Wildlife and Habitat Management
When compared with the six other refuges in the Complex, Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge lies at the lowest elevation (75 to 100 feet mean sea level). As a result, habitat management is challenged by regular flood events, and wet conditions throughout most of the year. Habitat management programs are implemented to meet conservation objectives for migratory and resident wildlife, as well as native plant communities. Forest management includes selective harvesting to ensure a healthy, viable forest, and reforestation on marginally productive croplands with indigenous tree species. Refuge croplands are managed to provide diverse habitat types and “hot” foods for migratory waterfowl.
Seasonally flooded impoundments, or moist-soil units, provide feeding and resting areas for waterfowl and shorebirds, while acting as “filters” to improve surface and groundwater quality. Public hunting for various game species helps manage wildlife populations at healthy levels and provides excellent recreational opportunities.
The Corps of Engineers (COE) owns 7,067 acres within the acquisition boundary of the refuge, primarily in the Big Twist area. These lands were set aside as bottomland hardwood forest mitigation for the Corps’ Upper Yazoo Basin Project, and as such the entire tract must be maintained in bottomland hardwood habitat. A perpetual agreement between the COE and Fish & Wildlife Service assigns the Fish & Wildlife Service with management responsibilities for the Big Twist area.