The mission of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve stewardship program is to protect, conserve and restore the lands and waters of the Reserve. This is accomplished through partnerships with other public and private land managers within the Reserve and by hands-on management and restoration.
The Reserve directly manages over 12,000 acres in Gulf and Franklin Counties. This includes Little St. George Island, the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, and several other sites bordering Apalachicola Bay. Staff facilitates land acquisition, conducts habitat and hydrological restoration, eradicates and controls invasive plants, protects rare and endangered species, and conducts prescribed fires which are critical for restoring and maintaining native biodiversity.
The stewardship program also manages public access on Reserve lands including hiking trails, parking areas, picnic areas and remote "leave-no-trace" paddling campsites, as well as the St. Joseph Bay Preserve Center.