Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area
Conserving the Nature of America
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Benefits to Wildlife
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This proposed project would focus on and help recover focal species in these areas by using scientific models, recovery plans, conservation management strategies, and long term monitoring. Below are the species the proposed refuge would focus on, although recovery efforts would not be limited to these species. Click the animal's name to learn more about it.

 

A florida panther in its habitat

Photo: USFWS.

Florida Panther (Federally Endangered)

A wide-ranging, highly endangered cat impacted by habitat fragmentation and potentially by climate change. The extensive areas of undeveloped longleaf pine flatwoods, scrub, and forested wetlands found within the study area represent high quality habitat for establishing and maintaining an alternative population outside of south Florida. Few panthers currently use this area, although one radiotelemetry marked male panther resided in the general vicinity of a few potential land acquisition parcels over the course of two years, indicating that this area would provide suitable habitat for an expanding panther population.

 

A black bear peeks through bushes

Photo: USFWS.

Florida Black Bear (State Threatened)

Considered an umbrella species for multiple imperiled plants and animals, this wide-ranging state-threatened mammal requires large areas of protected habitat. The study area contains large tracts of undeveloped scrub and forested wetland habitats that are becoming increasingly important for Florida black bears. An indication of the importance of the lands identified in this proposal is area is a radio-telemetry marked bear, first captured on Lake Wales Ridge NWR in 2009, which traversed and visited several of the areas under consideration for potential land acquisition during the ensuing seven months.

 

The face of a crested caracara

Photo: Joan Morrison.

Audubon's Crested Caracara (Federal/State Threatened)

The study area represents the northern range limit of the
species and the broad grassland savannas found within the study area are the last strongholds for this federal and state threatened bird and would serve as a population source for range expansion in the face of the impacts of global climate change.

 

A blue Florida scrub jay sits in a tree

Photo: USFWS.

Florida Scrub Jay (Federal/State Threatened)

The Everglades Headwaters Refuge would protect and restore important scrub habitat for this federal and state threatened species by linking and expanding existing scrub jay populations associated with Lake Wales Ridge.

 

A Florida grasshopper sparrow perched

Photo: Floridiannature.com.

Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Federally Endangered)

Critically imperiled, this federally endangered species is endemic to the dry prairie habitat of the Conservation Area. Potential land acquisition and easements would link existing populations found at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, Avon Air Force Park, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, and the Ordway- Whittell Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary.

 

A black snail kite sits in grass

Photo: USFWS.

Everglades Snail Kite (Federally Endangered)

Wetland restoration activity in the study area would greatly
improve and increase this species’ critical winter habitat, one of only a few strongholds for this species lying north of Lake Okeechobee.

 

Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Federally Endangered)

Patches of longleaf pine habitat in the proposed study area provide habitat for this federally endangered bird, and with potential to increase the amount of available habitat through conservation and restoration.

Photo: Kevin T. Karlson.

Migratory Waterfowl

Along with wetland and open water habitat that is extensively used by lesser scaup and northern pintail, the prairie wetlands surrounding Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River contain some of the State's highest densities of mottled ducks.

 

 

 

Wetland habitat
Wetlands in the Everglades are home to an assortment of birds, reptiles, fish, mammals and more. Photo: Debbie McCrensky, USFWS.

 

Dry prairie habitat
Dry prairie habitat is critically important for the Florida grasshopper sparrow and Audubon's crested caracara. Photo: FloridianNature.com

 


Often, when Florida panthers are found in central Florida, they are closely associated with flatwood habitats, like the above mesic flatwood habitat. Photo: Florida State Parks.

 

Last updated: January 18, 2012