Dear REI Co-op,
Thank you! We are so proud to partner with REI in the protection of wild places! On behalf of everyone at Apalachicola Riverkeeper—our members, supporters, staff, volunteers and board of directors—we are truly grateful for your generous support of our on-going work to protect and restore the Apalachicola River, Floodplain and Bay. For nearly 25 years, Apalachicola Riverkeeper has been an independent voice for the Apalachicola River Basin, speaking up for its long-term protection and restoration. The REI Cooperative Action Fund grant will ensure our essential work continues.
The grand opening activities at the Tallahassee store were simply energizing. Here are some some photos. We met hundreds of new people (including lots of the new REI team) and we also got to visit with folks familiar to us. It seemed like people from all over north Florida and south Georgia came to check out the new store. Many that visited our booth signed up for volunteer opportunities and Riverkeeper news updates. We were especially glad to meet so many children and families. All were glad to hear REI is investing in the northwest Florida region by furthering protection of wild places and ensuring that all people have the right to outdoor recreation. Please know how much we appreciated the opportunity to share information about Florida’s Apalachicola River with everyone.
Again, thank you for your incredible support. We look forward to working with your team on future volunteer projects like river clean ups and eco-outings. Together, let’s keep protecting wild places, especially the Apalachicola River Basin.
All the best and for the River,
Riverkeeper and Executive Director
P.S. Here are some of the river basin ecology facts we shared with visitors.
- The Apalachicola River is Florida’s largest river in volume of flow with headwaters in the Blue Ridge mountains. The freshwater supports the estuary of Apalachicola Bay and the ecological health of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
- The Apalachicola River basin is one of the most ecologically diverse regions of the Southeast
- The United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) recognizes the Apalachicola ecosystem as an International Biosphere Reserve.
- Florida has designated Apalachicola Bay as a Florida Aquatic Preserve, one of the most ecologically important natural areas in the state.
- The U.S. Congress and the State of Florida established the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve.
- The vitality of this exceptional ecosystem depends on adequate freshwater flows from the upstream Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers reaching the downstream Apalachicola River at the right times.
- The Apalachicola River nourishes a 144,000-acre floodplain as it flows more than 100 miles down the Florida panhandle into Apalachicola Bay and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The River’s floodplain supports one of the last unbroken bottomland hardwood forests in the United States.
- Apalachicola Bay historically provided 90 percent of Florida’s oysters and more than 10 percent of the total oyster production in the United States. The Bay is also a major nursery for shrimp, blue crab, and many fish, including striped bass, sturgeon, grouper, snapper, red fish, speckled trout, and flounder.
- More than 131 species of fresh and estuarine fish live in the Apalachicola River, more varieties than in any other river in Florida. More than 140 species of fish are found in the Bay.
- More than 50 species of mammals, including the Florida black bear and the threatened West Indian Manatee, are found in the Apalachicola drainage basin. As of 2012, more than 30 federally threatened or endangered animal species inhabited the Apalachicola River Basin.
- More than 40 species of amphibians and 80 species of reptiles live in the Apalachicola River basin. This rich and varied assemblage constitutes the highest diversity of amphibians and reptiles in all of the United States and Canada.
- More than 282 avian species, including 164 migratory bird species, reside for at least part of the year in the Apalachicola floodplain and bay.
- More than 1,300 species of plants, including 103 that are threatened or endangered, are found in the Apalachicola drainage basin.