News Releases

Help plan the future of Watermelon Pond Wildlife and Environmental Area

News Release

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291

Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: External Website

A 10-year plan for the Watermelon Pond Wildlife and Environmental Area will be presented at a public hearing in Alachua County on Thursday, Feb. 22.

People are invited to the 7 p.m. public hearing in the John R. “Jack” Durrance Auditorium (Room 209) of the Alachua County Administration Building, 12 SE First St., Gainesville.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff will present the draft land management plan Adobe PDF for the FWC-managed WEA, and people will be encouraged to comment and ask questions. For more information on the upcoming local public hearing, go to and select “Terrestrial” then “Management Plans (WMA).”

Located in southwest Alachua County, Watermelon Pond WEA has pastures, pinelands, hammocks and marsh that provide habitat for native wildlife such as the gopher tortoise, Bachman’s sparrow, Florida sandhill crane, southeastern American kestrel, Sherman’s fox squirrel and eastern indigo snake.

Outdoor enthusiasts at this WEA can enjoy wildlife viewing, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and picnicking.

 “Watermelon Pond WEA was purchased to ensure the conservation of fish and wildlife resources, other natural and cultural resources, and for fish- and wildlife-based public outdoor recreation,” said Lance Jacobson, FWC land conservation planner. “This draft plan will specify how we intend to do that.”

All lands purchased with public funds must have a management plan that ensures the property will be managed in a manner that is consistent with the intended purposes of the purchase. Hunting and fishing regulations are not included in this plan or meeting; those are addressed through a separate public process.

To obtain a copy of the land management prospectus for Watermelon Pond WEA, call Jessica Larimer at 850-487-7063 or email

For more information on management plans and their goals, visit and select “Terrestrial” then “Management Plans (WMA).”

For more on the Watermelon Pond WEA, go to and select “Wildlife Viewing” then “Wildlife Management Areas.”

FWC Facts:
Manatees can travel up to 50 miles in a day. They generally swim slowly but have been clocked at speeds of up to 15 mph for short bursts.

Learn More at AskFWC