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THE

IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS


OF FLORIDA

BILL PRANTY
Edited by Reed F. Noss and Sumita Singh

SPECIAL PUBLICATION NO. 8


Florida Ornithological Society
Permanent address:
Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611

In cooperation with
Audubon of Florida
444 Brickell Avenue, Suite 850
Miami, Florida 33131
Copyright 2010, Audubon of Florida

This book is dedicated


to the memories of

Richard T. Paul
(19462005)
Audubon sanctuary manager

and

Glen E. Woolfenden
(19302007)
Former president of the
American Ornithologists Union
and of the
Florida Ornithological Society

The draining of the Everglades in the 1930s began an era of rampant growth in Florida. Since the 1950s, Floridas
population has risen at an annual rate of approximately four percent. In the past 50 years, more than eight million
acres of forest and wetland habitats (about 24 percent of the state) have been developed.
History of Floridas Conservation Efforts (Anonymous, Florida Department of Environmental Protection).
Take ... 1500 acres of farm or forest, divide it into 300 lots, dig 300 wells, plant one septic tank on each plot, and
add a home for three people. You will have accommodated just one days worth of immigrants to Florida.
Problems, Prospects, and Strategies for Conservation by Ronald L. Myers and John J. Ewel in Ecosystems of
Florida (Myers and Ewel 1990)
Florida is a unique former-paradise, engulfed in monumental change. The Seminoles knew it as an unbroken mosaic
of wetlands, scrubs, seashores, prairies, and steamy forests. Mammoth oaks, palms, cypress, and mahoganys were
laced together from the panhandle to the keys by a nearly continuous forest of stately pines. A subtropical peninsula
attached to an arctic continent, Florida served for eons as a prolific reservoir of biological diversity. ... Today ... the
huge trees are gone. Wetlands are levied or drained, prairie grasses are replaced by domestic forage crops, and
almost every inch of seashore can be viewed from an upper-story window. The visual and biological impacts of
explosive human immigration dominate the landscape. As of 1990, Florida harbors eight of the ten fastest growing
cities in the United States. Growth of Floridas human population seems destined to proceed in permanent fastforward. Birds will either adjust to the new human landscape or they will continue to perish in our wake.
Foreword by John W. Fitzpatrick in Florida Bird Records in American Birds and Audubon Field Notes, 1947
1989 (Loftin et al. 1991)
It all began with one man and one boat, protecting pelicans on a tiny five-acre island in Florida. From that humble
beginning arose the worlds largest and most diverse network of lands dedicated to the protection and management
of a vast array of wildlife. Americas national wildlife refuges now [encompass] more than 93 million acres on
more than 500 refuges. In 1903, Pelican Island became the center of an epic battle between conservationists and
feather hunters. After years of relentless slaughter, many of our most majestic birds were at the brink of
[extirpation]. Pelican Island was the last breeding ground for Brown Pelicans along the entire east coast of Florida
and it was here that a stand was made. Urged on by a German immigrant named Paul Kroegel, many prominent
people rallied around this small island to spearhead the protection of the last remaining areas vital to the survival of
wildlife. Under the leadership of President Theodore Roosevelt, wildlife protection became a national interest, and
for the first time, was based on wildlifes intrinsic worth rather than its utilitarian value. With the stroke of a pen, on
March 14, 1903, Teddy Roosevelt set in motion a commitment to the preservation of our wildlife heritage, and, in
so doing, prevented many species from certain extinction.
Introduction to Pelican Island: Honoring a Legacy (USFWS 1999a)
Just as we now blame past generations for the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, and Ivorybilled Woodpecker, future Floridians will ultimately hold our generation responsible for the manner in which we
conserve the species and natural resources we inherited. Perhaps the greatest insult we could ever bear would be to
document the problems that threaten some of Floridas rarest plants and animals, propose solutions to these
problems, and then fail to act with proper speed and resolve.
Foreword by James Cox, Randy Kautz, Maureen McLaughlin, and Terry Gilbert (1994) of Closing the Gaps in
Floridas Wildlife Habitat Conservation System (Cox et al. 1994)

For Holly, with gratitude

TABLE OF CONTENTS
[I cant explain the discrepancy between bold-facing/no bold-facing in the entries]
ALPHABETICAL LISTING OF FLORIDA IBAs .................................................................................................. 8
NON-PRIVATE OWNERS OR MANAGERS OF LANDS WITHIN FLORIDA IBAs ....................................... 9
Federal Government ..................................................................................................................................................9
State Government ...................................................................................................................................................... 9
County and Municipal Governments ....................................................................................................................... 10
Conservation Organizations..................................................................................................................................... 11
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................................................................................................................... 12
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................................................... 16
BACKGROUND OF THE IBA PROGRAM .......................................................................................................... 17
IBAS AND PRIVATE PROPERTY................................................................................................................................. 18
THE IMPORTANT BIRDING AREAS PROGRAM.................................................................................................... 18
METHODS................................................................................................................................................................. 18
SITE SELECTION...................................................................................................................................................... 18
CATEGORY 1: SIGNIFICANT POPULATIONS OF ENDANGERED OR THREATENED BIRDS. .................................. 18
CATEGORY 2: SIGNIFICANT POPULATIONS OF OTHER BIRDS OF CONSERVATION PRIORITY. .......................... 19
CATEGORY 3: SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF BIRDS OR EXCEPTIONAL SPECIES RICHNESS. ................................. 20
CATEGORY 4: SITES WITH SIGNIFICANT NATURAL HABITATS. ......................................................................... 20
CATEGORY 5: SITES THAT SUPPORT LONG-TERM AVIAN RESEARCH. ............................................................... 21
AVIAN DATA ............................................................................................................................................................ 21
DATA PRESENTATION ............................................................................................................................................. 21
MAP PRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................................. 23
FLORIDA HABITATS ............................................................................................................................................. 23
LAND ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA ............................................................................ 28
SITE NOMINATION PROCESS ............................................................................................................................ 30
RESULTS ................................................................................................................................................................... 30
NOMINATIONS ......................................................................................................................................................... 30
SITE-SELECTION ..................................................................................................................................................... 31
Threats ..................................................................................................................................................................... 31
LIMITATIONS OF THE IBA PROGRAM ................................................................................................................ 35
FLORIDA IBAs BY COUNTY ................................................................................................................................ 37
THE IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF FLORIDA ................................................................................................ 42
WESTERN PANHANDLE ....................................................................................................................................... 43
1. BAY COUNTY BEACHES............................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
2. BLACKWATER RIVER STATE FOREST ................................................................................................... 45
3. EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE .............................................................................................................................. 46
4. GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE ................................................................................................... 47
5. ST. JOSEPH BAY ............................................................................................................................................. 48
6. WALTON COUNTY BEACHES ..................................................................................................................... 51
EASTERN PANHANDLE ........................................................................................................................................ 53
7. APALACHICOLA RIVER AND FORESTS .................................................................................................. 54
8. DOG ISLANDLANARK REEF ..................................................................................................................... 55
9. GREATER APALACHICOLA BAY .............................................................................................................. 57
10. LAKE LAFAYETTE....................................................................................................................................... 60
11. RED HILLS ECOSYSTEM ............................................................................................................................ 61
12. ST. MARKS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ........................................................................................ 62
NORTHERN PENINSULA ...................................................................................................................................... 64
13. ALACHUA LAKES......................................................................................................................................... 65
14. BIG BEND ECOSYSTEM .............................................................................................................................. 66
15. CAMP BLANDINGJENNINGS ................................................................................................................... 69
16. DUVAL AND NASSAU TIDAL MARSHES ................................................................................................ 70
17. FORT GEORGE AND TALBOT ISLANDS ................................................................................................ 71
18. GOETHE STATE FOREST ........................................................................................................................... 73
19. GUANA RIVER ............................................................................................................................................... 74

20. HUGUENOT PARKNASSAU SOUND ....................................................................................................... 75


21. ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK ................................................................................................. 77
22. KANAPAHA PRAIRIE .................................................................................................................................. 78
23. LAKE DISSTON ............................................................................................................................................. 78
24. MATANZAS INLET AND RIVER ................................................................................................................ 79
25. NORTHERN ATLANTIC MIGRANT STOPOVER ................................................................................... 80
26. OCALA NATIONAL FORESTLAKE GEORGE ...................................................................................... 83
27. OSCEOLA NATIONAL FORESTOKEFENOKEE SWAMP .................................................................. 85
28. PAYNES PRAIRIE PRESERVE STATE PARK ......................................................................................... 86
29. SAN FELASCO HAMMOCK PRESERVE STATE PARK........................................................................ 87
CENTRAL PENINSULA.......................................................................................................................................... 89
30. AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGEBOMBING RANGE RIDGE........................................................... 94
31. BREVARD SCRUB ECOSYSTEM ............................................................................................................... 96
32. BRIGHT HOUR WATERSHED ................................................................................................................... 97
33. BUCK ISLAND RANCH ................................................................................................................................ 99
34. CAPE CANAVERALMERRITT ISLAND ............................................................................................... 100
35. CENTRAL PASCO ....................................................................................................................................... 102
36. CHASSAHOWITZKAWEEKIWACHEE ................................................................................................ 104
37. CITRUS COUNTY SPOIL ISLANDS ......................................................................................................... 106
38. CLEARWATER HARBORST. JOSEPH SOUND ................................................................................... 107
39. COASTAL PASCO ....................................................................................................................................... 108
40. COCKROACH BAYTERRA CEIA .......................................................................................................... 110
41. CRYSTAL RIVER TIDAL MARSHES ...................................................................................................... 112
42. DISNEY WILDERNESS PRESERVE ........................................................................................................ 113
43. DOGLEG KEY .............................................................................................................................................. 114
44. EMERALDA MARSH .................................................................................................................................. 114
45. GREEN SWAMP ECOSYSTEM ................................................................................................................. 115
46. GULF ISLANDS GEOPARK ....................................................................................................................... 117
47. HIGHLANDS HAMMOCK STATE PARKCHARLIE CREEK ........................................................... 119
48. HILLSBOROUGH BAY ............................................................................................................................... 120
49. KISSIMMEE LAKE AND RIVER .............................................................................................................. 122
50. KISSIMMEE PRAIRIE PRESERVE STATE PARK................................................................................ 126
51. LAKE APOPKA NORTH SHORE RESTORATION AREA ................................................................... 127
52. LAKE HANCOCKUPPER PEACE RIVER ............................................................................................. 129
53. LAKE ISTOKPOGA ..................................................................................................................................... 131
54. LAKE JESSUP .............................................................................................................................................. 132
55. LAKE MARY JANEUPPER ECON MOSAIC ........................................................................................ 133
56. LAKE TOHOPEKALIGA ............................................................................................................................ 134
57. LAKE WALES RIDGE ................................................................................................................................ 135
58. LAKE WOODRUFF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ........................................................................ 138
59. LOWER TAMPA BAY ................................................................................................................................. 139
60. MYAKKA RIVER WATERSHED ................................................................................................................. 142
61. NORTH LIDO BEACHPALMER POINT................................................................................................ 144
62. ORLANDO WETLANDS PARK ................................................................................................................. 145
63. OSCAR SCHERER STATE PARK ............................................................................................................. 146
64. OSCEOLA FLATWOODS AND PRAIRIES ............................................................................................. 147
65. PELICAN ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE .......................................................................... 149
66. ST. JOHNS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ........................................................................................ 150
67. ST. SEBASTIAN RIVER PRESERVE STATE PARK.............................................................................. 150
68. SARASOTA AND ROBERTS BAYS .......................................................................................................... 151
69. J.B. STARKEY WILDERNESS PARK....................................................................................................... 122
70. TURKEY CREEK SANCTUARY ............................................................................................................... 152
71. UPPER ST. JOHNS RIVER BASIN ............................................................................................................ 153
72. VOLUSIA COUNTY COLONY ISLANDS ................................................................................................ 154
73. WEKIVAOCALA GREENWAY ............................................................................................................... 155
74. WEKIWA BASIN GEOPARK ..................................................................................................................... 156

75. WILLIAM BEARDALL TOSOHATCHEE STATE RESERVE ............................................................. 158


76. WITHLACOOCHEEPANASOFFKEEBIG SCRUB ............................................................................. 159
77. WITHLACOOCHEE STATE FOREST (Citrus and Croom tracts) ........................................................ 160
SOUTHERN PENINSULA ..................................................................................................................................... 162
78. ABC ISLANDS .............................................................................................................................................. 163
79. BABCOCKWEBB ECOSYSTEM ............................................................................................................. 163
80. BIG CYPRESS SWAMP WATERSHED .................................................................................................... 165
81. BIG MARCO PASS SHOAL ........................................................................................................................ 167
82. BISCAYNE BAY ........................................................................................................................................... 167
83. CAYO COSTAPINE ISLAND ................................................................................................................... 169
84. CORKSCREW SWAMP WATERSHED .................................................................................................... 170
85. EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK ........................................................................................................... 172
86. FISHEATING CREEK WATERSHED ...................................................................................................... 173
87. J.N. DING DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE .................................................................. 175
88. LAKE OKEECHOBEE ................................................................................................................................ 176
89. LITTLE ESTERO LAGOON....................................................................................................................... 178
90. LOXAHATCHEE RIVER AND SLOUGH ................................................................................................ 179
91. NORTHERN EVERGLADES ...................................................................................................................... 180
92. ROOKERY BAY NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE .................................................. 182
93. SANIBEL LIGHTHOUSE PARK ............................................................................................................... 184
94. SOUTHERN ATLANTIC MIGRANT STOPOVER ................................................................................. 185
95. TEN THOUSAND ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE .......................................................... 186
FLORIDA KEYS ..................................................................................................................................................... 189
96. DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK ....................................................................................................... 190
97. FLORIDA KEYS HAMMOCKS ................................................................................................................. 191
98. GREAT WHITE HERON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ............................................................... 194
99. KEY WEST NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE ....................................................................................... 194
100. PELICAN SHOAL ...................................................................................................................................... 196
Table 1. Significant (1%) population sizes of Category 1 or Category 2 species or subspecies. ............................... 197
Table 2. The 17 most species-rich IBAs in Florida, arranged in descending numeric order. .................................... 199
Table 3. Approximate statewide totals of listed species supported by IBAs. ............................................................ 200
Table 4. Florida IBAs with at least 35% of acreage privately owned, ranked hierarchically. ................................... 201
Table 5. Site-selection criteria met by each IBA in Florida....................................................................................... 202
APPENDIX 1: SELECTED SITES NOT ACCEPTED AS IBAs ............................................................................. 206
APPENDIX 2: ENGLISH AND SCIENTIFIC NAMES OF ALL BIRDS ......................................................... 208
LITERATURE CITED .............................................................................................................................................. 213

ALPHABETICAL LISTING OF FLORIDA IBAs


ABC Islands
Alachua Lakes
Apalachicola River and Forests
Avon Park Air Force RangeBombing Range Ridge
BabcockWebb Ecosystem
Bay County Beaches
Big Bend Ecosystem
Big Cypress Swamp Watershed
Big Marco Pass Shoal
Biscayne Bay
Blackwater River State Forest
Brevard Scrub Ecosystem
Bright Hour Watershed
Buck Island Ranch
Camp BlandingJennings
Cape CanaveralMerritt Island
Cayo CostaPine Island
Central Pasco
ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee
Citrus County Spoil Islands
Clearwater HarborSt. Joseph Sound
Coastal Pasco
Cockroach BayTerra Ceia
Corkscrew Swamp Watershed
Crystal River Tidal Marshes
Disney Wilderness Preserve
Dog IslandLanark Reef
Dogleg Key
Dry Tortugas National Park
Duval and Nassau Tidal Marshes
Eglin Air Force Base
Emeralda Marsh
Everglades National Park
Fisheating Creek Watershed
Florida Keys Hammocks
Fort George and Talbot Islands
Goethe State Forest
Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge
Greater Apalachicola Bay
Green Swamp Ecosystem
Guana River
Gulf Islands GEOpark
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Highlands Hammock State ParkCharlie Creek
Hillsborough Bay
Huguenot ParkNassau Sound
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park
J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Kanapaha Prairie

Key West National Wildlife Refuge


Kissimmee Lake and River
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area
Lake Disston
Lake HancockUpper Peace River
Lake Istokpoga
Lake Jessup
Lake Lafayette
Lake Mary JaneUpper Econ Mosaic
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Tohopekaliga
Lake Wales Ridge
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
Little Estero Lagoon
Lower Tampa Bay
Loxahatchee River and Slough
Matanzas Inlet and River
Myakka River Watershed
North Lido BeachPalmer Point
Northern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
Northern Everglades
Ocala National ForestLake George
Orlando Wetlands Park
Oscar Scherer State Park
Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies
Osceola National ForestOkefenokee Swamp
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pelican Shoal
Red Hills Ecosystem
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge
St. Joseph Bay
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
Sanibel Lighthouse Park
Sarasota and Roberts Bays
Southern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Upper St. Johns River Basin
Volusia County Colony Islands
Walton County Beaches
WekivaOcala Greenway
Wekiwa Basin GEOpark
William Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve
WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub
Withlacoochee State Forest

