The St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1971 to protect threatened and endangered species and to specifically provide adequate habitat to recover the dusky seaside sparrow from extinction. In December 1990, the species was declared extinct and the critical habitat of St. Johns NWR was delisted. Despite the loss of the dusky seaside sparrow, at least 19 federal and state listed species are known to occur today at St. Johns NWR.
Today, the refuge is managed primarily through prescribed burning to maintain habitat for many species classified as threatened, endangered and species of special concern. The marsh savannah present is dominated by cordgrass, black-needle rush, gulf muhly and saw grass. The refuge provides habitat for the endangered wood stork and several threatened species including: indigo snakes, American alligator and crested caracara. Waterfowl use is limited to blue-winged teal and ring-necked ducks. Greater and lesser yellowlegs, blacknecked stilts and killdeer are also seen. Turkey and black vultures frequent the area, as well as occasional hawks. Assorted rabbits, raccoons and rodents can also be found.
Refuge Contact Information:
Merritt Island NWR
PO Box 2683
Titusville, FL 32781