Melissa Wissel, Communications Manager for the City of St Augustine, informed local Historic City News reporters that the procurement of Fish Island has been completed by the State of Florida, and the City of St. Augustine is engaged in the process of obtaining a lease agreement and creating a land management plan.
According to Wissel, Florida’s Acquisition and Restoration Council requires that a management plan be submitted for approval within 10 months of an executed lease. Included in this management plan will be natural and cultural resource information, land use needs and goals, and a budget with a 10-year planning horizon.
“As the plan is being written, and to provide updates about the project, the City has created a dedicated section of its website to Fish Island, www.CityStAug.com/FishIsland,” Wissel told local reporters. “Visitors to the website will have access to photos, videos, historical information about the island, as well as announcements concerning planned activities.”
The creation of a Management Advisory Group comprised of members representing organizations such as Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Forest Service, Soil and Water Conservation District, Anastasia Mosquito Control District, North Florida Land Trust, Florida Public Archaeology Network, St. Augustine Archaeological Association, in addition to other local organizations and individuals, will provide direction and input for the plan.
“Fish Island is an extraordinary place with outstanding natural and cultural resources,” said J.B. Miller, a biologist with over 30 years in land management, who has been hired by the city as the Land Management Coordinator. “This website will offer a one-stop-shop for all things Fish Island, including an opportunity for the public to provide feedback via a questionnaire.”
The Fish Island Public Input Questionnaire is an important component of the plan as it seeks responses to questions concerning important aspects of what the property will look like in the future, such as what recreational opportunities and amenities the public would like to see at Fish Island. The community is encouraged to take the online survey, which takes less than five minutes to complete, and opt-in to subscribe to receive email updates from the city.
Fish Island, located at the east end of the 312 Bridge, is a park with trails, beautiful views, and a rich cultural history. The City of St. Augustine, with considerable community support and numerous partners, has worked tirelessly in the acquisition and cleanup of this island.