NON-PRIVATE OWNERS OR MANAGERS OF LANDS WITHIN FLORIDA IBAs

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island
National Wildlife Refuge
National Estuarine Research Reserve: Rookery Bay
National Forest: Apalachicola, Ocala, Osceola
National Monument: Fort Matanzas
National Seashore: Canaveral, Gulf Islands
National Park: Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, Everglades
National Preserve: Big Cypress
National Wildlife Refuge: Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee, Cedar Keys, Chassahowitzka, Crocodile
Lake, Egmont Key, Florida Panther, Great White Heron, J.N. Ding Darling, Key West, Lake Wales
Ridge, Lake Woodruff, Lower Suwannee, Merritt Island, National Key Deer, Okefenokee, Passage
Key, Pelican Island, Pine Island, Pinellas, St. Johns, St. Marks, St. Vincent, Ten Thousand Islands
Natural Resources Conservation Service: Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Citrus County Spoil Islands, Huguenot Memorial Park
U.S. Coast Guard: Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, Smyrna Dunes Park
U.S. Department of Defense: Avon Park Air Force Range, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Eglin Air
Force Base, Eglin Air Force Base Test Site, Tyndall Air Force Base
U.S. Department of Transportation: Smyrna Dunes Park
Other: Kingsley Plantation, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
STATE GOVERNMENT
Aquatic Preserve: Nassau RiverSt. Johns River Marshes, St. Martins Marsh, Tomoka Marsh
Critical Wildlife Area: ABC Islands, Alafia Bank, Big Marco Pass Shoal, Crooked Island, Huguenot
Memorial Park, Little Estero Lagoon, Nassau Sound Bird Islands, Pelican Shoal, Rookery Bay
Colony, St. George Island causeway
Department of Transportation: St. George Island causeway
Fish Management Area: Tenoroc
Military Training Site: Cape Blanding
Northwest Florida Water Management District: Apalachicola River Water Management Area
St. Johns River Water Management District: Blue Cypress Conservation Area, Bull Creek Wildlife
Management Area, Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area, Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area, Fort
Drum Marsh Conservation Area, Fox Lake Tract, Gum Root Swamp, Jennings State Forest, Lake
Apopka North Shore Restoration Area, Lake George Conservation Area, Lake Jesup, Lake Woodruff
National Wildlife Refuge, Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area, Moses Creek Conservation Area,
Prairie Creek, Pumpkin Creek Preserve State Park, Ranch Reserve, River Lakes Conservation Area,
St. Sebastian River Buffer Preserve State Park, Seminole Ranch Conservation Area, Three Forks
Marsh Conservation Area, Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Area
South Florida Water Management District: Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge, Corkscrew
Regional Ecosystem Watershed, Dupuis Management Area, East Coast Buffer, Everglades and Francis
S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, Everglades Buffer Strip North, Kissimmee Chain of Lakes,
Kissimmee River Tract, Loxahatchee Slough, PalMar, Southern Glades, Stormwater Treatment
Areas, Sumica/Lake Walk-In-The-Water Tract, Talisman Property
Southwest Florida Water Management District: Bright Hour Watershed, Chassahowitzka River and
Coastal Swamps, Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area, Fillman Bayou Preserve, Flying Eagle, Green
Swamp Wilderness Preserve, Gum Slough, Hlpata Tastanaki Preserve, J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park,

10

Jack Creek, Lake Panasoffkee Preserve, Myakka River State Park, Myakka River Watershed,
Panasoffkee Outlet Tract, Potts Preserve, Weekiwachee Preserve, Withlacoochee State Forest (TwoMile Prairie Tract)
State Buffer Preserve: Cockroach Bay, St. Joseph Bay, Terra Ceia
State Forest: Blackwater River, Goethe, Jennings, Lake George, Lake Wales Ridge, Myakka, Picayune
Strand, Ross Prairie, Seminole, Tates Hell, Withlacoochee
State Park: Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve, Anastasia, Anclote Key Preserve, Atlantic
Ridge Preserve, Bahia Honda, Big Lagoon, Big Talbot Island, Bill Baggs Cape Florida, Caladesi
Island, Cayo Costa, CollierSeminole, Crystal River Preserve, Curry Hammock, Dagny Johnson Key
Largo Hammock Botanical, Deer Lake, Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island, Fakahatchee Strand
Preserve, FaverDykes, Fort Clinch, Fort George Island Cultural, Guana River, Highlands Hammock,
Honeymoon Island, Hugh Taylor Birch, Ichetucknee Springs, John Pennekamp Coral Reef, John U.
Lloyd Beach, Jonathan Dickinson, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve, Lake Arbuckle, Lake June-In-Winter
Scrub, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Louisa, Little Talbot Island, Long Key, Lower Wekiva River Preserve,
Myakka River, Oscar Scherer, Paynes Prairie Preserve, Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve, San Felasco
Hammock Preserve, St. Andrews, St. Sebastian River Preserve, T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph
Peninsula, Tomoka Basin GEOpark, Topsail Hill Preserve, Waccasassa Bay Preserve, Washington
Oaks Gardens, Wekiwa Springs, WernerBoyce Salt Springs
State Recreation and Conservation Area: Cross Florida Greenway
State Reserve: Cape St. George, Cedar Key Scrub, Rock Springs Run, William Beardall Tosohatchee
Water Conservation Area: 2, 3
Wildlife and Environmental Area: Apalachicola River, Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed,
Florida Keys, Frog Pond, Lake Placid, Little Gator Creek, Platt Branch Mitigation Park, Southern
Glades, Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park
Wildlife Management Area: Big Bend, Blackwater, Bull Creek, Chassahowitzka, Everglades and
Francis S. Taylor, Fisheating Creek, Fred C. BabcockCecil M. Webb, Guana River, Half Moon,
Hilochee, Holey Land, J.W. Corbett, Rotenberger, Tates Hell, Three Lakes, Triple N Ranch
State Lands, Miscellaneous: ABC Islands, Babcock Ranch Preserve, Big Marco Pass, Bird Island,
Cortez Key Bird Sanctuary, Dogleg Key, Dot-Dash Colony, Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, Huguenot
Memorial Park, Kissimmee River, Lake Disston, Lake Hancock, Lake Istokpoga, Lake Kissimmee,
Lake Lafayette, Lake Mary Jane, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Tohopekaliga, Lanark Reef, Marker 6
Island, Marker 10 Island, Marker 26 Island, Micco Scrub Sanctuary, Nassau Sound Bird Islands, Peace
River, Prairie Creek Conservation Area, Robert Crown Wilderness Area, Roberts Bay Colony, Spring
Hammock Preserve, The Deering Estate at Cutler, Three Rooker Island, Yent Bayou
COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS
Brevard County: Batchelor Tract, Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary, Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, Jordan
Boulevard Tract, Malabar Scrub Sanctuary, Micco Scrub Sanctuary, North Rockledge Sanctuary,
South Babcock/Ten Mile Ridge, Tico Scrub Sanctuary, Valkaria Scrub Sanctuary
City of Boca Raton: Spanish River Park
City of Clearwater: I-25 Island
City of Fort Meade: Fort Meade Recreation Area
City of Fort Myers Beach: Little Estero Lagoon
City of Gainesville: Gum Root Park
City of New Port Richey: Robert K. Rees Park
City of Orlando: Orlando Wetlands Park
City of Palm Bay: Turkey Creek Sanctuary
City of Sanibel: Sanibel Lighthouse Park
City of Sarasota: Palmer Point Park
City of West Palm Beach: Grassy Waters Preserve

11

Hillsborough County: Cockroach Bay ELAPP, E.G. Simmons Park, Wolf Branch ELAPP
Miami-Dade County: The Deering Estate at Cutler, Matheson Hammock Park
Orange County: Moss Park, Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park
Osceola County: Lake Lizzie Nature Preserve, Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park
Palm Beach County: Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area, Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area
Pasco County: Eagle Point Park, Key Vista Nature Park, Pasco Palms Park, Robert K. Rees Park
Pinellas County: Al-Bar Ranch, Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield, Fort De Soto Park, Shell Key Preserve
Polk County: Circle-B Bar Reserve, IMCAgrico Peace River Park, Saddle Creek Park, Sumica/Lake
Walk-in-the-Water Tract
Sarasota County: North Lido Beach, Palmer Point Park, Pinelands Reserve, T. Mabry Carleton, Jr.
Memorial Reserve
Seminole County: Lake Jesup Wilderness Area, Spring Hammock Preserve
Volusia County: Lake George Conservation Area, Smyrna Dunes Park
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Archbold Expeditions, Inc.: Archbold Biological Station
Audubon of Florida/National Audubon: Alafia Bank, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Lake Okeechobee
Sanctuaries, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Saddle Creek Sanctuary, Turkey
Creek Sanctuary, Washburn Sanctuary
Deering Estate Foundation: The Deering Estate at Cutler
John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation: Buck Island Ranch
Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy: Tall Timbers Research Station
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida: Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Nature Conservancy: Apthorpe Preserve, Carter Creek, Catfish Creek, Disney Wilderness Preserve,
Holmes Avenue, Jeff Lewis Wilderness Preserve, Saddle Blanket Lakes Preserve, Tiger Creek
Preserve

12

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book is the product of the efforts of dozens of individuals representing federal, state, and local
government agencies, non-governmental conservation and scientific organizations, and private citizens.
The Important Bird Areas of Florida represents a cooperative effort to identify, preserve, and properly
manage those sites deemed most critical for maintaining the richness, abundance, and distribution of the
native avifauna of Florida.
To give the Florida IBA Program strong scientific credibility, an advisory committee composed
of some of the states leading ornithologists and conservation biologists was formed. Four committee
members were from Audubon while the remaining seven were affiliated with other conservation agencies
or organizations, and one university. This IBA Executive Committee assisted with development of the
site selection criteria and was responsible for designation of the Important Bird Areas of Florida.
Members of the committee and their professional affiliations during 20002002 were: Gianfranco Basili
(St. Johns River Water Management District), Reed Bowman (Archbold Biological Station), Jim Cox
(Tall Timbers Research Station), Frances James (Florida State University), Mark Kraus (Audubon of
Florida), Katy NeSmith (Florida Natural Areas Inventory), Ann Paul (Audubon of Florida), the late Rich
Paul (formerly Audubon of Florida), Bill Pranty (Coordinator; Audubon of Florida), George Wallace
(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), and the late Glen Woolfenden (formerly Archbold
Biological Station). The late William B. Robertson, Jr. had also agreed to serve on the committee, but
passed away before its first meeting. I am greatly honored that many of Floridas leading ornithologists
considered the IBA Program sufficiently important to have offered their time and advice so readily.
An equally vital group of individuals nominated sites for consideration as IBAs. These
individuals have my sincere gratitude for the assistance they provided; those marked with an asterisk (*)
nominated multiple sites: Beverly Anderson, Allison Baker, *Gian Basili, *Sonny Bass, Steve Bass, *Ted
Below, Shane Belson, Gail Bishop, Lianne Bishop, Seth Blitch, Brian Braudis, *Roger Clark, *Sam Cole,
Sandy Cook, Jim Cox, Scott Crosby, Steven Dale, Mike DelGrosso, Teresa Downey, Terry Doyle,
Charles DuToit, Nancy Dwyer, Erik Egensteiner, Justin Ellenberger, Susan Epps, *Charlie Ewell, Judy
Fisher, Cathy Flegel, Monica Folk, Liz Golden, Mark Graham, Paul Gray, Bruce Hagedorn, Jim Higgins,
Shirley and William Hills, Deborah Jansen, *Dale Henderson, Harry Kelton, Mark Kraus, Jerry
Krummrich, Ed Kwater, Patrick Leary, Mike Legare, Thom Lewis, Manny Lopez, Laura Lowery,
Andrew Mackie, Joy Marburger, *Mike McMillian, Doug McNair, Cynthia Meketa, Stefani Melvin,
Mary Beth Mihalik, J.B. Miller, Jane Monaghan, Ann Moore, Vince Morris, Rosi Mulholland, *Stephen
Nesbitt, Katy NeSmith, Terry OToole, Richard Owen, Tom Palmer, *Ann Paul, the late *Rich Paul, Pat
Pazara, Charlie Pedersen, Kwami Pennick, Belinda Perry, Gary Popotnik, Peggy Powell, *Bill Pranty, the
late Arnold Rawson, Joe Reinman, Sharon Robbins, Christa Rogers, Jayde Roof, *Rex Rowan, Sean
Rowe, Petra Royston, Charles Sample, Scott Savery, Rick Sawicki, Mark Sees, *Celeste Shitama, Jerry
Shrewsbury, David Simpson, Ileana and Glenn Sisson, Ed Slaney, *Parks Small, *Gary Sprandel, J.B.
Starkey, Jr., *Eric Stolen, Dan Sullivan, Tammy Summers, Dave Sumpter, *Ken Tracey, George Wallace,
*Jeffrey Weber, *Tom Wilmers, and Mike Wilson.
Along with the site nominators, the following individuals reviewed portions of the manuscript,
provided additional data, or assisted with IBA designation in other ways: Brian Ahern, Lyn Atherton,
Marian Bailey, Jocie Baker, Mary Barnwell, John Barrow, Gary Beecham, Bob Bendick, the late Paul
Blair, the late Dick Blewett, Robin Boughton, John Boyd, David Breininger, Cathy Briggs, Gary Comp,
Tylan Dean, Mike Delany, Robin Diaz, Vic Doig, Lucy Duncan, Sara Eicher, Neil Eichholz, Susan
Fitzgerald, Darrell Freeman, Dot Freeman, Jim Garrison, Wally George, Mark Glisson, Doria Gordon,
Anne Harvey, Bob Henry, Charles Hess, Ross Hinkle, Ron Houser, Julie Hovis, Dotty and the late Hank
Hull, Teri Jabour, David Jowers, Tim King, Ernest Lent, Fred Lohrer, Casey Lott, Gary Lytton, the late
Anne Malatesta, Mike May, Ken Meyer, John Mitchell, Dave Morgan, Norman Moss, Jim Murrian, Mark
Nicholas, Toby Obenauer, Steve Orzell, Denise Rains, Mike Renda, Richard Roberts, Arlyne Salcedo, the
late Hank Smith, Valerie Sparling, Ken Spilios, Barbara and Stephen Stedman, Ted Stevens, Hilary
Swain, Cindy Thompson, Sally Treat, George Wallace, Tom Webber, Rick West, and Shelley Yancey.

13

Donna Watkins brought the IBA Program to the attention of all Florida Park Service staff. I thank staff at
Archbold Biological Station for hosting the initial pre-meeting of the Executive Committee, and Todd
Engstrom for setting up its formal meeting at Tall Timbers Research Station.
Several biologists provided avian data that were of great use to the Florida IBA Program. For
their assistance with providing databases and GIS coverages, I thank Mike Delany (Florida
Grasshopper Sparrow data), Julia Dodge (wading bird and Bald Eagle nests), Patty Kelly (Snowy and
Piping plovers), Paul Kubilis (wading bird nests), Ken Meyer (Swallow-tailed Kites and Short-tailed
Hawks), Jim Rodgers (Snail Kites), Gary Sprandel (shorebirds), and George Wallace (Snowy Plovers).
Sally Jue and other staff of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory graciously provided updated GIS
coverages of the states conservation lands.
Deep appreciation is given to the foundations and organizations that funded the Florida IBA
Program: The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation; the Batchelor Foundation; Pinellas County Utilities;
and the Jim and Jonnie Swann Foundation, along with several individuals. I greatly appreciate the
assistance of Pick Talley, Wayman Bailey, and others at Pinellas County Utilities for funding a Florida
Scrub-Jay conservation project that supported the IBA Program.
The efforts of Gian Basili and Clay Henderson of the former Florida Audubon Society, and Paul
Gray, Wayne Hoffman, Ann Paul, and the late Rich Paul of state offices of National Audubon Society,
are appreciated for their initial efforts to begin an IBA program in Florida. I thank several other former
staff members of Audubon of Florida for their assistance: Sandra Bogan, Irela Bague, Susan Cummins,
Kristy Loria, Connie Perez, Stuart Strahl, and Lisa Yalkut. At the National Audubon Society, I appreciate
the advice and support of Frank Gill, Fred Baumgarten, Dan Niven, and Jeff Wells, who freely offered
advice and encouragement whenever called upon. Jim Wilson, IBA Coordinator for Georgia, attended the
first Executive Committee meeting, and contributed ideas about IBAs that share our states boundaries.
I am extremely grateful to Kurt Radamaker, who performed an invaluable service by designing
the Florida IBA website, which broadcast the program widely, efficiently, and without cost. I thank my
parents, the late Dom and Peggy Pranty, for having provided a lifetime of support, and Helen Holly
Lovell for additional support. Finally, to any individual whose name inadvertently was omitted from this
list, please accept my apologies and thanks. To all who assisted with this program in any of a myriad of
ways, I hope that this book meets your expectations for helping to conserve Floridas spectacular
avifauna.
The manuscript for The Important Bird Areas in Florida was completed in 2002. Although timely
publication was a goal of the Florida IBA Program, the manuscript regrettably was allowed to languish
for many years. The efforts of several dedicated individuals were necessary to see this manuscript to
publication. Ann Paul, Ann Hodgson, and Julie Wraithmell of both Audubon of Florida and the Florida
Ornithological Society were instrumental in producing the contract between the two organizations. I am
grateful also to John Ogden of Audubon of Florida, and Jerry Jackson and Peter Merritt of FOS for
assisting with contract negotiations. Reed Noss and Sumita Singh copy-edited the manuscript in 2007 on
behalf of FOS. John Cecil (National Audubon), Jerry Jackson (FOS), and Eric Draper (Audubon of
Florida) wrote the forewords. Adam Kent, the current president of FOS, assisted with the final push
toward publication.
Those of us tasked with reviewing the 2002 manuscript quickly realized how much updating was
needed if the book was to be viewed as a current rather than historic documentchange occurs rapidly in
Florida. Unfortunately FOS had neither the time nor the funding to revise all 100 IBA accountsactions
that clearly will be the responsibility of Audubons next Florida IBA coordinator. But we agreed that
some updating was necessary to highlight conservation successes (e.g., the public purchase of most of the
Babcock Ranch) and failures (the loss of Anclote River Ranch to development) that have occurred within
Floridas IBAs since 2002. Overall, 13 IBA accounts were updated in 2010.
Bill Pranty
Florida IBA coordinator, 19992002
___ September 2010

