Ansin Riverfront Conservation Area
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The Ansin Riverfront Conservation Area is a 28-acre tract that is one small part of a multiple-phase land acquisition project that has been pursued by Indian River County, the Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District for many years. The Ansin property shares its eastern boundary with the 95-acre Fischer Tract; this conservation area consists of forested wetlands & hammock bordering the south prong of the St. Sebastian River. Both of these parcels help to buffer the Sebastian River and South Prong Slough from nearby development.
Purchased by Indian River County in 2005, the acquisition achieved three inter-related goals. The primary conservation goal was to augment the buffer for water quality protection and wildlife corridors in the watershed of the St. Sebastian River and the State Aquatic Preserve. The acquisition also serves to provide a pedestrian connection and greenway between CR 512 and the Trans-Florida Central Railroad grade to the existing County canoe launch park, and the 23,000 acre St. Sebastian Preserve State Park. Conservation of this site also achieved a goal of protecting the South Prong of the St. Sebastian River from runoff from any future development.
There are several native plant communities present on the property. At the eastern end of the railway corridor, a boardwalk traverses a portion of the mixed hardwood swamp present on site. Further to the west along the railway, you will walk through the shade provided by mature live oaks covered in ressurection ferns and bromeliads. The final portion of the paved trail crosses through mesic and scrubby pine flatwoods, where you may encounter a Florida gopher tortoise foraging near the saw palmetto.
Land management activities were initiated by the County in 2010. Initial management included development of trails and roller-chopping portions of the flatwoods to thin the cover by small trees and shrubs (to encourage the growth of herbaceous species). A prescribed burn is planned for the flatwood areas on site which will further improve conditions by eliminating vegetative debris and opening up the understory. In addition to upland management, the County has initiated a plan for control of exotic species on site including treatment of Brazilian pepper and air potato along the northern boundary of the site. Additional exotics treatment of this area will be on-going, and areas along the eastern and southern boundary of the site will be incorporated into the treatment schedule.
Parking and trailhead are located at the Sebastian Canoe Launch at the north end of Water Vliet Avenue.