Panama City Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America


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As surface water moves over Florida’s landscape, it drains into channels and forms a network of that stretch across the state. Rivers and streams transport sediment and nutrients that are essential for hundreds of plants and animals in various ecosystems.

The major rivers in the Florida Panhandle, from west to east, are the Perdido, Escambia, Blackwater, Yellow, Choctawhatchee, Econfina Creek, Apalachicola, Ochlockonee, St. Mark's and Aucilla.

The striking array of habitats, plants, fish, reptiles and amphibians in the Apalachicola River basin makes it one of the top six biodiversity “hot spots” in the United States.

Apalachicola River
Credit: Jerry Ziewitz
Okaloosa darter

Species found in rivers ecosystems

Okaloosa darters are characterized by the two fanlike dorsal fins and scarcely reach two inches in length.  They are found only in the Rocky Bayou and Boggy Bayou drainages in Okaloosa and Walton counties, where they inhabit vegetated sand runs of clear creeks.

Credit: Noel Burkhead

The bald cypress tree grows along many of Florida’s rivers. These trees can live for hundreds of years and are said to be the largest trees in North America east of the Rockies. They have “knees” that protrude above the soil and they lose their leaves in the winter, hence the “bald” cypress name.

Cypress trees
Credit: Hildreth Cooper




Last updated: April 17, 2018