14

FOREWORDS
The National Audubon Society is a partner for BirdLife International, responsible for implementing an
Important Bird Areas (IBA) program in the United States. The aim of each IBA program is to identify and
conserve a network of sites that maintains the long-term viability of bird populations. BirdLife
International initiated the program in 1985. Over the past 25 years, more than 10,000 IBAs have been
designated in nearly 200 countries and territories worldwide. The IBA program in the United States
depends on local implementation. State-based IBA programs assure that the process is grassroots-driven,
with involvement of local communities and partners dedicated to caring about the birds and the places on
which they depend. At the same time, local efforts are framed in the context of national and international
conservation-planning efforts. Through 2009, more than 2500 state-level IBAs have been identified,
encompassing more than 350 million acres.
Identifying IBAs is just the first of several activities involved in the site-conservation process.
Additional activities include assessment, adoption, planning, and implementation. These activities allow
for appropriate actions to be taken and evaluated to determine their value in conserving species and
habitats, and in abating threats. Central to this process is the involvement of volunteers: communities and
partners that aid in implementing activities and in measuring progress. Aside from conservation activities
such as restoration and/or enhancement and monitoring efforts, other actions may involve influencing
policy changes or negotiating with land owners or managers to secure protection or improve management.
Although the IBA identification and prioritization process is still underway, conservation
successes have already been realized. In Florida for example, some Regional Planning Councils consider
the location of IBAs when reviewing development projects. Efforts by groups or individuals to survey
birds at some IBAs have greatly improved knowledge of bird occurrence, abundance, and distribution. At
Werner BoyceSalt Springs State Park (part of the Coastal Pasco IBA), park staff rerouted a boardwalk
when informed that the planned route traversed marshes occupied by Black Rails. IBA habitat-restoration
projects elsewhere have been successful, and this process should be of great use in Florida.
At the national level, efforts in site prioritization, coordination, data analysis, and the
development of resources to support IBA staff and volunteers provide a broader context across the
network of IBAs. Through the process of prioritization, state-identified IBAs are compared using Global
and Continental criteria developed by BirdLife International. Recognizing a sites significance on a
Continental or Global scale provides additional leverage for improved management or protection. All
U.S. data are available at <www.audubon.org/bird/iba>. Data are widely available to the public and
conservation partners to serve as the basis for regional and national analyses. The process to identify and
prioritize Continental and Global IBAs in Florida is ongoing.
By reviewing the status of IBAs, outreach and educational activities have resulted in an increased
public awareness of the IBA program and a greater understanding of the value of IBAs to birds and
overall conservation efforts. As Audubons IBA program works to complete the national inventory and to
implement conservation actions, efforts are underway to consistently measure the successes of these
actions. This IBA Assessment process will integrate with other conservation-planning activities and
engage an increasing number of volunteers leading to informed and effective management actions across
the entire IBA network.
John Cecil and Connie Sanchez
Important Bird Areas Program
National Audubon Society

Birds, in all their diverse forms, locations, and behaviors, remind us that Florida is a very special place.
Among these special places, Important Bird Areas merit particular attention. Birds connect IBAs in

15

Florida with those elsewhere in the Americas. Birds connect us with nature and with each other. The
publication of The Important Bird Areas of Florida gives us the opportunity to refocus our conservation
work. I am excited that this book is closely associated with publication of Important Bird Areas:
Americas, number 16 in a series published by Birdlife International.
Partnership is a key concept to protecting birds of the Americas and the sites that support them.
Audubon of Florida and the Florida Ornithological Society are proud to publish this book, which provides
an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and government agencies to craft and implement
conservation strategies to manage bird populations. From habitat destruction and degradation,
overharvesting, and pollution, humans are responsible for declines of bird populations worldwide. It
follows that a major conservation challenge will be to engage people in crafting solutions to these issues.
The Important Bird Areas of Florida is one tool to enlist our fellow Floridians to protect and restore IBAs
through acquisition and improved management, from small sites to large landscapes.
Floridas first 100 IBAs illustrate the passion, perseverance, and science needed to ensure that
these places are available for birds now and in the future. The Everglades, Corkscrew Swamp, and
countless other managed areas are testament to how birds can provide an ecological measure of
restoration. Threats to privately-owned IBAs are obvious: todays IBA may be tomorrows housing
development. Even those IBAs in public ownership are threatened by numerous management issues such
as unnatural water flow or timing, lessened prescribed fire, proliferation of exotic species, human and dog
disturbance, and climate change. Although Florida is a special place for birds, our conservation
challenges are not limited to the state. We share many of our birds with other parts of the Americas, and
we share the same tests of our commitment to finding solutions to these and other conservation
challenges.
Eric Draper
Director, Audubon of Florida

[Foreword by Jerry Jackson, ideally one page or less]

16

INTRODUCTION
Florida is blessed with an abundance of natural riches. It supports 497 native birds (the greatest avian
richness east of the Mississippi River), 81 natural communities, 8500 miles (13,600 km) of shoreline,
7800 lakes and ponds, 1700 rivers and creeks, some of the most diverse forests and grasslands in North
America, hardwood hammocks of West Indian affinity, tropical coral reef systems unique on the
continent, and one of the worlds great wetlands (FNAI 1990, Myers and Ewell 1990, Noss and Peters
1995). Overall, Florida supports more than 3600 native plants and 700 native vertebrates, with 8% and
17%, respectively, endemic (i.e., they occur nowhere else).
In 1964, Florida initiated a succession of the largest and most aggressive land-acquisition
programs in the world. By the end of 2006, state and municipal governments and private conservation
organizations had spent more than $6.8 billion to protect 3.7 million ac (1.9 million ha) of land. When
combined with federal conservation areas, these lands protect 10.1 million ac (3.5 million ha), or 29% of
the states non-submerged land area. There currently are more than 1600 individual tracts of public and
private conservation lands in Florida (Jue et al. 2001). The states current land acquisition program,
Florida Forever, was designed to raise $300 million annually between 2000 and 2009 for the acquisition
and management of conservation lands. Severe budgetary shortfalls have limited the programs success
recently, with no money provided in FY 20092010, and only $15 million proposed for FY 20102011.
Concurrently, and in stark contrast, Florida is the most ecologically endangered state in the
Union. According to a report issued by Defenders of Wildlife (Noss and Peters 1995), Florida was the
only state to earn extreme ratings for every category measured (overall risk, ecosystem risk, species
risk, development risk, development status, and development trend), and it contained more Endangered
ecosystems (nine) than any other state. So great is the threat that every natural community in southern
Florida was combined into the South Florida Landscapeconsidered to be the most endangered
ecosystem in the United States.
By the early 2000s, Florida was gaining 700 residents every day, or one million residents every
three to four years, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Floridas human population
increased from 2.7 million residents in 1950 to 15.9 million in 2000. An appalling amount of habitat
about 165,000 ac (66,770 ha) annually, or nearly 19 ac (7.5 ha) every hourwas destroyed to
accommodate the expanding human population. This growth has reduced cutthroatgrass seeps by 99%,
Miami pine rocklands by 98%, longleaf pine flatwoods by 97%, unimpounded Brevard County salt
marshes by 95%, Lake Wales Ridge scrub by 85%, and Everglades marshland by 65%. If the rate of
growth occurring during the early 2000s continued, then virtually every remaining buildable acre of
Florida would be developed by 2065. In less time than an average human lifespan, all of Floridas
remaining private forests, scrubs, prairies, wetlands, farms, groves, and pastures will either be developed
or preserved.
During the 20th century, five birds native to Florida (Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, Ivorybilled Woodpecker, Bachmans Warbler, and Dusky Seaside Sparrow) were driven to extinction by
human activities, and populations of numerous other birds have been reduced severely. Twenty species or
subspecies are listed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (1997) as Endangered,
Threatened, or of Special Concern. In a more thorough inventory, the Florida Committee on Rare and
Endangered Plants and Animals listed 72 birds as recently extinct, recently extirpated, endangered,
threatened, rare, of special concern, or of status undetermined (Rodgers et al. 1996). It is hoped that the
IBA Program will be one of several tools used to prevent further declines in the populations of Floridas
native birds.

17

BACKGROUND OF THE IBA PROGRAM


The Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program is part of a global effort to conserve bird populations by
identifying, preserving, and properly managing their habitats. Floridas IBA Program began formally in
March 1999, when members of the fledgling Advisory Committee (later renamed the Executive
Committee) met at Archbold Biological Station. The following month, an IBA workshop was presented
to members of the Florida Ornithological Society (FOS). In October 1999, Bill Pranty, the Program
Coordinator was hired, based at Audubons sanctuary office in Tampa. A twelve-member Executive
Committee finalized the site-selection criteria in January 2000.
As modified for the Florida program, an Important Bird Area is a site that is documented to
support significant populations of one or more species of native birds, or an exceptional richness of
species. It is important to point out that the IBA Program carries no regulatory powers; therefore, IBA
designation places no restrictions on a site. On the other hand, IBA designation often implies good site
management, and frequently results in publicity beneficial to land owners. The Florida Program excluded
as IBAs those sites that were heavily disturbed (e.g., phosphate mines, agricultural lands, or landfills),
even though these sites may support large numbers of birds during one or more seasons. On the other
hand, a few dredged-material (i.e., spoil) islands that support significant colonial waterbird colonies
were accepted as IBAs. Also designated were former agricultural lands now in public ownership and
under wetlands restoration (e.g., at Emeralda Marsh, Lake Apopka, and Northern Everglades).
The primary goal of Floridas IBA Program was to help ensure the persistence of the states
native avifauna, which is under extreme pressure from habitat destruction, human disturbance, fire
exclusion, exotic plants, and other factors. About 25% of the states land area has been developed, mostly
since 1950, and another quarter is composed of conservation lands held in public ownership or under
perpetual conservation easements (Jue et al. 2001). The remaining half of the state isor eventually will
beup for sale to the highest bidder, with conservationists competing with developers to determine the
final fate of Floridas privately owned lands and waters. Consider the following facts: In Brevard County,
it took 10 years for its Environmentally Endangered Lands Program to purchase and protect 13,000 ac
(5261 ha) of land. During a five-month period from late 1999 to early 2000, an equal amount of land
elsewhere in the county was permitted for development (R. Hinkle pers. comm., April 2000). Ongoing
habitat destruction on such a massive scale will continue to exert intense pressure on Floridas bird
communities, and it is essential that the IBA Program plays an integral role in conserving bird populations
and habitats throughout the state. This role includes protecting the habitats of rare species, as well as
keeping common birds common.
It is important to point out that this book is not meant to encourage widespread visitation to
IBAsspecific directions to the sites are not included. As the data contained within this book clearly
demonstrate, increased human use of Floridas coastal IBAs will further endanger some of its most
imperiled species. Rather, the primary intent of this book is to present to a wide audience an avian
resource inventory of Floridas IBAs, identifying which sites were selected, why they are important, how
the public can assist in preserving their bird populations, and where human and resource management can
be improved to benefit native birds and their habitats. Perhaps this resource-based concept will be adopted
to map areas critical to other groups of Floridas flora and fauna (e.g., Important Sea Turtle Areas,
Important Butterfly Areas, or perhaps Important Orchid Areas).
This first edition of The Important Bird Areas of Florida presents the initial 100 sites selected as
IBAs between February 2000 and July 2002. Other, non-selected IBAs undoubtedly exist in Florida, and
ornithologists, birders, land managers, foresters, Audubon members, and others should keep these sites in
mind in the event that the list of IBAs in Florida is updated. With the massive amount of habitat
destruction occurring in Florida, as well as the various land acquisition programs that constantly are
bringing significant natural areas into public ownership or under perpetual conservation easement, IBA
site selection and review should occur at frequent intervals.

18

IBAS AND PRIVATE PROPERTY


The IBA Coordinator could not be expected to identify thousands of private properties that deserved to be
preserved, to contact the land owners to determine their interest in preservation, and finally to receive
their consent to include their properties within designated Important Bird Areas. Rather, the Florida IBA
Program relied on government agencies and conservation organizations to identify these properties,
primarily through the states Conservation and Recreation Lands, Florida Forever, and Save Our Rivers
land acquisition programs. The inclusion of non-public lands in the IBA program was vital, since about
half of the state remains in private ownership, and IBA designation of some private properties may result
in public acquisition or improved management. Floridas IBA Program required landowner approval for
all properties specifically mentioned by name in this book (except when public funds were used to
purchase perpetual conservation easements), but obviously not for all properties mappedsome state
acquisition projects included within IBAs contain literally thousands of landowners. Private lands
targeted for preservation have been added to Floridas IBAs when they were adjacent or close to existing
conservation landsmany IBAs consist of a core public ownership surrounded by private properties
sought for public acquisition or perpetual conservation easement. In a few instances when significant
supporting avian data were provided, the IBA program recommended the preservation of private lands
that at the time had not been recognized by others. It is hoped that the recommendations made herein will
be embraced by the agencies responsible for acquiring private lands, for managing public lands, and for
enforcing laws designed to protect the states floral and faunal resources. Contact information for the
primary conservation agencies and organizations in Florida is found on pages 000000.
THE IMPORTANT BIRDING AREAS PROGRAM
There was occasional confusion among the public about the purposes and goals of the Florida IBA
Program. Several individuals referred to the IBA program as the Important Birding Areas Program, and
thought that its purpose was to denote worthwhile birding sites. These individuals nominated as IBAs
sites that typically were small city or county parks that provided opportunities for birding or
environmental education, but did not support significant populations of any species. Most of these sites
were not accepted as IBAs. For information on birding sites in Florida, see A Birders Guide to Florida
(Pranty
2005),
or
visit
the
website
for
the
Great
Florida
Birding
Trail:
<http://www.floridabirdingtrail.com>.
METHODS
SITE SELECTION
The Florida IBA Coordinator, assisted by the Executive Committee and other biologists, prepared the
criteria for site selection. These criteria followed those used by IBA programs around the world, but were
modified specifically for Florida. Many bird populations in the state are surveyed periodically (e.g., Bald
Eagle nests and many larid colonies annually, Piping Plovers every five years, and wading bird rookeries
every 10 years). As a result, stringent site-selection criteria emphasizing specific, recent avian data
significant at the statewide level were developed for the Florida IBA Program. Four primary categories
were used to select Floridas IBAs, and all designated areas met the criteria of at least one of these. A
fifthand secondarycategory, for long-term avian research, could be used only in conjunction with one
or more of the primary categories. Floridas site selection criteria are listed below; bird names in
quotation marks denote subspecies.
Category 1: Significant populations of Endangered or Threatened birds.

19

This category includes all birds on the official list of Endangered or Threatened species or subspecies,
maintained by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FGFWFC 1997). We make two
exceptions: (1) Red-cockaded Woodpecker is listed by the Federal government as Endangered, but by the
state as only a Species of Special Concern; for IBA purposes, Red-cockaded Woodpecker was considered
Endangered; and (2) we retain the Threatened designation for Bald Eagle even though the species was
removed from the list in 2008. A significant population was defined as meeting or exceeding 1% of the
statewide total (Table 1) for any listed species. Nominated sites that met this criterion for any Category 1
birds were designated as IBAs.
1a: FWC Endangered species or subspecies
Wood Stork, Snail Kite, Peregrine Falcon, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Florida Grasshopper
Sparrow, and Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow.
1b: FWC Threatened species or subspecies
Bald Eagle, Crested Caracara, Southeastern American Kestrel, Florida Sandhill Crane, Snowy
Plover, Piping Plover, Roseate Tern, Least Tern, White-crowned Pigeon, and Florida Scrub-Jay.
Category 2: Significant populations of other birds of conservation priority.
This category contains all birds considered by FWC to be of Special Concern, as well as birds on the
lists of the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals (FCREPA; Rodgers et al.
1996), the Partners In Flight Watch List and/or Audubon WatchList, as well as two other birds chosen by
the Florida IBA Executive Committee because they do not appear on any other list. For Watch List
species, the Executive Committee chose to concentrate on those with significant breeding or wintering
populations in Florida. The definition of a significant population is the same as for Category 1. However,
statewide totals (Table 1) are not available for many of the birds in Category 2. For flocking species,
Category 3 criteria (below) were used. For other species (e.g., Limpkin, Bachmans Sparrow), we
accepted counts that seemed to be large and therefore were presumed to be significant.
2a: FWC Species of Special Concern
Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, White Ibis,
Roseate Spoonbill, Limpkin, American Oystercatcher, Black Skimmer, Burrowing Owl, Marsh Wren
(breeding populations only), and Seaside Sparrow (excluding Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow, which
is Endangered).
2b: FCREPA birds (Endangered, Threatened, Rare, Species of Special Concern, and Status
Undetermined). Antillean Nighthawk and Cave Swallow were excluded because they breed
frequently or solely in disturbed areas or on artificial structures.
Magnificent Frigatebird, Least Bittern, Great White Heron, Great Egret, Black-crowned NightHeron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis, Osprey (Monroe County only), Swallow-tailed
Kite, White-tailed Kite, Coopers Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Black Rail, Wilsons Plover,
American Avocet, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Sooty Tern, Brown
Noddy, Mangrove Cuckoo, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-whiskered Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch,
Cuban Yellow Warbler, Florida Prairie Warbler, and Painted Bunting.
2c: Species on the Partners in Flight Watch List and/or the Audubon WatchList (only those
species for which data were submitted are listed below).
Mottled Duck, Yellow Rail, Willet, Red Knot, Stilt Sandpiper, Gray Kingbird, Brown-headed
Nuthatch, Loggerhead Shrike, Bachmans Sparrow, and Henslows Sparrow.
2d: Florida IBA species of concern

20

Greater Sandhill Crane, and breeding populations of Laughing Gull.


