Florida DEP Banner

For Immediate Release: August 17, 2011

Contact: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,


~DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. attends as special guest~

Secretary Vinyard ceremoniously cuts a ribbon at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Reseach Reserve.

DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. cuts a ribbon ceremoniously opening the new Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center.

Also pictured, ANERR Manager Lee Edmiston, Franklin County Commissioner Pinkie Jackel and Executive Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Anita Grove.

EASTPOINT – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today officially opened the new Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) Nature Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and media tour. The ANERR Nature Center features 18,000 square feet of learning space, including two working wet and dry research laboratories. Representing the river, bay and gulf habitats found in Apalachicola, the center features three large walk-around tanks that each hold over 1,000 gallons and house a variety of native plant life and creatures.  The new building is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certificate standards.
“For more than 30 years, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve has done an incredible job protecting one of Florida’s most productive water bodies,” said Secretary Vinyard. “Education and outreach are important parts of the Reserve’s work, and this new facility will help us share the important work we do with even more students, residents and tourists.”
ANERR, spanning approximately 246,000 acres, is located in Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties on the Florida panhandle, approximately 75 miles southeast of Tallahassee and 60 miles east of Panama City. ANERR is managed by the DEP Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA) and is part of a nationwide network of 28 research reserves overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
ANERR was established in 1979 to protect the regions biological diversity, as well as the economic value of the natural resources and pristine conditions. Between 60 to 85 percent of the local population make their living directly from the fishing industry, most of which is done in reserve waters. 
“The design and the exhibits in the new facility are meant to give visitors an orientation to where they are in Florida and in this important watershed,” said Lee Edmiston, ANERR Director. “The exhibits demonstrate the connectivity among the river, bay and gulf habitats, and guests can explore the idea of a continuum of habitat versus discreet, separate systems.”
Research projects that target commercial fisheries management and the food web are a high priority at ANERR. In addition to its water quality monitoring program, the new facility has a highly sophisticated geographic information systems (GIS) database, which is used to educate coastal managers and visiting researchers about the area and its ecology. Other educational offerings include ongoing guest lecturers for the community and coastal management workshops for environmental professionals. ANERR’s K-12 educational activities are divided between classroom and on-site programs. For more information about the research and education programs offered, please contact the Reserve at (850) 670-7700 or visit the website: