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Oleta River Corridor
"If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in Water."
-- Loren Eiseley
Historically, the native Tequestas paddled their dugouts down the river through pristine hammocks and through dense mangroves to reach the productive fishing grounds of Biscayne Bay. Today, the Oleta River flows through Miami-Dade's Greynolds Park complex and the State's Oleta River Recreation Area. This exceptional resource contrasts sharply with the high density residential neighborhoods and business districts that abut the parks. It is the only water course in the country that has not been completely dredged or otherwise altered.
In 1993, five properties along the Oleta River were identified for acquisition by the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program. No site was pristine: their importance was their connection to the river and nearby parklands. Two are now in the public domain. On one 30-acre site in Oleta River State Recreation Area the owners planned to build a high-rise condominium on their property.
The property became entangled in a bankruptcy and in the savings and loans misfortunes of the mid '90s. Only then was the State, in partnership with the EEL program, able to acquire the parcel and maintain the watery wilderness within the State Recreation Area.
A smaller three acre riverfront site adjacent to East Greynolds Park was also acquired by EEL with a matching grant from the State's Florida Communities Trust. To restore the site to more natural conditions, invasive exotic Australian pine trees have been removed and elevation modified. The site now functions as a self-maintaining mangrove wetland, teeming with fish and wading birds.
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