Category 3: Significant numbers of birds or exceptional species richness.
This broad category is broken down into seven sub-categories: five for specific groups of birds, one for
other species or groups, and one for richness. The Florida IBA Program preferred that all avian data
submitted were gathered no earlier than 19901992 (i.e., within 10 years of the site-selection process),
and that population counts or estimates be based on single-day totals. In cases where several consecutive
years of data were available for a site, usually only those from 19972002 were used, and only the means
are given.
3a: Aquatic birds. Sites that support 10,000 aquatic birds, primarily during winter. This group
includes waterfowl, loons, grebes, cormorants, and rallids. This sub-category was seldom used (Table
6, pages 000000), which suggests that the Florida threshold was set too high.
3b: Wading birds. Sites that support 1000 breeding pairs, or 500 birds at foraging or roosting sites.
We arrived at the former figure because the 1999 FWC statewide wading bird survey showed that the
29 largest rookeries in the state each contained 1000 or more breeding pairs. Data for Cattle Egrets
were excluded because they are not wetlands-dependent.
3c: Raptors. Sites that support 300 raptors, primarily during fall migration. This sub-category was
used primarily for stopover sites (i.e., roosting or foraging areas) and other natural areas, rather
than any site from which large numbers of migrating raptors could be observed.
3d: Shorebirds. Sites that support 1000 shorebirds during migration or winter. (For breeding
species, sub-categories 1b, 2a, 2b, or 3f were used).
3e: Larids. Sites that support 250 nesting pairs of larids, or 1000 terns or skimmers during migration
or winter. Concentrations of non-breeding gulls, which are common in Florida, were excluded.
3f: Other birds. Sites that support any species or subspecies not listed in Categories 1 or 2, or any
group not listed above (e.g., flocks of wintering sparrows or migrant Bobolinks). Because no
threshold could be established for these species, nominated sites had to be clearly more important
than surrounding areas.
3g: Species richness. Sites that support an exceptional richness of native birds, whether in overall
species or within a particular group (e.g., colonial waterbirds, shorebirds, or wood-warblers). As with
sub-category 3f, nominated sites had to be clearly more important than surrounding areas. Table 2
(pages 000000) lists the 17 IBAs that support 250 or more native species.
Category 4: Sites with significant natural habitats.
Originally, this category was to be used only for IBAs that were exceptional in size and/or quality, or that
represented the best regional example of a natural community. However, because nearly all natural
habitats in Florida are under severe threat by development, it was later decided that this category would
apply to any IBA that contained large (and presumably significant) amounts of natural habitats. We
stipulated that the site be documented to contain significant populations of native birds. Sites nominated
solely on the basis of habitat, or the presumed presence of significant bird populations, were not accepted
as IBAs. A few of these non-accepted sites seem worthy of future IBA designation if sufficient avian data
can be gathered; see Appendix 1 (pages 000000).

21

Category 5: Sites that support long-term avian research.


Long-term research was defined as being 10 or more years in duration, and ideally has resulted in the
publication of one or more peer-reviewed papers. This was a secondary category that could be used to
nominate a site only in conjunction with one or more of the primary categories.
AVIAN DATA
A vast amount of information about Floridas avifauna is available: Stevenson and Anderson (1994)
compiled a bibliography of approximately 9000 entries. The Florida IBA Program required that recent
avian data significant at the statewide level be provided for every IBA, and requested that a bird list
even if rudimentarybe included. Avian data usually came from one of three sources: (1) unpublished
observations provided by the nominator; (2) observations published in Florida Field Naturalist; and (3)
gray literature such as unpublished technical reports available from state or federal agencies. After the
close of the site nomination period, the IBA Coordinator perused all issues of Florida Field Naturalist,
the journal of FOS, for articles, notes, and field observations pertaining to sites designated as IBAs. This
effort added significant observations to the avian data tables and expanded the bird lists of several sites.
A bird list was compiled for all Florida IBAs except for those that consist of small islands used primarily
as colonial waterbird rookeries, or those recently acquired for conservation. These lists aided the
Executive Committee in ranking sites. The number of native species is presented in the avian data tables
for most IBAs.
The following procedures were used in compiling bird lists for the IBA Program:
1) Exotic (non-native) birds were excluded.
2) Only those native species on the Official bird list maintained by FOS (<http://www.fosbirds.org/
RecordsCommittee/OfficialStateList.aspx>) are included. Other native birds reported (e.g., Prairie
Falcon, Cuban Emerald, Common Redpoll) were purged from IBA lists.
3) Although extensive review of the bird lists provided for most sites was beyond the scope of the IBA
program, some changes were made for quality-control (e.g., all reports of Scarlet Ibis were
considered to represent escapes). Breeding populations of Canada Geese, Mallards, and Whitewinged Doves clearly represent exotic populations, but were nonetheless considered native because
wild populations winter in the state. Cattle Egrets and Shiny Cowbirds colonized Florida on their
own and are thereby considered natural colonizers; several checklists prepared by state agencies
erroneously listed these two species as exotics.
DATA PRESENTATION
Following the introductory material, most of this book is composed of the individual accounts for
Floridas 100 initial IBAs. Florida is broken into six regions: Western Panhandle, Eastern Panhandle,
Northern Peninsula, Central Peninsula, Southern Peninsula, and Florida Keys, following Robertson and
Woolfenden (1992). The format of the accounts is straightforward, and generally follows that of the sitenomination form. The following information is provided for each IBA:
The name. For IBAs composed of a single land ownership, this name usually is the name of the site
(e.g., Eglin Air Force Base, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park). Other IBAs are named to best
describe the area encompassed (e.g., Lower Tampa Bay, Northern Everglades). For IBAs composed
of multiple ownerships, each public and consenting private site is listed separately on the next line.
Some of these multiple-site IBAs were nominated separately but later were combined by the
Executive Committee, while others were nominated as a single unit.
The county or counties in which it occurs.

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Its size, listed in ac and ha. For IBAs that contain private lands sought for public acquisition, the total
acreage (or hectarage) is given first, followed by the number of ac (ha) publicly acquired or
protected under perpetual conservation easements through 2002.
Its general location, usually just a few lines of text, giving county designations and sometimes
describing boundaries based on public roadways or waterways. Adjacent IBAs or those within 10 mi
(16 km) also are mentioned.
A basic description, often including the number of recreationists and hunters (if applicable) that use
the site annually.
If public, the agency or agencies that own or manage the site. Privately-owned lands within IBAs are
designated simply as private properties unless a landowner consented to having his/her property
mentioned specifically by name or ownership.
Habitats present; those marked with an asterisk (*) are primary habitats. See pages 000000.
Land usage; those marked with an asterisk (*) are primary uses.
Categories for which significant data were provided; see pages 000000.
A usually brief summary of the avian species or groups supported, followed by one or more tables
that present specific data. These data typically consist of dates and numbers of birds seen, the
percentage of the statewide population (see Table 1), and the status of each species onsite, whether
permanent resident (R), breeding resident (B), winter resident (W), migrant (M), or non-breeding
foraging or roosting flocks (NB). The tables usually feature only avian data significant at the
statewide level, although lesser data were presented for some sites. Below the table are listed all
sources from which the data were obtained.
Other natural, cultural, or historical resources present, if any.
Existing threats; those marked with an asterisk (*) are severe threats: See pages 000000 Potential
threats generally were given little emphasis.
Conservation issues, along with existing or proposed solutions.
The name(s) and affiliation(s) of the site nominator(s).
Other conventions used are the following:
In the data tables, months are written out as only their first three letters (e.g., Jan, Feb, Mar).
Metric measurements are placed in parentheses following American measurements.
The first-time listing of each plants and non-avian animal includes both its English and scientific
names; subsequent listings are solely of the English names. For birds, only the English name is used;
English and scientific names appear in Appendix 2 (pages 000000). Following standard scientific
practices (e.g., AOU 1998), the English names of birds are capitalized (e.g., Great Egret, Florida
Scrub-Jay), whereas those of all other species are not (e.g., longleaf pine, gopher tortoise). Subspecies
are listed in quotation marks (e.g., Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, Southeastern beach mouse).
Two subspecies of mammals are listed here without quotation marks, following the treatment by
Humphrey (1992): Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is an endemic subspecies of
the West Indian manatee, while Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi) is a subspecies of the
mountain lion. For species represented in the state by only one subspecies (e.g., Crested Caracara,
black bear), no subspecific name is given. The nomenclature for all plants was based on the Institute
of Systematic Botany <http://www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu>.
Abbreviations are used sparingly: BBS (Breeding Bird Survey), CARL (Conservation and Recreation
Lands acquisition program, 19901999), CBC (Christmas Bird Count), cen. (central), DEP (Florida
Department of Environmental Protection), DOF (Florida Division of Forestry), ELAPP (Hillsborough
County Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program), FCREPA (Florida Committee on
Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals), FF (Florida Forever land acquisition program, 2000
2009), FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), GIS (Geographic Information
System), IBA (Important Bird Area), SOR (Save Our Rivers acquisition program of Florida water

23

management districts), WMD (Water Management District), YBP (Years Before Present), and n., s.,
e., and w., etc., for compass headings.
A diamond ( ) denotes the initial mention of each plant or animal.
MAP PRODUCTION
The maps in this book were produced with ArcView GIS 3.1 software (ESRI 1999) using public domain
coverages, as well as coverages created by the IBA Coordinator. These maps illustrate every IBA, several
other land and water features, and state and federal roads and highways.
FLORIDA HABITATS
From a habitat perspective, Florida is an immensely diverse state, ranging from the Red Hills of
Tallahassee to the tropical hammocks of the Florida Keys. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI
1990) identified 81 natural communities in the state, of which 13 are endemic. Many of Floridas habitats
are described below, insomuch as habitat is one of the primary factors that determines the distribution
and abundance of the states bird life. Information in Floridas habitats was taken extensively from
chapters in Myers and Ewel (1990); bird-occurrence data by habitats were taken from Pranty (2005).
PINE FLATWOODS were the most extensive upland habitat in Florida prior to human settlement.
Today, they are one of the most threatened. Flatwoods are characterized by flat or gently rolling,
relatively poorly drained soils composed of typically open-canopy longleaf pine (Pinus palustris),
slash pine (P. elliottii), or pond pine (P. serotina) forests with a low understory of saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens), threeawn (i.e., wiregrass; Aristida spp.), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and other shrubs,
forbs, and grasses. Longleaf pine predominated in the Panhandle and northern half of the Peninsula, with
slash pine flatwoods most common in southern Florida. Low-intensity lightning-induced growing-season
fires burned flatwoods on a frequent basis, perhaps every year or two, which kept the forests open and
lacking a shrub understory. Fire-maintained pine flatwoods originally covered more than half of Floridas
land area, but their range has been greatly reduced by development, agriculture, and silviculture.
Furthermore, fire exclusion has affected virtually all remaining flatwoods by increasing the tree density
and greatly increasing the shrub layer, allowing invasion of oaks and other hardwoods. In southeastern
Florida and some of the Florida Keys, the flatwoods are composed of South Florida slash pines (P.
elliottii var. densa) and are called Pine Rocklands because the states limestone base is at or just below
the soil surface. The understory of pine rocklands is composed largely of plants of West Indian origin,
including several species of palms. Nearly all of this habitat has been destroyed for residential
development and agriculture; Everglades National Park and National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key
preserve the largest examples remaining. Characteristic breeding birds of Floridas varied pinewoods
include Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-tailed Hawk, Southeastern American Kestrel, Northern Bobwhite,
Common Ground-Dove, Great Horned Owl, Common Nighthawk, all woodpeckers (most notably Redcockaded Woodpecker), Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, Brown-headed Nuthatch,
Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Summer Tanager,
Eastern Towhee, and Bachmans Sparrow. Pine Plantations are common throughout, especially in the
Northern Peninsula, and most are harvested every 20 or so years for the production of paper and related
products. Some birds of pine flatwoods occur also in pine plantations, while others do not. For
information on Scrubby Flatwoods, see the section on scrub, while information on Savannas is found in
the section on dry prairie.
SANDHILLS are mixed forests of oaks and pines growing on well-drained sandy soils. Many sandhills
were formerly longleaf pine forests that now are dominated by turkey oak (Quercus laevis) and
bluejack oak (Q. incana) following clear-cutting of the pines, consumption of pine seeds by feral

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hogs (Sus scrofa), and decades of subsequent fire exclusion. Some sandhills still retain the open, grassy
structure of the former flatwoods, while others now are dense oak forests. Extensive sandhills occur in
the w. Panhandle and w-cen. Peninsula. Two sites known for their sandhills are Eglin Air Force Base and
Withlacoochee State Forest. Many sandhills are being restored through removal of oaks and a return to
frequent fires. Southern Ridge Sandhill is a plant community endemic to the Lake Wales Ridge in the
interior of cen. Florida. The oaks are composed of scrub species, and the endemic scrub hickory (Carya
floridana) is conspicuous. Characteristic breeding birds of sandhills depend upon the extent of oak/pine
and shrub/grass coverages, and may include Coopers Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Southeastern American
Kestrel, Northern Bobwhite, Common Ground-Dove, Great Horned Owl, Common Nighthawk, Hairy
Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue Jay,
Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler,
Common Yellowthroat, Summer Tanager, Eastern Towhee, and Bachmans Sparrow.
HAMMOCKS are forests of hardwoods (e.g., oaks, hickories, bays, and magnolia) that occur
throughout. Because many oaks in Florida are nearly evergreen, hammocks are shaded year-round; as a
result, the understory often is extremely sparse and the ground is covered with leaf litter. Fires are absent.
Except in extreme n. Florida, cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto) are often a conspicuous component of
hammocks. Temperate Hammocks are common along the n. border with Alabama and Georgia, and
extend spottily into the cen. Peninsula, primarily the w. half. Hammocks in n. Florida contain some of the
most diverse forests in the e. United States. Those along the Apalachicola River contain plants and
animals disjunct from their primary range in the Appalachian Mountains, and these hammocks contain a
few endemic trees such as Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) and Florida yew (Taxus floridana).
Live oaks (Quercus virginiana) and laurel oaks (Q. laurifolia) are abundant in hammocks. Examples
of temperate hammocks are found at Tall Timbers Research Station, San Felasco Hammock Preserve
State Park, and Highlands Hammock State Park. Maritime Hammocks are temperate hammocks along
or close to the Atlantic coast. They often are low-growing, sculpted by sea breezes. Characteristic
breeding birds of temperate and maritime hammocks include Coopers Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk,
Wild Turkey, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker,
Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed
Vireo, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Parula, Hooded Warbler, and Summer Tanager.
Tropical Hammocks are limited to s. Florida and are composed of evergreen trees, shrubs, and palms
largely of West Indian affinity, such as gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), pigeon plum (Coccoloba
diversifolia), false tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum), and strangler fig (Ficus aurea). Trees and palms
are covered with orchids and bromeliads, and ferns carpet the ground. Royal Palm Hammock and
Mahogany Hammock, both in Everglades National Park, as well as the hammocks on Key Largo, are
typical examples. Two subspecies of mammals, Key Largo cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus
allapaticola) and Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli), are endemic to tropical hammocks
of the Mainline Keys. The richness of avian species breeding in tropical hammocks is quite low, but
several of these birds occur nowhere else in the United States. Characteristic breeding birds include
White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray
Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, and Black-whiskered Vireo. West Indian birds that stray to Florida, such as
Zenaida Dove, Cuban Pewee, La Sagras Flycatcher, Loggerhead Kingbird, Thick-billed Vireo, and
Western Spindalis are typically found in tropical hammocks.
SCRUB is Floridas oldest plant community. Formerly common throughout the Peninsula during periods
of lower sea levels and drier climates, scrub today is restricted to areas of excessively well-drained soils.
These soils are a feature of sand ridges that represent earlier shorelines during periods of higher sea
levels. Scrub occurs on ridge systems throughout the Peninsula and along the entire Gulf coast in the
Panhandle. Much scrub habitat has been lost to the citrus industry, while other scrublands have been
eliminated by commercial and residential development. Xeric Oak Scrub is an early successional form

