How many coastal lakes are there along 30-A and South Walton County?
(from the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance)
Within the confines of Walton County lie many ecological treasures which attract visitors from all over the world creating the 33rd fastest growing county in the nation (U.S. Census Bureau). While the beaches may receive the majority of attention among these treasures, it could be argued that local residents value the Coastal Dune Lakes as the County’s most prized possession. Strung like watery pearls, this series of lakes adorn 26 miles of our world-famous white, sandy beaches. The lakes have been identified as globally rare and imperiled (S1/G2) by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). The 15 named Coastal Dune Lakes in South Walton County are rare, natural systems (listed below). Similar ecosystems can only be found in the Florida Panhandle, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and the Northwest Pacific Coast of the United States.
The uniqueness of these lakes is most recognizably defined by their intermittent connection with the Gulf of Mexico. Upon favorable conditions through storm or tidal events, water is fed into the Sand and Gravel Aquifer filled lakes until the damming sands can no longer contain them. In one of the most majestic displays of nature, the lake water bursts through the dunes emptying into the Gulf. In return, salt water from the Gulf fills the void left behind by the lowered water levels of the lake. This exchange forms not only a brackish estuarine water-body, but creates a dynamic ecosystem that can change at a moment’s notice — sometimes before your very eyes. For many residents and visitors, it is the Coastal Dune Lakes that are the aesthetic staple of the area. When you witness the lake’s connecting outfall snaking its way through the dunes and spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, there is absolutely no doubt that you are in Walton County.
WALTON COUNTY CURRENTLY RECOGNIZES 15 COASTAL DUNE LAKES:
• Big Red Fish
• Little Red Fish
• Western (Grayton)
• Camp Creek