Habitats - Promo Large
  • Wet Prairie

    wet_prairie - Promo List

    Wet prairies are marsh communities with plants that break the surface of the water. These plants include beakrush and spikerush. Wet prairies have shallower water than sloughs. Plants include duck potato, pickerelweed, beakrushes, spikerushes, and redroot. In the wet season, aquatic animals are numerous. Fish, crayfish, and frogs serve as a food source for wading birds.

  • Sawgrass Ridge


    The Refuge encompasses part of the historical “River of Grass” that used to extend from the southern boundary of Lake Okeechobee and cover a vast expanse of the Everglades. Sawgrass ridges are found in dense strands in the Refuge. Actually, sawgrass is not a grass. It is a member of the sedge family. A ring of sawgrass often encircles tree islands, separating them from the wet prairie or slough. The sawgrass provides shelter for animals in and around the tree islands, and alligators may use areas of dense sawgrass to create their nests.

  • Slough

    sloughs - Promo List

    Sloughs are like veins of the Everglades. These channels range in depth from two inches to over two feet. The most common plants species in sloughs are white water lily and floating heart. Sloughs also include periphyton and submerged aquatic vegetation such as bladderwort. These areas provide habitat for large fish and turtles. Herons, egrets, and other wading birds hunt from slough edges.

  • Tree Island

    tree_islands - Promo List

    The Refuge is characterized with thousands of tree islands that range from less than one (1) acre to more than 300 acres. They are typically composed of an overstory of redbay and dahoon holly with wax myrtle, buttonbush, and cocoplum comprising a dense midstory and numerous ferns in the understory. Tree islands form when submerged peat patches rise to the water’s surface and small plants become established followed by shrubs and trees. Windblown herbaceous seeds germinate on the exposed peat and eventually woody vegetation grows on the edges and creates a tree island with a “doughnut shape.” A vast number of tree islands have been impacted by invasive exotic plants.

  • Cypress Swamp

    cypress_swamps - Promo List

    On the eastern edge of the Refuge, there is a 400-acre cypress swamp community which is composed of pond cypress trees, pond apple, myrsine, lichens, and ferns such as giant leather, sword, shield, strap, royal, resurrection, and swamp ferns. The moist microclimate of the cypress swamp also provides for a profusion of epiphytes (air plants), such as cardinal, giant, reflexed and twisted wild pine and Spanish moss. This cypress swamp is the largest remaining remnant of a community on the east side of the Everglades whose former range extended from Lake Okeechobee through Palm Beach and northern Broward counties, south to Fort Lauderdale (Lodge 1994).

  • Cattail Communities


    Cattail communities dominate large portions of the impoundments and have replaced much of the habitat found along the perimeter of the interior. Naturally growing cattails can be found surrounding wading bird colonies, roost tree islands, and alligator holes. Cattail often occurs in impounded, semi-permanently flooded, and/or nutrient-rich waters.