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of scrub that contains numerous patches of bare sand and where vegetation is kept low from intense fires
that occur perhaps every 820 years. Because scrub is Floridas oldest plant community and was often
isolated from other habitats by large expanses of water, scrub flora and fauna have a high degree of
endemism; at least 40% of oak scrub species are endemic. Floridas only endemic bird species, Florida
Scrub-Jay, is restricted to xeric oak scrub of the Peninsula, as are several other vertebrates such as
Florida scrub lizard (Sceloporus woodi), sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi), and Florida mouse
(Podomys floridanus). In the absence of fire, xeric oak scrub succeeds to forest, and scrub endemics
decline in numbers, potentially to extirpation, unless fire is returned to the community. The Lake Wales
Ridge is the oldest ridge system in Florida, and contains nearly all the oak scrub endemics. The endemic
scrub oak (Quercus inopina) is common in most interior scrubs, but is not found along coastal ridges;
other oak species are sand live oak (Q. geminata), myrtle oak (Q. myrtifolia), and Chapmans oak
(Q. chapmanii). Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) is a common evergreen shrub. By the early
1990s, it was estimated that about 85% of Lake Wales Ridge scrub had been destroyed, and most of the
remainder would suffer the same fate unless public acquisition was initiated quickly. Preservation of
Lake Wales Ridge habitats was a state priority for several years, and as a result, many of the most
significant scrublands were preserved. The first scrub preserve, Archbold Biological Station, established
in 1941, remains one of the most impressive and most diverse scrub sites in the world. The Merritt
IslandCape Canaveral complex also contains large amounts of scrub habitats that are undergoing muchneeded restoration after a long period of fire exclusion. Another state concern is the scrub ridges of
mainland Brevard County, which are under severe threat from residential development. Characteristic
breeding birds of xeric oak scrub are few but include Northern Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Common
Ground-Dove, Common Nighthawk, White-eyed Vireo, Florida Scrub-Jay, Northern Mockingbird,
Common Yellowthroat, and Eastern Towhee. Scrubby Flatwoods contain a canopy of longleaf or slash
pines and a sparse to extensive understory of scrub oaks. They occur widely in the cen. Peninsula. For a
startling and graphic example of how quickly and completely oaks can invade pine flatwoods or sandhills
in the absence of fire, see the photographs in Myers and Ewell (1990: 192) of the same landscape at
Archbold Biological Station in 1929 and 1988, following 60 years of fire exclusion. Scrubby flatwoods
typically contain a mixture of flatwoods and xeric oak scrub species. A third scrub community is Sand
Pine Scrub, a forested habitat dominated by sand pines (Pinus clausa). Because most scrubs formerly
burned more frequently than at present, sand pine scrub probably was less common historically than
currently. Indeed, sand pine forests were the only natural habitat that increased in extent during the 20th
century (Kautz 1993). Historically, sand pine scrub probably was restricted to areas that rarely burned
(e.g., were within fire shadows), such as lands within or between water bodies. Sand pine scrub
supports an entirely different avifauna than does xeric oak scrub. The largest patch of sand pine scrub in
the world occurs in and around Ocala National Forest, where fire is generally excluded for the production
of timber. Other patches of sand pine scrub occur along the Panhandle coast and in the Peninsula south to
Palm Beach County. Characteristic breeding birds include Coopers Hawk, Eastern Screech-Owl, Downy
Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, Pine Warbler,
and Summer Tanager.
DRY PRAIRIE bears little resemblance to the rolling prairies of the cen. United States. In Florida,
prairies comprise an endemic ecosystem, consisting of flat, treeless areas grown to threeawns, saw
palmetto, fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), staggerbushes (L. ferruginea and L. fructosa), blueberries
(Vaccinium spp.), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), and dozens of other plants. Dry prairies are poorly
drained areas, andcontrary to their nameoften are inundated with one inch (2.3 cm) or more of water
following late spring or summer thunderstorms. As many as 41 species of plants per square meter have
been found, representing one of the richest plant communities in the Western Hemisphere (Orzell and
Bridges 1998). Dry prairies exist within a mosaic of cypress heads and shallow wetlands. The most
extensive dry prairies occur north and west of Lake Okeechobee. Populations of the endemic,
Endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow have declined severely as prairies have been converted to

26

unsuitable habitats, primarily to pastures planted with non-native grasses such as bahiagrass (Paspalum
notatum). The Avon Park Air Force Range/Bombing Range Ridge, Fisheating Creek Ecosystem,
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, and Myakka River Watershed IBAs all contain significant dry
prairie habitat. Characteristic breeding birds include Red-shouldered Hawk, White-tailed Kite, Crested
Caracara, Northern Bobwhite, Florida Sandhill Crane, Common Ground-Dove, Burrowing Owl,
Common Nighthawk, American Crow, Eastern Meadowlark, Bachmans Sparrow, and Florida
Grasshopper Sparrow. During migration, flocks of Bobolinks are observed frequently, and Palm
Warblers and other species of sparrows are common residents during winter. Savannas are grassy areas
found in pinewoods in the Panhandle that are flooded for less than three months per year. Formerly
widespread, they have declined dramatically from fire suppression activities. The highest concentration
of savannas is in Apalachicola National Forest, around the hamlets of Sumatra and Wilma. Wet
Prairies are quite unlike dry prairies, and are synonymous with shallow freshwater marshes, discussed
below.
SWAMPS are wetland forests characteristic of the se. United States. They grow along the edges of rivers
and streams, in poorly-drained seepage basins and ponds, or occupy large, shallowly-flooded areas, often
mixed with slightly elevated areas grown to pinelands. Three types of swamps are discussed here, but
several other types of swamps, bogs, domes, strands, and other wetland forests occur. Cypress Swamps
are composed primarily of two species of trees: bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum) and pond-cypress
(T. ascendens). Bald-cypresses tend to occur along moving water, while pond-cypresses tend to grow in
still water, but many individuals cannot be identified with certainty, even by skilled botanists (Ewel
1990). Hardwood Swamps occur in much of the same areas as cypress swamps but are dominated by
hardwoods such as blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), hickories (Carya spp.), red maple (Acer rubrum),
and several other species. Bayheads are small depression swamps often surrounded by uplands. They are
characterized by loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), and swamp
bay (Persea palustris). Well-known swamps include those along the Apalachicola River, Pinhook
Swamp along the Georgia border, Green Swamp in the cen. Peninsula, and Big Cypress Swamp and
Corkscrew Swamp in sw. Florida. Characteristic breeding birds of swamps and other wetland forests
include Wood Duck, Anhinga, wading birds (most notably Wood Stork), Osprey, Swallow-tailed Kite,
Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Limpkin, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Screech-Owl, Barred Owl,
woodpeckers other than Red-cockaded (most notably Pileated Woodpecker), Great Crested Flycatcher,
White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, American Crow, Fish Crow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse,
Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated
Warbler, Northern Cardinal, and Common Grackle.
MANGROVE FORESTS are one of the most characteristic features of low wave-energy shorelines of
the s. Peninsula. They are composed of three primary species: red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle),
black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), and white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa). Mangroves
cannot tolerate sub-freezing temperatures for extended periods. About 90% of Floridas mangrove forests
are found in Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. Dozens of tiny mangrove islands occur in
the Ten Thousand Islands region southeast of Naples, and in Florida Bay between the mainland and the
Mainline Keys. Destruction of mangrove forests is now largely illegal due to wetlands-protection laws.
Characteristic breeding birds include Mottled Duck, Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigatebird (Dry
Tortugas National Park only), all wading birds, Clapper Rail, White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo,
Gray Kingbird, Black-whiskered Vireo, Cuban Yellow Warbler, and Florida Prairie Warbler.
FRESHWATER MARSHES are abundant throughout the Peninsula and locally in the Panhandle. There
are several different varieties, depending on water depth and duration of flooding. Wetlands in Florida
typically contain multiple varieties of marsh; three types are described here. Flag Marshes are dominated
by tall forbs such as pickerelweed (Pontedaria cordata) and arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.). Cattail

27

Marshes contain cattails (Typha spp.) often in extremely dense monotypic stands. Sawgrass Marshes
are typical of the Everglades and are dominated by Jamaican swamp sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense).
The Upper St. Johns River marshes and Everglades National Park are two examples of extensive marsh
systems. Characteristic breeding birds depend upon the type of marsh and may include Mottled Duck,
Pied-billed Grebe, Least Bittern, Snail Kite, King Rail, Common Moorhen, Purple Gallinule, Florida
Sandhill Crane, Common Yellowthroat, Red-winged Blackbird, and Boat-tailed Grackle. The Cape
Sable Seaside Sparrow occupies freshwater and brackish marshes in the extreme sw. Peninsulait is
unique among Seaside Sparrows in that it breeds in freshwater marshes.
TIDAL MARSHES also are composed of several different types, depending upon their proximity to
saltwater and their degree of soil salinity. They are found along coastlines with little wave action, along
shores of rivers often many miles (km) upstream, and in protected coves on barrier islands. They are most
extensive along the Gulf coast from Wakulla County to Pasco County, where they occur nearly unbroken
for nearly 200 mi (315 km). The two primary types of salt marshes are composed of often monotypic
stands of needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) and smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora); several
other species are present in high marsh far from saltwater. Very few breeding birds are found in tidal
marshes, primarily Black Rail (high marsh), Clapper Rail, Willet, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat,
Seaside Sparrow (excluding the Cape Sable subspecies), and Red-winged Blackbird.
LACUSTRINE HABITATS (i.e., lakes and ponds) are abundant in the Peninsula and rare in the
Panhandle. No other s. state contains a lake district like that of Florida, and in fact, no state closer than
those adjacent to Canada contains a comparable number of lakes. There are more than 7800 lakes in
Florida greater than 1 ac (0.4 ha) in size. Most of these are small, but five lakes exceed 39 mi 2 (100 km2).
Lake Okeechobee, the fourth-largest natural freshwater lake wholly within the United States, is the
largest, followed by lakes George, Kissimmee, Apopka, and Istokpoga. Most lakes occur along the ridge
systems that run through the cen. Peninsula; appropriately named Lake County contains 1345 lakes and
ponds. Most lakes areor at least historically wererimmed by extensive forests of bays, cypresses, and
other hardwoods, while many ponds are surrounded by willows and other shrubs. Characteristic breeding
birds include Mottled Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Snail Kite, King Rail, Common Moorhen, Purple
Gallinule, Common Yellowthroat, Red-winged Blackbird, and Boat-tailed Grackle.
RIVERINE HABITATS are abundant in Florida, with more than 1700 rivers, creeks, streams, and
sloughs. The longest river is the St. Johns, which winds north for 320 mi (512 km) from Indian River
County before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. Several rivers, creeks, and streams are
spring-fed. Florida contains more than 300 springs, of which 27 are termed first magnitude, which
means they each discharge at least 64 million gallons (242,266 m3) of water daily. The total discharge of
Floridas springs is an estimated 8 billion gallons (30 million m3) of water daily. Florida contains nearly
one-third of all first-magnitude springs in the United States. Extensive riverine habitats are found within
the Apalachicola River and Forests, Green Swamp, and WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub IBAs.
Characteristic breeding birds of rivers and creeks depend primarily upon habitats present. Forested rivers
will contain species found in cypress forests and bayheads, while slow-moving sloughs will contain
species of freshwater marshes.
ESTUARINE HABITATS (e.g., estuaries and bays) represent some of the most significant habitats in
Florida, if defined broadly. Livingston (1990:549) used the term inshore marine habitats and defined
them as any area where sea water is diluted by land runoff. Using this description, he estimated that 3
million ac (1.2 million ha) along the Gulf coast qualified as estuarine habitats. Extensive seagrass beds,
mudflats, oyster bars, and associated communities are prevalent along Floridas w. coast because the Gulf
of Mexico is quite shallow offshore. Characteristic birds of estuarine habitats include waterfowl, Brown
Pelicans, wading birds, shorebirds, and larids; bird use is strongly dependent upon tidal conditions.

28

COASTAL STRAND represents the beachdune habitats that occur, or formerly occurred, abundantly
along Floridas coastlines. Most of this habitat has been destroyed or severely impacted by high-rise
development and heavy recreational use. As a result, breeding birds of coastal strand probably are the
most threatened group of birds in Florida. The most familiar plant on foredunes is seaoat (Uniola
paniculata), but several other grasses and forbs are present. Away from the foredunes, vegetation varies
considerably, dependent upon the location and the extent of wave and wind actions. Backdune vegetation
may include grasslands, wind-sculpted oak scrub, cabbage palm hammocks, tropical hardwood
hammocks, or slash pine flatwoods. Extensive areas with coastal strand habitats are protected on barrier
islands in the Panhandle, along the Atlantic coast (most notably the Guana River and Cape Canaveral
areas), and in scattered remnants in the s. Peninsula. Characteristic breeding birds of coastal dunes and
beaches include American Oystercatcher, Snowy Plover, Wilsons Plover, Laughing Gull, Least Tern,
Royal Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black Skimmer, and Common Ground-Dove. Shorebirds and larids such as
American Oystercatcher, Least Tern, other terns, and Black Skimmer now nest on rooftops (with varying
success) where beaches receive heavy human and dog use.
ARTIFICIAL HABITATS refer to human-modified or human-created areas such as mined areas,
dredged-material spoil islands, parking lots, etc. Two other artificial habitats, pastures and agricultural
fields, are described separately below. Virtually all IBAs in Florida contain some artificial habitatseven
if only a small parking lot or mowed fieldsbut very few sites composed primarily of artificial habitats
were accepted as IBAs. Perhaps the best example of artificial habitats accepted as an IBA are the spoil
islands within Hillsborough Bay, which support highly significant breeding populations of colonial
waterbirds, shorebirds, and larids. Non-Native Pastures are planted with bahiagrass and other exotic
forage grasses and forbs, usually after removal of all or most native vegetation. Surprising as it may
seem, Florida is a significant cattle-producing state, ranked 10th in the number of animals. In 1998, more
than 1 million cow/calf units were supported on 5.5 million ac (2.2 million ha) of native range and
pastureland. Most ranches are in a 10-county area north and west of Lake Okeechobee. The state contains
four of the nations ten largest cattle ranches, including one of the largest, which grazes more than 35,000
cattle on 300,000 ac (120,000 ha). Because pastures are highly disturbed and largely sterile, they are
included in IBAs only when native habitats also are present. Pastureland purchased by conservation
agencies is usually restored to native communities. Depending upon the severity of grazing and other
habitats present, breeding birds may include Northern Bobwhite, Florida Sandhill Crane, Burrowing
Owl, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Mockingbird, and Eastern Meadowlark. Agricultural Fields support
one or more fruit or vegetable crops and very few bird species. The only IBAs in Florida that contain
agricultural fields are those where the farmland is sought for public acquisition and will be restored to
native habitats. The continued expansion of citrus groves into the sw. and s-cen. Peninsula severely
threatens the survival of many prairie and flatwoods species, especially Crested Caracara and Florida
panther.
LAND ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT IN FLORIDA
Several dozen agencies and non-governmental organizations are engaged in acquiring and managing
conservation lands in Florida. The primary agencies and organizations are listed below, with contact
information supplied for most. Refer to Jue et al. (2001) for additional information.
Federal Agencies
U.S. Forest Service
325 John Knox Road, Suite F-100
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
850-523-8500
<http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/florida>

29

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Southeast Regional Office
1875 Century Boulevard
Atlanta, Georgia 30345
404-679-4006
<http://www.fws.gov/southeast/maps/fl.html>
U.S. National Park Service
Southeast Region
100 Alabama Street SW
1924 Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-562-3100
<http://www.nps.gov>
State Agencies
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Recreation and Parks
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard
Mail Station 795
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000
850-488-9872
<http://www.dep.state.fl.us/parks>
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Forestry
3125 Conner Boulevard
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1650
850-488-4274
<http://www.fl-dof.com>
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Division of Wildlife
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600
850-488-3831
<http://myfwc.com>
Northwest Florida Water Management District
81 Water Management Drive
Havana, Florida 32333-4712
850-539-5999
<http://www.nwfwmd.state.fl.us>
St. Johns River Water Management District
P.O. Box 1429
Palatka, Florida 32178-1429
800-451-7106
<http://www.sjrwmd.com>
South Florida Water Management District
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416-4680
800-432-2045

30

<http://www.sfwmd.gov>
Southwest Florida Water Management District
2379 Broad Street
Brooksville, Florida 34604-6899
800-423-1476
<http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us>
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 County Road 49
Live Oak, Florida 32060
800-604-2272
<http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us>
Conservation Organizations
Audubon of Florida
444 Brickell Avenue, Suite 850
Miami, Florida 33131
305-371-6399
<http://www.audubonofflorida.org>
The Nature Conservancy
222 South Westmonte Drive, Suite 300
Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714
407-682-3664
<http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/florida>

