The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 246,766 acres of public lands and waters in the Florida Panhandle. The Reserve boundaries include 52 miles of the lower Apalachicola river and its associated floodplain, most of Apalachicola Bay, two barrier islands, part of a third, and several small out-parcels.
To manage the diverse natural communities of the Reserve, there exists a similarly diverse group of natural resource managers and community organizations who seek to preserve the important functions of each component. Partnerships are a necessity and the Reserve has teamed up with local, state and federal agencies in many ways. Primary managers of larger tracts within the Reserve include the Northwest Florida Water Management District, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Division of Forestry, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Programs at the Reserve focus on scientific research and natural resource management, as well as environmental education and training for many audiences.