Apalachicola River - Habitat and Management

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 Sweeping views of productive marshes are a signature feature of the Apalachicola River WEA.

Habitats

More About the Habitats at Apalachicola River WMA

Learn More About Florida Habitats

Habitats provide the food, water, shelter and space animals need to thrive and reproduce. Several types of natural communities provide habitat for fish and wildlife found at Apalachicola River. The river and its associated streams, marshes and floodplain forests provide habitat for a variety of sport and commercial fish populations. Apalachicola Bay produces over 90 percent of Florida's oysters and is a major nursery for blue crabs and marine fishes. Unique and outstanding habitat, including that of some rare and endangered plants and animals, is also found within the WEA.

 

Management

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Low water crossings such as this permit natural water flow while providing stable road surfaces for public access.

The upland plant communities of the Apalachicola River WEA were historically pine flatwoods with a much more open and grassy appearance than today. As a result of years of extensive agriculture, silviculture (tree farming) and hydrological alterations, much of the original pine flatwoods community was then converted to slash pine plantations where natural fires were suppressed. Now, commercial thinning, hydrologic restoration, invasive plant control, replanting of longleaf pine and reintroduction of a natural fire regime are underway to restore the natural vegetative communities and to enhance wildlife habitats. Several rare plant species occur on the property.

 The FWC works with the Florida Forest Service on the restoration of selected upland sites and with the Northwest Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on hydrological restoration. Some restoration has already occurred on the Saul Creek, Bloody Bluff, Sand Beach and Quinn tracts.

 A 40-acre dove field on the western side of the area is planted annually with millet and other grain crops to provide dove hunting opportunities.

 In addition to the management work described here, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rely on a wide range of techniques (link to management at work page) to ensure that natural areas throughout the state stay healthy for wildlife and inviting to visitors.

Recreation Master Plan Adobe PDF

Management Plan Adobe PDF



FWC Facts:
The Wall Street Journal has ranked the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival of Brevard County as the third-best birding festival in the United States.

Learn More at AskFWC