SITE NOMINATION PROCESS


Several methods were used to publicize the Florida IBA Program to maximize the number of
nominations. The first of these was a fund-raising letter and generic nomination form mailed in early
1999 to all members of Audubon of Florida. Next was an IBA workshop presented to members of FOS in
spring 1999. Once the Florida IBA Program was underway and the site-selection criteria had been
finalized, the program was broadcast widely. In February 2000, a website went online to allow
downloading of the site-nomination instructions and the nomination form, as well as draft maps that
showed the locations of Floridas IBAs by regions. Additionally, a two-page article about the program
was published in the March 2000 edition of Audubons Florida Naturalist, and a notice was published in
the May 2000 edition of FOSs Florida Field Naturalist. These notices were followed up with letters
mailed to presidents and conservation chairs of Audubons Florida chapters, and field-oriented members
of FOS. Additionally, regular mail or e-mail letters were sent to managers and biologists of national and
state forests, parks, and refuges; wildlife management areas; water management district landholdings;
preserves of The Nature Conservancy; and many others. These letters introduced readers to the Florida
IBA Program and pointed them to the website. Workshops were presented to participants of Audubons
Annual Assemblies in November 2000 and November 2001, and a publicity event at Corkscrew Swamp
Sanctuary in November 2001 helped to launch Audubons IBA Program nationwide.
RESULTS
NOMINATIONS
Overall, 141 sites were nominated as IBAs. Several other sites were mentioned as perhaps deserving IBA
recognition, but few or no data were submitted. Most nominations were from the IBA Coordinator or a

31

biologist associated with the site. Several sites were fast-tracked as IBAs. In these cases, sites that
clearly deserved IBA designation were designated by the Executive Committee despite the lack of a
submitted nomination form. These sites usually were pre-nominated by the IBA coordinator, with
additional data being provided later by one or more local biologists. This process helped to speed up the
IBA selection process somewhat, and ensured that several significant conservation areas in Florida were
included in the IBA Program, even if no formal nomination form was submitted.
SITE-SELECTION
Eight months into the site-nomination period, members of the Executive Committee met for a day-long
meeting at Tall Timbers Research Station in October 2000. During the meeting, 62 sites were discussed;
eight of these were rejected, while the remaining 54 sites were accepted as 32 IBAs. (Sites were
combined into larger IBAs when it made sense from a biological or geographical perspective).
Nominations were received into mid-2002, and the Committee voted at regular intervals, primarily via
electronic communication or conference call. Sites unanimously accepted were designated as IBAs, while
sites for which all votes were negative were dropped from further consideration. Sites that received
mixed votes were discussed until a consensus was reached. The first electronic meeting was in March
2001, when 16 sites were reviewed. Additional meetings were held in April 2001 (17 sites), May 2001
(15 sites), July 2001 (12 sites), August 2001 (11 sites), November 2001 (2 sites), January 2002 (6 sites),
February 2002 (10 sites), March 2002 (6 sites), May 2002 (23 sites), and June 2002 (one site).
Of the 141 sites nominated formally as potential IBAs, 128 (90%) were accepted and combined
into 100 IBAs. The remaining 13 sites (9%) were rejected for insufficient data. IBAs are distributed in 55
(80%) of Floridas 67 counties. Four counties (Brevard, Highlands, Osceola, and Volusia) each contain
seven IBAs, while Lake, Pasco, and Polk counties each contain six. The sole nomination from St. Lucie
County was rejected, and no nominations were submitted from 11 counties: Bradford, Calhoun, Gadsden,
Gilchrist, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Madison, Union, and Washington. All IBAs had to
meet the criteria of at least one of the four primary site-selection categories (pages 000000);
surprisingly, nearly half (47%) of the IBAs met all four categories (Table 6; pages 000000). Floridas
IBAs vary considerably in size, ranging from Pelican Shoal (less than 1 ac; 0.4 ha) to Everglades
National Park and associated wetlands (more than 1.5 million ac; 607,050 ha). All together, Floridas
IBAs encompass more than 10.8 million ac (4.3 million ha) of land and water, which represents about
26% of the states land area. These sites support 442 species of native birds, or 93% of the states
accepted native avifauna (<http://www.fosbirds.org/RecordsCommittee/OfficialStateList.aspx>).
Some IBAs are composed of a single land ownershipa national park or a state forest for
examplewhile others are composed of several ownerships that would not qualify individually (e.g., the
WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub IBA, pages 000000). Most of Floridas IBAs are a mix of public
and private lands; 44 are entirely publicly owned and four (Bright Hour Watershed, Buck Island Ranch,
Kanapaha Prairie, and Red Hills Ecosystem) were entirely in private ownership when accepted as IBAs.
THREATS
Site nominators identified 17 severe or minor threats to Floridas IBAs. These are listed below and
include widespread and well-known threats such as development, human disturbance, exotic plants, and
habitat succession, as well as localized threats that include erosion, raccoons, or cattle grazing. The site
nomination form included three levels of threats: severe, minor, and potential. With a few exceptions,
only existing threats are included in this book, although sea-level rise, a potentially severe threat, is
discussed below. Only 18 IBAs were considered to be free of severe threats during 20002002 (Table 7).
Altered hydrology is common to most of Floridas wetlands systems. As defined here, altered hydrology
is any human-caused disruption of the natural amount, timing, duration, or frequency of water delivery. In
most cases, levees and drainage canals have reduced the amount of surface water available and have

32

decreased the period that lands are flooded. In other cases, the opposite is true, where natural lands are
over-flooded to protect agricultural or inhabited areas. Frequently, both factors are working against
natural systems simultaneously, thereby compounding the problem. Everglades National Park and Lake
Okeechobee are two IBAs severely threatened by altered hydrology.
Bombing and gunnery exercises were considered a minor threat at Avon Park Air Force Range. Livefire bombing and gunnery practice from air- and ground-based weapons systems likely impact
populations of birds living within the active ranges. On the other hand, the frequent ordnance-caused fires
associated with such activities may help maintain populations of fire-dependent species and habitats, most
notably Florida Grasshopper Sparrows.
Cattle grazing was listed as a threat for only two IBAs, Avon Park Air Force Range and Kissimmee
Prairie Preserve State Park, where the threats were considered minor. In both cases, cattle graze seminative prairies occupied by Florida Grasshopper Sparrows. The effects of cattle grazing on sparrow
populations are largely unknown, but some sparrow nests must be trampled by cattle. In most other areas,
cattle graze non-native pastures, which support an extremely limited native avifauna.
Cowbird brood parasitism is not known to be a severe threat in Florida. Populations of birds elsewhere
in the United States (e.g., Least Bells Vireo in California, Black-capped Vireo in Texas, and Kirtlands
Warbler in Michigan) are or have been severely threatened by cowbird brood parasitism, but effects in
Florida appear to be local. However, because populations of breeding birds in Florida evolved without
cowbirds, colonizing populations of Brown-headed Cowbirds from the north, Bronzed Cowbirds from the
Southwest, and Shiny Cowbirds from the Caribbean may pose increasing threats to native breeding
species, especially range-restricted species such as Black-whiskered Vireo and Florida Prairie Warbler.
Development, as defined here, refers to any form of habitat destruction or alteration for human use.
Typically, the term refers to residential, commercial, or industrial construction. However, land uses such
as mining, grazing, agriculture, and silviculture (tree-farming) also were classified as development.
Habitat destruction poses the greatest threat to Floridas native species and communities. Virtually all
IBAs in Florida that are privately owned are under severe threat of development. Even publicly owned
sites are threatened from impacts of offsite development (e.g., agricultural or commercial runoff, feral
cats (Felis domesticus), increased difficulty using fire as a management tool, increased recreational use).
Undoubtedly, many more private properties in Florida that support significant populations of plants and
animals will be destroyed by developmentsuch activities have been occurring for decades.
Discarded monofilament fishing line was listed as a severe threat at several coastal IBAs that support
colonial waterbird rookeries. When birds pick up or fly into fishing line, they often get hooked. If the
hook is not removed before the bird returns to the rookery, it and others can become entangled in the line
and die from strangulation or water deprivation. Monofilament fishing line removal is an annual event at
many coastal wading bird rookeries. (If you are fishing and hook a bird, do not cut the line. Rather, reel in
the bird, push the hook through the skin, cut off the barb, and back out the remainder of the hook through
the wound. Once the hook is removed, release the bird if it appears uninjured, or turn it over to a wildlife
rehabilitation center if the wound appears serious.)
Erosion was listed as a severe threat to several natural or artificial islands in Florida. In some cases,
riprap (e.g., boulders, tires, or other objects placed along the shoreline) can minimize erosion, as can the
planting of marsh grasses and mangroves, or the creation of offshore oyster bars or shoals. Sea-level rise
will greatly exacerbate erosion in Florida.
Exotic animals do not pose the threat to Floridas native flora and fauna that is posed by exotic plants,
but non-captive populations of three domesticated species do pose threats. Feral cats were listed as a

33

severe threat to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (part of the Southern Atlantic Migrant Stopover IBA), and
minor threats to five other IBAs. There are more than 66 million cats in the United States, and more than
40 million of these are allowed to roam freely. It has been estimated that cats in the United States kill
hundreds of millions of birds and more than one billion small mammals annually (American Bird
Conservancy 2010). Feral hogs are a threat to bird populations indirectly by greatly disturbing terrestrial
habitats during foraging. Eurasian wild boars were originally released by the Spaniards in the 1500s.
Domestic pigs have escaped from farms and barn yards, and have interbred with wild boars, so the term
feral hogs is used for all varieties of Sus scrofa. The state population of free-roaming feral hogs, which
occur in all of Floridas 67 counties, was estimated at more than 500,000 in 1983 (Layne 1997). Managers
of most public lands remove feral hogs, but hogs are a prized game species in Florida, so their presence
on some lands (e.g., wildlife management areas) is encouraged to benefit hunters. Free-roaming dogs
(Canis domesticus) were listed as a minor threat to two IBAs: Bay County Beaches and Wekiwa
GEOpark, but unleashed pet dogs are a severe threat to beach-roosting and beach-foraging birds; see the
section on human disturbance, below. Interestingly, exotic birds pose little or no threat to populations of
native birds. Even though many exotic species have been observed free-flying in the state (more than 120
species documented; Pranty in prep.), nearly all of these are restricted to suburban and urban areas.
Population sizes of most exotic birds found in Florida currently number no more than a few hundred
individuals each (e.g., Pranty unpublished). Only three species of exotic birds in Florida are known to be
directly impacting native species: cavity-nesting European Starlings compete with woodpeckers, Great
Crested Flycatchers, and Eastern Bluebirds; House Sparrows may still compete locally with Eastern
Bluebirds; and breeding populations of Mallards hybridize with Mottled Ducks. Moorman and Gray
(1994) estimated that at least 5% of Floridas Mottled Ducks contain Mallard-like plumage
characteristics, and warn that, if no preventative management action [against feral Mallards] is taken, the
Mottled Duck as a discreet entity has a questionable future. The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio
porphyrio), which has become established in parts of the s. Peninsula, is not yet known to be directly
impacting native species or habitats. Exotic birds are prevalent in virtually all of Floridas IBAs, usually
the same two to four speciesRock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, European Starling, and House
Sparrow. Biscayne Bay, south of Miami, contains the largest number of exotic birds of any IBA in
Florida22 species (11 of them parrots)but most of these do not breed onsite. Overall, 44 species of
exotic birds have been reported within the boundaries of Floridas IBAs, but no site nominator considered
any of these species to be a threat.
Exotic plants are a catastrophic problem in Florida, primarily the s. Peninsula, posing the second-greatest
threat to native species and ecosystems. Excepting Hawaii, Florida is plagued with the most severe exotic
plant problem in the United States, with more than $75 million spent annually on their control. It has been
estimated that more than 25,000 species of exotic plants have been imported into Florida, primarily as
ornamentals, and 1200 of these are reproducing on their own. Seventy-one species are ranked as Category
1 exotics, meaning they have the greatest potential to replace native communities (FEPPC 2010). More
than 1.5 million ac (607,050 ha) of the state currently are infested with exotic plants. The most serious of
these are
punktree (Melaleuca quinquenervia) from Australia,
Brazilian pepper (Schinus
terebinthifolius), Australian-pine (Casuarina spp.), Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum),
small-leaf climbing fern (L. microphyllum) from Africa and Asia, and common water-hyacinth
(Eichhornia crassipes) from South America. Punktree is by far the most serious exotic, converting huge
amounts of Everglades marshland into dense monotypic forests. Nearly half of Loxahatchee National
Wildlife Refuges 145,000 ac (58,681 ha) are infested with punktree. To date, more than 2.4 million
punktrees have been removed from the refuge, but these efforts have been largely insufficient: it is
estimated that punktree invades an additional 10 ac (4 ha) every day (Loxahatchee National Wildlife
Refuge website). Japanese climbing fern is a recent invader to southern Florida; coverage increased 328%
from 25,000 ac (10,117 ha) in 1993 to 107,000 ac (43,302 ha) in 1997 (Loxahatchee National Wildlife
Refuge website). Funding for control of invasive exotics in Florida is inadequate, assuring that additional

34

areas will become infested. Compared to adjacent native habitats, Curnutt (1989) documented a greatly
reduced avian richness and lower overall breeding densities in a mature Brazilian pepper stand at
Everglades National Park.
Ground-water extraction from wellfields was listed as major and minor threats to two IBAs in Pasco
County: Central Pasco and J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, respectively. Floridas explosive growth has far
exceeded its ability to provide sufficient water to its residents without negatively impacting the
environment. Predictably, Floridas state and municipal governments repeatedly have chosen to damage
the environment rather than to control growth. Until alternate sources of drinking water become available
(e.g., desalination, reuse of treated wastewater), wellfields will continue to locally impact wetlands. On
the other hand, wellfields protect from development tens of thousands of acres (hectares) of habitats, and
they serve as significant conservation areas in Pasco County and elsewhere.
Habitat succession is a concept that is poorly understood by the public, but is a serious problem in
Florida. Put simply, habitat succession is the process where one plant community changes to another over
time, from either natural or human causes. When land is bulldozed, for instance, it quickly succeeds
from a plot of bare sand to a weedy field, then eventually to some type of forested habitat if not grazed,
mowed, or bulldozed again. Habitat succession is a natural process, but one that has been altered
drastically by humans. In Florida, which receives more lightning strikes than any other region in North
America (Chen and Gerber 1990), most upland habitats evolved with fire, and many of the states plants
and animals require fire periodically for their reproduction and survival. Previously, fires in Florida might
burn for several days or weeks, consuming tens of thousands of acres (or hectares) of habitats. In some
areas, the same site might have burned annually or nearly so for hundreds of years. By building roads, fire
breaks, and other structures, humans have substantially reduced the frequency by which any given patch
of habitat will burn. Habitats that historically were maintained in open conditions from natural fires now
have succeeded to dense forests with extensive under- and mid-story vegetation, or to areas densely
grown to shrubs. Some of Floridas most imperiled birds (e.g., Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Florida
Scrub-Jay, and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow) are those that require frequent burning of their habitats,
and that have declined severely in the absence of fire.
Human disturbance is a threat to virtually all coastal areas that contain beach habitats. Beach-roosting
birds suffer from severe and frequent disturbance by humans and their unleashed dogs. It seems to be an
irresistible impulse to many people for themselves, their children, or their dogs, to intentionally and
repeatedly flush roosting or foraging flocks of shorebirds or larids. At some sites, these flocks are
disturbed dozens of times each day, every day. At important sites where coastal species congregate,
fencing, signage, and education are necessary to keep out humans and their dogs. When these deterrents
fail to protect birds (e.g., when dog owners ignore signs and/or leash laws), then enforcement becomes
necessary. Unfortunately, enforcement is sparse or lacking at most coastal areas where birds are disturbed
frequentlyeven at some FWC Critical Wildlife Areas. Other coastal areas are disturbed by adjacent boat
or jet-ski traffic, or from boaters who anchor too close to nesting colonies. Inland sites also suffer from
similar human disturbance, including those caused by airboat use.
Organochlorine pesticide residues present in soils were listed as a serious threat at Lake Apopka North
Shore Restoration Area, where more than 18,000 ac (7284 ha) of farmland were purchased to clean up
Lake Apopka and to restore large areas of former marshland (e.g., Pranty and Basili 1999). The threat of
pesticide-contaminated fields at Belle Glade resulted in this site being rejected as an IBA, despite the
huge numbers of wading birds and shorebirds that use the fields annually (e.g., Sykes and Hunter 1978).
Pesticides may pose threats to other farmland restoration projects on-going or planned in Florida.
Although the most harmful organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, toxaphene, and dieldrin, have been
banned for several years to a few decades, they may persist in lethal amounts in muck soils for years.

