Resource Management

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To help plants and wildlife, refuge staff uses a variety of resource management techniques to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife values.


Habitat types at Harris Neck include salt marsh, mud flats, thickets, open fields, freshwater impoundments, and mixed pine-hardwood forest. Management is focused on six man-made impoundments utilized by the endangered wood stork and a variety of wading birds. Some of the ponds serve as rookery sites while others are maintained as feeding areas. Water levels are managed to attract wading birds in the spring and summer, and waterfowl in the winter.

Prescribed burning is conducted annually in the open fields to maintain grasslands/early succession for a variety of wildlife including butterflies, quail, and raptors. Several small food plots are planted each year for the benefit of resident deer and turkey populations. Deer and feral hog hunts are held annually to maintain a healthy deer population and reduce hog damage to dikes and habitat.

Several studies and censuses are conducted throughout the year including waterfowl, wading birds, and butterfly counts. The refuge contains one of the largest wood stork rookeries in the state and has experienced some of the best nest production because of availability of fresh and salt water feeding areas. The refuge was the first to construct artificial nesting structures (over 100) which were readily accepted and used by the storks. The success of this rookery has generated research which includes feeding and nesting studies, and involves banding and satellite telemetry.