About the Refuge

Big Eddy About Hdr Pic512W

The Refuge was established in 1989 to protect, maintain, and enhance the ecosystem of the Ocmulgee River floodplain. The Refuge currently consists of 7,764 acres situated along the fall line separating the piedmont from the coastal plains regions, and contains wetlands associated with the Ocmulgee River floodplain and some adjoining uplands.

Bond Swamp contains a great diversity of habitat types ranging from mixed hardwood/pine ridges to bottomland hardwoods and swamp forests mixed with creeks, beaver swamps and oxbow lakes. The original land was purchased through cooperative efforts of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy. Additional land purchase and Refuge operations were made possible through a partnership among the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Trust for Public Land and the Ocmulgee Heritage Greenway.

A River Runs Through It

The Ocmulgee River and its forests have been an important part of Macon's history and development. This region was important to Native Americans from Ice Age hunters to the Muscogee (Creeks) and Seminoles of historic times. Native Americans relied on the river and its surrounding forests for food, water, shelter and transportation for thousands of years before European settlers arrived in the area. When early European explorers and frontiersmen arrived, they traveled and traded along the river, and hunted and trapped in the forests along its banks. As European settlements in the area expanded, the forests were logged and mills operating along the river relied on it for both power and product transportation.

In recent years, the Macon area has experienced rapid development through residential and commercial expansion. To protect and manage the river corridor, concerned citizens along with local, state and federal government agencies initiated the Ocmulgee Heritage Greenway effort. Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is an important link in the Ocmulgee Heritage Greenway, which is working to protect the Ocmulgee River and its rich resources. The proposed Greenway will create an integrated system of scenic, historic and recreational resources along the Ocmulgee River for the public's enjoyment. Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge fills a vital role along the Greenway by providing a place for the conservation and management of the fish, wildlife, and plants of the Ocmulgee River ecosystem.