35

Raccoons were considered a severe threat at a few coastal islands that support colonial waterbird
rookeries. Because they are capable of killing adult birds as well as eating their nestlings and eggs, even a
single raccoon can cause the abandonment of a large rookery. Colonial waterbirds seek out islands as
nesting areas because they usually are free of terrestrial predators, but during extremely low tides,
raccoons can colonize new islands. Raccoons found on islands that support significant colonial waterbird
rookeries are removed as quickly as possible.
Runoff is water pollution from any of several sources. Residential and commercial runoff may contain
pesticide residues or motor oil, while agricultural runoff is rich in nutrients such as phosphorus and
nitrogen. When this nutrient-rich water runs into lakes, it can cause blooms of algae, cattails, or other
undesirable plants, and can create serious water-quality problems. Runoff was listed as a minor threat to
several IBAs in Florida, and a severe threat to the Alachua Lakes and Lake Okeechobee IBAs. For
decades, Lake Apopka was the most polluted water body in Florida, due to agricultural runoff.
Sea-level rise is primarily a potential threat. Although sea levels have been rising slowly for decades,
increased sea-level rise could potentially devastate most low-lying coastal areas in Florida. Many barrier
islands and keys could be inundated, while much of the marshland of Everglades National Park may
succeed to mangrove forest. In s. Florida, sea levels have risen about 12 in (30 cm) since 1846, and are
currently rising 816 in (2040 cm) per century, a rate 610 times faster than during the previous 3000
years (http://epa.gov/climatechange/index.html>). A sea-level increase of 20 in (50 cm) over the next 100
years will involve potentially catastrophic losses of land, wildlife, and human structures in Florida. Rising
temperatures are also expected to alter the forest composition of the state, especially if changes in rainfall
amounts and timing also occur. Additionally, warmer oceans will create more and stronger tropical
storms, which may compound the devastating effects to Floridas low-lying areas.
Timber harvesting was considered a severe threat at Camp Blanding, where salvage-logging of dead
pines was believed to be impacting cavity breeders, especially Southeastern American Kestrels.
LIMITATIONS OF THE IBA PROGRAM
Despite its successes around the world with habitat protection, population monitoring, and increased
public awareness of bird conservation efforts, the IBA program cannot accomplish all the goals of
preserving bird populations. Furthermore, limitations related to IBA methodology are inherent within
each program, including such topics as site-selection criteria and boundary designation. Below are some
aspects that may be considered limitations of the Florida IBA Program.
1. To choose IBAs that support listed species, Floridas Executive Committee designated as an IBA any
site that was documented to support at least 1% of the state total of any listed species. While some of
these nominations were provided by biologists studying particular species or groups (Gary Sprandel,
a shorebird biologist, nominated several sites that supported significant shorebird populations), most
sites were nominated by the IBA Coordinator after data were submitted by biologists. As an example,
a review of the Bald Eagle nest GIS coverage resulted in several changes to Florida IBAs (e.g.,
Orange Lake was added to the Alachua Lakes IBA, and Lake Jessup was recognized as an IBA). With
so few participants in the site-nomination process (e.g., no environmental consultants or other land
surveyors were involved), it seems likely that other sources of data that could have allowed additional
sites to be recognized as IBAs were never brought to the IBA Coordinators attention.
2. Colonially-breeding species and winter-flocking species were emphasized heavily because large
numbers of conspicuous birds are relatively easy to count. In contrast, Neotropical migrants and other
non-colonial species are far less represented. However, choosing large areas of natural habitats within
IBAs in Florida probably allowed significant numbers of virtually all of the states native birds to be
protected, even if these species or groups were not specifically mentioned.

36

3. Some population data used in Tables 1 and 4 were gathered in the 1970s or 1980s and probably are
now extremely outdated. The 1983 statewide estimate of 1600 pairs of Ospreys, for example, likely is
a great underestimate of current numbers. The increase in Bald Eagle nests in the past 25+ years may
support this belief. During 19801984, the mean number of eagle nests in the state was 362, whereas
the number of nests in 2001 was 1102 (Nesbitt 2001b). The elimination of DDT and other
organochlorine pesticides is thought responsible for this dramatic resurgence in eagle numbers, and it
seems likely that Floridas Osprey population has rebounded similarly. The statewide estimate of
Wilsons Plovers (>300 birds), a species never formally censused in the state, also seems to be an
underestimate. The data in Table 1 perhaps can be used to prioritize the list of species for which
current statewide population data should be determined.
4. Statewide populations of some colonial breeding species vary considerably from one year to the next,
often due to weather-related events (e.g., during years of extreme drought, wading birds may leave
Florida to breed farther north). As a result, the percentage of the statewide population occurring
within IBAs (Table 3, pages 000000) exceeded 100% for several species. For species whose
breeding populations were restricted to IBAs (e.g., most larids), we used IBA data to determine the
statewide population. For other species (e.g., White Ibis), we used the most recent population data to
determine the percentage of the population found within IBAs, even if this figure exceeded 100%.
5. Neotropical species migrate at night, often in flocks numbering in the tens of thousands or hundreds
of thousands of individuals. However, they disperse widely during the day, so counts of dozens to
hundreds of Neotropical migrants were used for IBA purposes, even though these totals do not meet
the 1% thresholds reserved for other species. The importance of Floridas coastal hammocks and
mangrove forests to Neotropical migrants that just completed an over-water flight of several hundred
miles (and kilometers) is undisputed, and the Executive Committee recognized the importance of
several sites.
6. Site-selection categories 3 and 4 are somewhat subjective, in contrast to categories 1 and 2, which are
well-defined. A site-selection criterion based on significant natural habitats likely will remain
subjective, but the species-richness criterion could be defined for certain groups of birds (e.g.,
waterfowl, shorebirds, wood-warblers, and perhaps sparrows). Future site-selection efforts may wish
to choose a particular percentage (perhaps 85 or 90%) of the species richnesss that occurs regularly in
Florida.
7. Based upon data summarized in Table 3, it is clear that the Florida IBA Program failed to adequately
protect a few species. Of the 40 species or subspecies included in Table 3, IBAs account for less than
half of the statewide totals for 14 species, and less than 25% for four species (Short-tailed Hawk, 6%;
Crested Caracara, 23%; Florida Sandhill Crane, 7%, and Burrowing Owl, 0%). The lack of
significant populations of Burrowing Owls within IBAs can be explained by the tendency for owls to
use human-modified habitats (Bowen 2001), possibly combined with insufficient surveys on several
large properties that likely support significant populations. Another possibility is that the population
estimate of 3,00010,000 pairs greatly exaggerated the actual number of owls present, thereby
preventing sites from being recognized as IBAs. The small percentage of the populations of Shorttailed Hawks, Crested Caracaras, and Florida Sandhill Cranes within IBAs may also reflect
insufficient data from large properties. Future IBA efforts in Florida should specifically target sites
that may support significant populations of these under-represented species.
8. Because site nominations were being received at a slow rate, a top-down approach was taken,
whereby the IBA Coordinator nominated or pre-nominated dozens of sites and then sought local
assistance and review. Similar top-down approaches were undertaken in California (Cooper 2001)
and Georgia (J. Wilson pers. comm.) for the same reason. It is hoped that participation in the Florida
IBA process will be rejuvenated now that sites have been selected and this book has been published.
Local individuals or groups can volunteer to lead bird walks, assist with bird surveys or update bird
checklists, remove trash or exotic plants and replant native vegetation, lobby for the purchase of
private properties adjacent to IBAs, or assist agency staff with site management or improvement in
other ways.

37

FLORIDA IBAs BY COUNTY


Alachua
Alachua Lakes, Goethe State Forest, Kanapaha Prairie, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, San
Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
Baker
Osceola National ForestOkefenokee Swamp
Bay
Bay County Beaches
Bradford
No nomination submitted
Brevard
Brevard Scrub Ecosystem, Cape CanaveralMerritt Island, St. Johns River National Wildlife Refuge,
St. Sebastian River State Buffer Preserve, Turkey Creek Sanctuary, Upper St. Johns River Basin,
William Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve
Broward
Northern Everglades, Southern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
Calhoun
No nomination submitted
Charlotte
BabcockWebb
Citrus
ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee, Citrus County Spoil Islands, Crystal River Tidal Marshes,
WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub
Clay
Camp BlandingJennings
Collier
ABC Islands, Big Cypress Swamp Watershed, Big Marco Pass, Corkscrew Swamp Watershed,
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Columbia
Osceola National ForestOkefenokee Swamp
De Soto
Myakka River Watershed
Dixie
Big Bend Ecosystem
Duval

38

Duval and Nassau Tidal Marshes, Huguenot ParkNassau Sound, Northern Atlantic Migrant
Stopover
Escambia
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Flagler
Lake Disston, Northern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
Franklin
Apalachicola River and Forests, Dog IslandLanark Reef, Greater Apalachicola Bay
Gadsden
No nomination submitted
Gilchrist
No nomination submitted
Glades
Fisheating Creek Watershed, Kissimmee Lake and River, Lake Okeechobee
Gulf
Apalachicola River and Forests, St. Joseph Bay
Hamilton
No nomination submitted
Hardee
Highlands HammockCharlie Creek
Hendry
Lake Okeechobee
Hernando
ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee, Withlacoochee State Forest
Highlands
Avon Park Air Force RangeBombing Range Ridge, Buck Island Ranch, Fisheating Creek
Watershed, Highlands HammockCharlie Creek, Kissimmee Lake and River, Lake Istokpoga, Lake
Wales Ridge
Hillsborough
Cockroach BayTerra Ceia, Hillsborough Bay, Lower Tampa Bay
Holmes
No nomination submitted
Indian River
St. Sebastian River Buffer Preserve State Park, Upper St. Johns River Basin
Jackson

39

No nomination submitted
Jefferson
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Lafayette
No nomination submitted
Lake
Emeralda Marsh, Green Swamp Ecosystem, Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area, Lake Wales
Ridge, Ocala National ForestLake George, WekivaOcala Greenway, Wekiwa Basin GEOpark
Lee
BabcockWebb, Cayo CostaPine Island, Corkscrew Swamp Watershed, J.N. Ding Darling
National Wildlife Refuge, Little Estero Lagoon
Leon
Apalachicola River and Forests, Lake Lafayette
Levy
Big Bend Ecosystem, Goethe State Forest
Liberty
Apalachicola River and Forests
Madison
No nomination submitted
Manatee
Cockroach BayTerra Ceia, Lower Tampa Bay, Myakka River Watershed, Sarasota Bay
Marion
Alachua Lakes, Emeralda Marsh, Ocala National ForestLake George, WithlacoocheePanasoffkee
Big Scrub
Martin
Lake Okeechobee, Loxahatchee River and Slough
Miami-Dade
Big Cypress Swamp Watershed, Biscayne Bay, Everglades National Park, Northern Everglades
Monroe
Big Cypress Swamp Watershed, Dry Tortugas National Park, Everglades National Park, Florida Keys
Ecosystem, Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, Key West National Wildlife Refuge,
Pelican Shoal
Nassau
Duval and Nassau Tidal Marshes, Huguenot ParkNassau Sound, Northern Atlantic Migrant
Stopover
Okaloosa

40

Blackwater River State Forest, Eglin Air Force Base


Okeechobee
Disney Wilderness Preserve, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Kissimmee Lake and River,
Lake Okeechobee
Orange
Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area, Lake Mary JaneUpper Econ Mosaic, Upper St. Johns
River Basin, Wekiwa Basin GEOpark, William Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve
Osceola
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Kissimmee Lake and River, Lake Mary JaneUpper Econ
Mosaic, Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Wales Ridge, Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies, Upper St. Johns
River Basin
Palm Beach
Lake Okeechobee, Loxahatchee River and Slough, Northern Everglades, Southern Atlantic Migrant
Stopover
Pasco
Central Pasco, ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee, Coastal Pasco, Green Swamp Ecosystem, Gulf Islands
GEOpark, J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park
Pinellas
Clearwater HarborSt. Joseph Bay, Dogleg Key, Gulf Islands GEOpark, Lower Tampa Bay
Polk
Avon Park Air Force RangeBombing Range Ridge, Disney Wilderness Preserve, Green Swamp
Ecosystem, Kissimmee Lake and River, Lake HancockUpper Peace River, Lake Wales Ridge
Putnam
Ocala National ForestLake George
St. Johns
Matanzas Inlet and River, Northern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
St. Lucie
No nomination accepted
Santa Rosa
Blackwater River State Forest, Eglin Air Force Base, Gulf Islands National Seashore
Sarasota
Myakka River Watershed, Oscar Scherer State Park, Sarasota and Roberts Bays
Seminole
Lake Jessup, Upper St. Johns River Basin, Wekiwa Basin GEOpark
Sumter
Green Swamp Ecosystem, WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub

41

Suwannee
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Taylor
Big Bend Ecosystem, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Union
No nomination submitted
Volusia
Cape CanaveralMerritt Island, Ocala National ForestLake George, Lake Woodruff National
Wildlife Refuge, Northern Atlantic Migrant Stopover, Upper St. Johns River Basin, Volusia County
Colony Islands, WekivaOcala Greenway
Wakulla
Apalachicola River and Forests, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Walton
Eglin Air Force Base, Walton County Beaches
Washington
No nomination submitted

42

THE IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS OF FLORIDA

43

WESTERN PANHANDLE

1. Bay County Beaches


2. Blackwater River State Forest
3. Eglin Air Force Base
4. Gulf Islands National Seashore
5. St. Joseph Bay
6. Walton County Beaches not on map

44

1. BAY COUNTY BEACHES


Crooked Island (1906 ac; 771 ha) and Shell Island (1162 ac; 470 ha), including parts of St. Andrews
State Park and Tyndall Air Force Base
Bay County
3068 ac (1248 ha)

LOCATION: From St. Andrews State Park to Mexico Beach in se. Bay County.
DESCRIPTION: Two peninsulas (not islands) connected to the mainland. Crooked Island is a highly
dynamic beach that consists of two separate peninsulas known as East Crooked Island and West
Crooked Island. Each is about 5 mi (8 km) in length. Crooked Island has been designated as a Critical
Wildlife Area by FWC, and has been designated by USFWS as Critical Habitat for Piping Plover.
Shell Island was formed when a pass was dredged along its w. edge. It is about 6 mi (9.6 km) long.
Its e. end is accessible through Tyndall Air Force Base. The park receives 117,000 recreationists
annually.
OWNERSHIP: Crooked Island: U.S. Air Force (Tyndall Air Force Base). Shell Island: U.S. Air Force (e.
portion; Tyndall Air Force Base), DEP (w. portion; St. Andrews State Park), and private owners
(middle portion).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, tidal marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of shorebirds, especially Snowy and Piping plovers.
Rudimentary bird lists are available.
Crooked Island
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover

DATES
winter 19931994
JanFeb 2001
winter 19931994

NUMBERS
28 birds
15 birds
8 birds

STATUS
7% (R)
3% (R)
1% (W)

DATES
winter 19931994
JanFeb 2001
winter 19931994
JanFeb 2001

NUMBERS
19 birds
45 birds
47 birds
16 birds

STATUS
4% (R)
11% (R)
8% (W)
3% (W)

Shell Island
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover

Data from Sprandel et al. (1997) and from Gary Sprandel (FWC). See also Gore and Chase (1989).

OTHER RESOURCES: West Crooked Island and Shell Island contain Choctawhatchee beach mice
(Peromyscus polionotus allophrys) and East Crooked Island contains St. Andrew beach mice (P.
p. peninsularis), both Endangered subspecies. Sea turtles nest along the beaches.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *habitat succession, feral cats, feral dogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The islands are mostly within Tyndall Air Force Base but are not used for
military activities. The far e. end of East Crooked Island is privately owned. Parts of West Crooked
Island are used for recreation by military personnel, and other parts are accessible to the public.

45

Dogs are prohibited on public lands but enforcement is spotty. Coyotes (Canis latrans) and feral
cats and dogs are removed when encountered.
NOMINATED BY: Gary Sprandel (FWC).
REVIEWED BY: Nadine Craft (DEP), George Wallace (FWC), Patty Kelly (USFWS), Ron Houser (Bay
County Audubon), and Shelley Yancey (DEP).

2. BLACKWATER RIVER STATE FOREST


Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties
189,594 ac (76,728 ha)

LOCATION: From the Alabama state line to U.S. Highway 90 in ne. Santa Rosa County and nw. Okaloosa
County. Nearly contiguous with the Eglin Air Force Base IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: A dominant land feature of the w. Panhandle. The largest state forest in Florida, it was
originally purchased by the federal government beginning in the 1930s. It receives 197,000
recreational and 15,000 hunter user-days annually.
OWNERSHIP: DOF; co-managed by FWC as Blackwater Wildlife Management Area.
HABITATS: *sandhills, longleaf pine flatwoods, pine plantation, fields, agricultural fields, cypress
swamp, hardwood swamp, bayhead, freshwater marsh, riverine, lacustrine, seepage slope (pitcher
plant bog), artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *hunting, *timber production, recreation, fish hatchery.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, FCREPA, and Watch List species; significant
numbers of wintering sparrows; complete avian richness of longleaf pine flatwoods; significant
natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and all other species of
longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills. When lake levels are reduced, migrant shorebirds can be
common.
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Bachmans Sparrow
Henslows Sparrow

DATES
2001
Jul 2002
2001
2000
2000

NUMBERS
6 pairs
34 clusters
5.9 birds/BBS route
46.8 birds/BBS route
significant population

STATUS
1% (B)
3% (R)
(R)
(R)
(W)

Sparrow data from Robinson and Tucker (2000), all other data from Mike Wilson (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Blackwater River State Forest, Eglin Air Force Base, and Conecuh National Forest
(in Alabama) contain the greatest coverage of old-growth longleaf pine in the world. Significant
plant species include whitetop pitcherplant (Sarraceniea leucophylla), Panhandle lily (Lilium
iridollae), and dwarf witchalder (Fothergilla gardenii), while significant animals include pine
barrens treefrog (Hyla andersonii) and gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). The forest contains
the largest expanse of sandhills, longleaf pine upland forests, and seepage slopes in state ownership.
The Blackwater River flows through the forest for approximately 30 mi (48 km). It is a rare sandbottom stream that has been protected in its natural state since the mid1930s. DEP has classified the
river as an Outstanding Florida Waterway to acknowledge its high water quality and wildlife
populations.
THREAT: exotic plants.

