A reader wants to know if Fleming Island in Clay County is a real island or a real state marketing idea. The answer is it may or may not be an island, according to the definition.

Question: Is Fleming Island a real island or a real estate marketing idea? Looking for water all around it, it looks like a small ditch that may qualify the area as an island? - C.F., Jacksonville

Dear C.F.: The Times-Union explored this issue in a story several years ago, and the answer was yes, no, maybe.

The unincorporated community is in northeastern Clay County. It’s isolated by water, and motorists have to cross a bridge to enter it.

"It's sort of an island, but it sort of isn't," Christopher Williams, geologist for the Department of Environmental Protection Florida Geological Survey, told The Times-Union.

It's bordered by Doctors Lake to the north, the St. Johns River to the east, Black Creek to the south and Swimming Pen Creek to the west.

Confusion arises because Black Creek and Swimming Pen Creek don't quite touch. The two are connected by a shallow, permanently flooded wetland system that is not navigable by boat, the story said.

However, it may still live up to its name.

"This is going to sound really funny," Williams was quoted in the story. "But it depends on what kind of a definition of an island you're referring to."

Because Fleming Island is partially bordered by a wetland system, it is not an island under the primary definition, Williams said.

But it could be considered an island under the secondary definition, which includes land-tied and submerged areas cut off on two or more sides by water, elevated land surrounded by a swamp or marsh, or isolated at high water or during floods, or any isolated and distinctive tract of land surrounded by terrain with other characteristics, The Times-Union reported.

As long as the wetland retains standing water, it qualifies as an island, one expert said.

"If they want to call it an island, it’s an island," said Michael Binford, chairman of the Department of Geography at the University of Florida.

And Clay County considers it an island, regardless of what the dictionary says, a local government official said in the story.