St. John's National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Welcome to St. Johns NWR


SIZE: 6,194 acres
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

There is no public access to St. Johns NWR.



The St. Johns NWR was established in 1971 to provide protection for threatened and endangered species and native diversity. The primary purpose of the Refuge relates to threatened and endangered species and applies to all lands and waters managed as part of St. Johns NWR.

" conserve (A) fish or wildlife which are listed as endangered species or threatened species...or (B) plants..."

16 USC 1534, Endangered Species Act

A secondary purpose focuses more on native diversity and also applies to a few tracts of the Refuge.

"...conservation, management, and restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans..."

16 USC 668dd(a)(2), National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act

The St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge, located off highway 50 just west of Titusville, was established to protect threatened and endangered species and to specifically provide adequate habitat to recover the dusky seaside sparrow from extinction as directed by The Dusky Seaside Sparrow Recovery Plan. Channelization, interbasin diversion, and other flood control projects had significantly altered the habitat of the sparrow over the years and its numbers declined since its discovery in 1872. In 1967, the dusky was listed as Endangered by the Department of the Interior. In December 1990, the species was declared extinct and the critical habitat of St. Johns NWR was delisted.


The initial primary objective for St. Johns NWR was to restore the marsh to its original condition through prescribed burning and marsh restoration. The area has been closed to the public from the establishment date to eliminate human disturbance and provide habitat for its resident species. The habitat is currently managed for biodiversity through prescribed burning. A black rail research project initiated in 1992 concluded in 1996. The area currently has a healthy population of this very secretive species. Refuge management activities continue to focus on the application of prescribed fire to maintain and manage healthy habitats.


For additional information on St. Johns NWR, contact the Refuge Complex headquarters at (321) 861-0667 or write to:
Merritt Island NWR
P.O. Box 2683
Titusville, Florida 32781

Last Updated: 4/13/2015