The St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve and the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve manage the conservation, protection, and restoration of important ecosystems and landscapes in order to protect significant surface-water, coastal, recreational, fish and wildlife resources. The preserves provide protection for native species habitat and archaeological and historical sites as well as provide opportunities for natural resources-based recreation. The St. Joseph Bay Preserves are located in one of the most ecologically significant areas in the Southeastern United States and in one of six Hot Spots in the world known for ecological diversity.
The Preserves protect an intact natural coastal landscape with one of the highest concentrations of rare plants in Southeast, including globally imperiled species such as Chapman’s rhododendron, Telephus spurge and Pinewoods aster.
The St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve provides an essential buffer for St. Joseph Bay that helps protect the Bay’s water quality, natural productivity and critical habitats.
The buffer preserve includes: Money Bayou – an unusual tidal creek that flows directly into the Gulf of Mexico instead of an intervening bay or sound, twenty known archaeological and historic sites dating from prehistoric times to the 20th century, one of the most stable and clearly defined dunes/swale systems (formed by the sand dunes of ancient-shorelines). rare and endangered reptilian, avian, mammalian and plant species, and an EPA designation as a Gulf of Mexico Ecological Management site.