Resource Management

Resrce Mngmnt 512W Hdr Pic_Wetland Management_ Refuge Manager Craig Sasser uses a rice field trunk to control wetland water flow

Refuge staff helps plants and wildlife by using various habitat management techniques to enhance, maintain or recover plant and wildlife values. Management techniques and their employment are carefully administered according to what is appropriate for each unique situation.


Wetland Management:
The Refuge manages a variety of wetland systems for the benefit of resident and migratory waterfowl, secretive marsh birds and other migratory birds.

 
Resrce Mngmnt 350W Longleaf Pine Restoration_ Prescribed fire

Longleaf Pine Restoration:
The Refuge has several longleaf pine (LLP) restoration sites. As land acquisition continues and opportunities arise, refuge staff will continue to prep sites and plant trees. The Refuge also partners with The Nature Conservancy to implement prescribe fire on Sandy Island. Each year hundreds of acres are burned in this old growth LLP stand to reduce fuel loads and improve habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

Invasive Species Management:
Invasive animals and plants seriously threaten the balance of native systems within the Refuge. Some of the invasives found on the Refuge are feral hogs, kudzu, Chinese privet and water hyacinth.

 

 Resrce Mngmnt 350W Feral hogs at the Visitor Center picnic area


Feral hogs are considered a threat to the biological integrity of the Refuge and reducing their numbers is a priority for Refuge management. They can harbor several infectious diseases, some of which may be fatal to native wildlife. Feral hogs degrade wildlife habitat by rooting and wallowing and damage includes erosion along waterways and wetlands and the loss of native plants. Additionally, feral hogs compete for food directly with native species, such as deer, bears, turkeys, squirrels, and many other birds and mammals. Furthermore, they are predators of reptiles, small mammals, and deer fawns, as well as ground-nesting birds such as turkeys. Hunting of feral hogs provides the Refuge with another management tool in reducing this detrimental species, and at the same time, is widely enjoyed by local hunters.

 

 Resource Management 350W_ Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) undergoing herbicide treatment

 
Two of the most important invasive upland plant species at the Refuge are kudzu and Chinese privet. Kudzu is native to Asia and was introduced to North America in the late 1800s for erosion control, although it is also used for ornamental purposes. This fast-growing vine is now widespread in the southeastern United States. It is difficult to eradicate because it reproduces both by seeds and roots.

Chinese privet was introduced from China and Europe in the early to mid-1800s for ornamental purposes. This shade-tolerant, aggressive shrub often forms dense thickets and colonizes by root sprouts and is spread profusely by faunal dispersed seeds.

Water hyacinth, a native of South America, was first introduced to the United States at the Cotton States Exposition in New Orleans in 1884. Since then, this free-floating herb has become widely naturalized in the southeast. Water hyacinth invades lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, and other wetland habitats. It reproduces mainly by vegetative means and can form dense floating mats of vegetation. These mats limit light penetration, reducing light availability for submerged plants and animals, and diminish oxygen levels.

Kudzu, Chinese privet and water hyacinth infestations are controlled through specific herbicide application and procedures.

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information on trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System.