Video Chronicles Florida Community's Success Protecting Wekiva River

Southeast’s first Partnership Wild and Scenic River

The National Park Service (NPS) and River Management Society (RMS) have produced a video “Designating the Wekiva Wild & Scenic River System: Florida's First Partnership Wild and Scenic River” which celebrates the Wekiva River System, the first Partnership Wild and Scenic River (PWSR) in the Southeastern US.

“More than 2 million people live within 20 miles of the Wekiva River System, yet it is lush with wildlife, recreational opportunities, historic and cultural sites, and an abundance of natural springs,” says Ashley Konon, River Ambassador with Wekiva Wild and Scenic River System. “We are grateful for the community members who in the late 1990s responded to the pressures of development by pursuing federal protection. Over the years, this collaborative effort has only expanded, testament to the community's commitment to preserving the Wekiva River System.”

The PWSR model enables rivers flowing through privately owned lands to receive federal Wild and Scenic designation. It provides a framework for long-term collaboration among landowners and community partners and the development of a locally led management plan backed by federal technical assistance and funding.

“This is the first Partnership Wild and Scenic River designated outside the Northeastern US, but this model can be used anywhere in the United States,” says Shana Stewart Deeds, the coordinating producer of this video, and the study coordinator for the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers in Vermont. “This designation helps mobilize volunteers and open doors for grant funding and future projects to support local watershed initiatives.”

This video, available on the NPS Wild and Scenic Rivers YouTube playlist, was produced through a cooperative agreement between NPS and RMS, who give special thanks to the Wekiva River System Advisory Management Committee, Friends of the Wekiva, Coordinating Producer Shana Stewart Deeds, Director and Editor Katie Geis, and Director of Photography Ian Sasso. Learn more about the partnership model at www.nps.gov/pwsr or www.river-management.org/pwsrtoolkit. With questions, contact bekah(at)river-management.org.

Published April 1, 2024

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