Facts:
The painted bunting is one of the most rapidly declining songbirds in the eastern U.S. Surveys show an astounding 4-6 percent annual decrease in its numbers from 1966 to 2007.

Learn More at AskFWC