National Wildlife Refuge System

Scenic Views at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Scenic Views at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Scenic Views at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Scenic Views at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

 

About Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

 

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1937 to protect the ecological system of the 438,000-acre Okefenokee Swamp. Approximately 371,000 acres of the Okefenokee Swamp wetlands are incorporated into the refuge. Okefenokee is located in southeastern Georgia and northeastern Florida, as shown in green in the map to the right. Okefenokee NWR is comprised of eight predominant habitat types, including swamp islands, prairies (freshwater marsh), shrub swamp, mixed cypress forests, blackgum forests, bay forests, pure cypress forests, and managed upland pine forests.

 

Refuge Area and Class I Designation

  • In 1974, Congress designated 353,981 acres of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge as a wilderness area, declaring that the area should remain undeveloped and "unimpaired" for future generations.
  • In 1977, Congress further acknowledged the uniqueness of the Okefenokee Wilderness Area by naming it a Class I air quality area. As a wilderness area it is afforded special protection under the Clean Air Act.
  • Congress gave the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as the Federal Land Manager (FLM) of the Okefenokee Wilderness Area, the responsibility to protect the air quality and air quality related values (AQRVs) of the area from man-made air pollution. Despite this protection, many sources of man-made air pollution affect Okefenokee NWR including industry, power plants, and automobiles.
  • The FWS is working cooperatively with industry and the states of Georgia and Florida to reduce air pollutant emissions and protect the air quality and AQRVs of Okefenokee.
  • If Okefenokee NWR is not protected, unique wildlife and scenic values will be threatened or lost, as has happened in much of the eastern U.S. The FWS hopes to preserve and protect this special area of wilderness for future generations.

 

Learn more about air quality at Okefenokee

 

The FWS has begun a program to better understand air pollution causes and effects at Okefenokee. FWS monitors air quality in Okefenokee in partnership with three national programs. Atmospheric pollutants in rain are analyzed as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP - the "acid rain" program). Mercury in rain is analyzed as part of the nationwide Mercury Deposition Network (MDN). Fine particles, responsible for visibility impairment, are measured as part of the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program. Within this website are the resources to discover why air pollution poses a threat Okefenokee NWR and what the FWS is doing to prevent the deterioration of air quality in this pristine area.

  • Learn the basics of air quality - Air Quality
  • Understand what are the air quality related values - AQRV
  • Learn about how air quality can affect natural and scenic resources - Impacts
  • Find real time monitoring data and studies being performed at the refuge - Studies & Monitoring

 

 

Additional Information:
Regional Air Quality Information (as provided by NPS)
Okefenokee NWR Website
Okefenokee NWR 300km Radius Map (PDF 638KB)

Last updated: November 8, 2012