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Governments Plan for Development of Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level: Clay County, Florida


The St. Johns River is affected by the Atlantic Oceanís tides upstream to the border betweenPutnam County and Volusia County. The St. Johns River defines the eastern boundary of the county. Doctors Inlet is fed by the St. Johns and flows into a large area of wetlands and forested conservation uplands. Two creeks flow west from the St. Johns: Black Creek flows into the Black Creek Basin and Governors Creek flows west, north of the City of Green Cove Springs. Approximately 67 linear miles of tidally influenced coastline are included in the project for Clay County.

††††††††††† NOTE: While this study was underway, the Black Creek Basin was the subject of an extensive study conducted by the St. Johns River Water Management District and the State of Florida.Hence it was excluded from this study.

St. Johns River (from the north county border to Doctors Inlet).†† Seawalls fortify this entire 3.5-mile stretch of coastline along the St. Johns River in Clay County. These seawalls protect areas of high-end residential land use. For this reason these areas are deemed as protection almost certain.

St. Johns River (Doctors Inlet south to the county border).†† The majority of the area along the St. Johns from Doctors Inlet to the Green Cove Springs city limits is marked as protection almost certain because many of the parcels are designated as residential and a good portion of those have existing seawalls. The Green Cove Springs area has some residential, commercial, and industrial areas, which have also been marked as protection almost certain. South of Green Cove Springs are areas that are mostly conservation with some rural residential. The local planners changed the conservation areas from no protection to protection unlikely because it is possible that river management objectives may lead to shore protection.The rural residential areas are shown as protection likely because of possible future development.

Doctors Inlet.†† Doctors Inlet is completely surrounded by medium to high-end residential. Seawalls currently protect many of the homes around the inlet and those properties that arenít will most likely be protected in the future. For this reason, all of the area around the inlet is almost certain to be protected.

Black Creek.††† Black Creek extends west from the St. Johns River into the Black Creek basin. There is a considerable amount of conservation land in this area and it is marked as no protection and will most likely be relinquished for wetlands migration. The areas to the north of Black Creek are urban and rural residential. These areas are marked as protection almost certain because of planned future development. On the south side of Black Creek are mining, conservation, and residential areas. The residential areas are defined as protection likely because they are less densely developed but could possibly be protected for future growth. The mining area is abandoned.This area and the conservation areas are defined as no protection for wetlands migration.

Governors Creek.††† The Governors Creek area is mostly conservation surrounded by residential. The residential areas are marked as protection almost certain and the conservation areas are marked as no protection.

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Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea (PDF, 7 pp., 1.3 MB) was originally published in Environmental Research Letters , Issue 3, Volume 4 (2009).

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