About the Refuge

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Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge lies in an area that is one of the great grassland and savanna landscapes of eastern North America. Still largely rural, this Greater Everglades area is a mosaic of seasonally wet grasslands, longleaf pine savannas, and cattle ranches that sustains one of the most important assemblages of imperiled vertebrate wildlife in the southeast U.S. and a large portion of the unprotected natural habitat remaining in peninsular Florida.

The Refuge and Conservation Area were established to help:

  • Protect, restore and conserve important habitat for 88 federal and state listed species and state Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), including Florida panther, Florida black bear, Audubon’s crested caracara, Florida scrub jay, Florida grasshopper sparrow, red-cockaded woodpecker, whooping crane, Everglades snail kite, wood stork, and Eastern indigo snake (learn more about these animals on the Benefits to Wildlife page)
  • Protect, restore, and conserve exemplary habitats such as wet and dry prairie, Florida sandhill and scrub, scrubby and mesic flatwoods, and multiple wetland types including cutthroat seepage slope wetlands;
  • Protect, restore, and conserve the headwaters, groundwater recharge and watershed of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee region, which will improve water quantity and quality in the Everglades watershed, complementing the work of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and protecting the water supply for millions of people;
  • Protect and enhance habitat corridors and implement other wildlife adaptation strategies to buffer the impacts of climate change; and
  • Protect a working rural landscape, where local communities, ranching and agricultural interests, the Service, and its partners would conserve natural resources and provide opportunities for compatible outdoor recreation and educational opportunities, while preserving the economic and cultural benefits provided by ranching.