46

CONSERVATION ISSUES: Priority is given to management and enhancement of the longleaf pine
threeawn ecosystem. Management activities include prescribed fire at 25 year intervals, and
restoration of slash pine plantations to longleaf pine forests. In addition, priority is given to protection
of embedded natural communities (e.g., seepage slopes, baygall) and wetlands. The number of Redcockaded Woodpeckers clusters is increasing.
NOMINATED BY: Mike Wilson (FWC).
REVIEWED BY: Barbara Stedman.

3. EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE


Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties
463,448 ac (187,557 ha)

LOCATION: Between the Yellow River and the Gulf of Mexico in se. Santa Rosa County, s. Okaloosa
County, and sw. Walton County. Approximately 52 mi (83 km) east to west and 18 mi (28 km) north
to south. Nearly contiguous with the Blackwater River State Forest IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: Formerly Choctawhatchee National Forest, but converted to military use during World
War II. The U.S. Air Force uses the base to test and develop conventional munitions on 60,000 ac
(24,282 ha) of test ranges.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Air Force.
HABITATS: *sandhills, *riverine, *coastal strand, longleaf pine flatwoods, pine plantation, sand pine
scrub, fields, hardwood swamp, bayhead, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *military training, recreation, hunting, timber production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Threatened species; complete avian
richness of coastal strand and longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills; significant shorebird richness;
significant natural habitats; long-term monitoring.
AVIAN DATA: Supports the fourth-largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in the world, as well
as all other species of longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills. It also supports the second-greatest
richness of native birds in Florida.
SPECIES
Southeastern American Kestrel
Snowy Plover
Shorebird richness
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
2000
1989
JanFeb 2001
undated list
2000
undated list
undated list

NUMBERS
74 nests
53 nests
20 birds
38 species
301 clusters
36 species
324 species

STATUS
small sample (R)
26% (R)
5% (R)
(M)
23% (R)
(M)
2nd most species-rich IBA

Kestrel data from researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, plover data from Gore and Chase (1989) and
provided by Jeff Gore (FWC), other data from Bruce Hagedorn (U.S. Air Force).

OTHER RESOURCES: The largest forested military installation in the United States. Recognized by The
Nature Conservancy as an area of global significance for biodiversity, supporting 34 natural
communities. Eglin supports 121 listed species, including numerous Florida endemics: 73 plants, 10
fishes, 10 terrestrial reptiles and amphibians, 5 marine reptiles (sea turtles), 14 birds, 3 terrestrial
mammals, and 6 marine mammals (5 whales). It encompasses nearly the entire range of two stateendemic vertebrates: Florida bog frog (Rana okaloosae) and Okaloosa darter (a fish; Etheostoma
okaloosae), and supports 5% of Floridas black bears (Ursus americanus). A low density of sea

47

turtles nests on Santa Rosa and Okaloosa islands. From 1992 to 1997, numbers of nests along 17 mi
(27 km) of beach ranged from 016 green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests and 1732 loggerhead
sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nests. Perhaps only 5000 ac (2023 ha) of old-growth longleaf pine
remain in the world, with 1712 ac (692 ha) found in four tracts at Eglin, the largest contiguous
acreage of old-growth longleaf pine surviving. The largest tract, Patterson Natural Area, is 928 ac
(375 ha) and contains trees that on average are 130 years old and 16 in (40 cm) in diameter at breast
height. Patterson Natural Area recently has been enlarged to nearly 4500 ac (1821 ha). Barrier
islands are found in three separate areas of the base: 13 mi (20 km) of Santa Rosa Island, 4 mi (6.4
km) of Santa Rosa Island, and 3 mi (4.8 km) at Eglin Air Force Base Test Site (part of the St. Joseph
Bay IBA, pages 000000). The Nature Conservancy has rated Santa Rosa and Okaloosa islands as the
highest quality barrier islands in w. Florida and Alabama because of the absence of human
disturbance and exotic plants, and the presence of rare floral and faunal species. Cultural resources
also are present.
THREATS: *habitat succession, *feral hogs, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Management issues balance military use, recreational use, forest use, and
ecosystem protection. Forest management practices are moving toward uneven-aged stands of
longleaf pine. Most timbering is for removal of sand pines and pine plantations. Prescribed fire was
applied to more than 202,000 ac (81,749 ha) between 1993 and 1997. Sandhills restoration activities
involve mechanically removing sand pines and hardwoods, replanting longleaf pine (8 million
seedlings planted between 1993 and 2001), and annually burning more than 40,000 ac (16,188 ha),
mostly during the growing season. Several exotic plants are present, with Chinese tallowtree
(Sapium sebiferum) and cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) posing the most severe threats. Control
measures are underway. Feral hogs are controlled by hunting. Collisions between birds and
aircraft (Bird Air Strike Hazard; BASH) are the focus of the Bird Hazard Working Group. BASH
events at Eglin are considered sporadic and have required lethal control for only short periods.
Most of the collisions involve Cattle Egrets and Ring-billed Gulls.
NOMINATED BY: Bruce Hagedorn (U.S. Air Force).
Eglin Air Force Base Test Site at Cape San Blas, a non-contiguous part of Eglin Air Force Base, is
included in the St. Joseph Bay IBA, on pages 000000.

4. GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE


Big Lagoon State Park (730 ac; 295 ha), Big Sabine Point (107 ac; 43 ha), and Gulf Islands National
Seashore (24,795 ac; 10,034 ha, with 5842 ac [2364 ha] of land)
Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties
25,812 ac (10,446 ha)

LOCATION: Much of the barrier islands and offshore waters in s. Escambia, s. Santa Rosa, and s.
Okaloosa counties. Much of e. Santa Rosa Island is part of Eglin Air Force Base, but the national
seashore includes the inshore and offshore waters. The 1378-ac (557-ha) Naval Live Oaks Area and
the 1041-ac (420-ha) Perdido Key Area are within the seashore. Big Lagoon State Park, on the
mainland southwest of Pensacola, includes frontage along the n. shoreline of Big Lagoon. Big Sabine
Point is on the n. side of Santa Rosa Island.
DESCRIPTION: Two separate sections of coastline, one in Mississippi and the other in w. Florida (the
anticipated link in Alabama never materialized). At 98,000 ac (39,660 ha) overall, it is the largest
national seashore in the United States, but about 80% is composed of submerged lands. The Florida
section protects barrier island beaches and historic coastal fortifications. It receive 5.1 million

48

recreationists annually, while the state park receives 168,000 recreationists. No information other than
avian data were provided for Big Lagoon State Park or Big Sabine Point.
OWNERSHIP: USNPS (Gulf Islands National Seashore), DEP (Big Lagoon State Park), and private
owners (Big Sabine Point).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, *tidal marsh, *sand pine scrub, estuarine, temperate hammock, sawgrass
marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; exceptional richness;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports an extremely high richness of species, the result of its size, location, and diversity
of habitats. It supports one of Floridas largest remaining breeding populations of Snowy Plovers.
Coastal hammocks support numbers of Neotropical migrants.
Big Lagoon State Park
SPECIES
Snowy Plover

DATES
JanFeb 2001

NUMBERS
7 birds

STATUS
1% (R)

DATES
JanFeb 2001
JanFeb 2001

NUMBERS
19 birds
4 birds

STATUS
3% (R)
<1% (W)

Data from Patty Kelly (USFWS).


Big Sabine Point
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Data from Patty Kelly (USFWS).
Gulf Islands National Seashore
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Wilsons Plovers
Least Tern
*Black Skimmer
Native richness

DATES
20002002
Feb 2002
annual
8 Jun 1999
2001
8 Jun 1999
1998 list

NUMBERS
mean of 32 nests
4 birds
13 nests
20 pairs
336 birds
11 pairs
310 species

STATUS
16% (R)
<1% (W)
1% (B)
<1% (B)
(NB)
<1% (B)
Includes Mississippi portion; perhaps the
5th most species-rich IBA

1999 larid data from Hovis and Sprandel (1999); other data from Gail Bishop and Mark Nicholas (USNPS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Protects 26.2 mi (41.9 km) of Gulf shoreline and 27.7 mi (44.3 km) of bay
shoreline. It also includes historic fortifications of Fort Pickens.
THREATS: *human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Signs have been placed along County Road 399 on Santa Rosa Island to reduce
vehicle mortality of nesting shorebirds and larids. Feral cats and coyotes are controlled as needed.
NOMINATED BY: Gail Bishop (USNPS) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Mark Nicholas (USNPS) and Big Lagoon State Park biologist.

5. ST. JOSEPH BAY

49

Blacks Island (7 ac; 2.8 ha), Eglin Air Force Base Test Site (500 ac; 202 ha), Palm Point (100 ac; 40
ha), Pig Island (46 ac; 18 ha), St. Joseph Bay Buffer CARLFF Project (5378 ac [2176 ha], with
2115 ac [855 ha] acquired as St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve), and T.H. Stone Memorial St.
Joseph Peninsula State Park (2516 ac; 1018 ha)
Gulf County
8547 ac (3458 ha), with 5284 ac (2138 ha) acquired

LOCATION: At the elbow of the Panhandle in sw. Gulf County.


DESCRIPTION: Several public ownerships and sites sought for public acquisition surrounding and
forming St. Joseph Bay, a state-designated aquatic preserve. Blacks Island is a small privatelyowned island in s. St. Joseph Bay. Eglin Air Force Base Test Site, at the s. end of the St. Joseph
Peninsulaknown as Cape San Blasis used by the military, primarily for radar calibration and
missile testing. Palm Point is private land along the n. shore of St. Joseph Sound. Pig Island is
immediately east of the state park and is part of St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. St. Joseph Bay
State Buffer Preserve is a state acquisition project that protects the e. shore of St. Joseph Bay, as
well as a few miles (km) of coast between Cape San Blas and Indian Peninsula. No data were
provided for this site. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park occupies most of a
long, narrow peninsula jutting north from Cape San Blas for more than 15 mi (24 km). Visitation to
the state park is 145,400 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Air Force (Eglin Air Force Base Test Site), USFWS (Pig Island), Florida Division of
Marine Resources (St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve), DEP (T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph
Peninsula State Park), and private owners (Blacks Island, other remaining acreage of the St. Joseph
Bay Buffer CARLFF Project, and Palm Point).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, *temperate hammock, *slash pine flatwoods, *sand pine scrub, sawgrass
marsh, tidal marsh, estuarine, coastal grasslands, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *low-impact military use, private owners (planned development).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA species;
significant numbers of raptors; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Regionally important for breeding Brown Pelicans (Blacks Island), breeding Snowy
Plovers (Palm Point), wintering shorebirds, migrant raptors, and Neotropical migrants (state park).
Blacks Island is the only site in Florida where Brown Pelicans nest in the tops of palms. Beaches at
Cape San Blas and the state park have been designated by USFWS as Critical Habitat for the Piping
Plover. The n. end of the state park frequently supports large numbers of roosting larids, and has
supported nesting Least Terns.
Blacks Island
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron

DATE
May 2000
May 2000
May 2000

NUMBERS
100 pairs
50 pairs
50 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
(B)
(B)

NUMBERS
3 birds
26 birds
23 pairs

STATUS
<1% (R)
4% (W)
<1% (B)

Data from Tammy Summers (Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve).


Eglin Air Force Base Test Site
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Least Tern

DATE
31 Aug 1999
1 Feb 1994
16 Jul 1999

50

Palm Point
SPECIES
Snowy Plover

DATE
1989

NUMBERS
6 pairs

STATUS
3% (R)

NUMBERS
1500 birds
450 birds
2561 birds
39 birds
2 birds
179 species

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
9% (R)
<1% (W)

Data from Gore and Chase (1989).


T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
SPECIES
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Raptors
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Native richness

DATE
10 Oct 1976
10 Aug 1988
25 Sep13 Nov 1976
26 Jul 2000
JanFeb 2001
Oct 1982 list

Raptor data from Barbara and Stephen Stedman; see also Stedman (1984); Piping Plover data from Patty Kelly
(USFWS); other data from Jimmy Butler (FWC). See also Gore and Chase (1989).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Blacks Island: Pottery shards and shell tools dating from the Fort Walton and Weedon Island
cultural periods have been found. Eglin Air Force Base Test Site: From 1994 to 1997, between 25
and 53 loggerhead sea turtles nested on the beach annually. T.H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State
Park is one of only six parts in Florida that has a Wilderness Preserve designation, and it contains
some of the best remaining beach dune habitat in the state. Vast numbers of sea turtles nest along
the beach, mostly loggerhead sea turtles with occasional nesting by green turtles and leatherback
turtles (Dermochelys coriacea; DEP 2000). The wilderness preserve contains a population of St.
Andrew beach mice, an Endangered subspecies.
Gopher tortoises were extirpated before
acquisition began in 1964; the potential for reintroduction is being explored. Six cultural sites are
known, but most are in fair to poor condition because of erosion and looting (DEP 2000). The park
is excellent for observing migrating dragonflies and butterflies (Sprandel 2001).
THREATS: *human disturbance, *development, *erosion, exotic plants, feral cats, cowbird brood
parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Blacks Island is privately owned and a proposed development includes 14
residences and a restaurant. The bird nesting area is proposed as a posted conservation area, but
preparation for development already has disturbed the colony. The island is sought for public
acquisition as part of the St. Joseph Bay Buffer CARLFF Project. The beach at Eglin Air Force
Base Test Site is open to public recreation. The site contains 3 mi (4.8 km) of Gulf frontage, but parts
are suffering from severe erosion; 30 ft (9 m) were lost in 1993 alone. The main concern at the Test
Site is from 4-wheel drive trucks and ATVs that have damaged the dunes and have affected nesting
birds and sea turtles. Efforts are underway to manage off-road use and to post critical shorebird
nesting areas. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park: Unauthorized access from
boaters disturbs beach-nesting and -roosting species. Other sensitive areas are posted to control or
prevent human access. The s. portion of the park has been identified as one of the most critically
eroding areas in Florida, due mostly to tropical storm activity. A large area of sand pine scrub is
found in the wilderness preserve. The fire management plan is to allow the area to burn naturally
when a fire occurs there, but the site will not be prescribed-burned. Other habitats are burned at
intervals between 325 years. Coyotes and feral cats are removed when encountered, and exotic
plants are removed as needed.

51

Palm Point was identified by Gore and Chase (1989) as important habitat for Snowy Plovers. No
other data are known for the site, and it is not included within the St. Joseph Bay Buffer CARLFF
Project boundaries. If the site continues to support Snowy Plovers, then perhaps it should be
considered for public acquisition.
NOMINATED BY: Gary Sprandel (FWC) and Tammy Summers (Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve).
REVIEWED BY: Jeff Gore, Karen Lamonte, and George Wallace (all FWC), and Anne Harvey (DEP).

6. WALTON COUNTY BEACHES


Camp Creek Inlet (100 ac; 40 ha), Deer Lake State Park (1994 ac; 806 ha), and Topsail Hill Preserve
State Park (1642 ac; 664 ha)
3736 ac (1541 ha), with 3636 ac (1501 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Two separate coastal areas in s. Walton County.


DESCRIPTION: Three parcels (two adjacent) along the Gulf of Mexico 11.5 mi (18.4 km) apart that
preserve significant portions of some of the most scenic and diverse coastal habitats in the region,
including several freshwater lakes just inland of the coastal dunes. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
and Deer Lake State Park are part of a much larger South Walton County Ecosystem CARLFF
Project that also includes Point Washington State Forest (15,101 ac; 6111 ha) that is not contained
within the IBA. The state parks were acquired through eminent domain, which explains the high cost
of acquisition ($223 million). Annual visitation for Deer Lake State Park is 10,000. No information
other than avian data was provided for Camp Creek Inlet and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (Deer Lake State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park), private owners (Camp
Creek Inlet).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, *coastal lakes, pine flatwoods, sand pine scrub, sandhills, basin swamp, tidal
marsh, freshwater marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of Snowy Plovers.
Camp Creek Inlet
SPECIES
Snowy Plover

DATES
JanFeb 2001

NUMBERS
14 birds

STATUS
3% (R)

DATES
JanFeb 2001

NUMBERS
9 birds

STATUS
2% (R)

Data from Patty Kelly (USFWS).


Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
SPECIES
Snowy Plover

Data from Patty Kelly (USFWS). See also Gore and Chase (1989).

OTHER RESOURCES: Supports Choctawhatchee beach mice and sea turtles. The coastal dune lakes are
unique to Florida, and are a critically imperiled habitat. The CARLFF Project contains 13 rare

52

plants, six rare animals, 14 natural communities, and seven archaeological sites, many within the
state parks. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park preserves about 3 mi (4.8 km) of coastline and two
coastal dune lakes.
THREATS: *development, *human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Deer Lake State Park contains no designated trails, which causes people to
walk all over the dunes. Boardwalks over the dunes should be developed to protect the fragile dune
ecosystem. The park contains no breeding Snowy Plovers even though the habitat is suitable; human
disturbance may be a factor. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park contains remnant Red-cockaded
Woodpecker cavities, but no woodpeckers currently. The management plan emphasizes restoring
flatwoods to support a reintroduced population of woodpeckers.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon) and George Wallace (FWC), information from Tova Spector
(DEP).

53

EASTERN PANHANDLE

7. Apalachicola River and Forests


8. Dog IslandLanark Reef
9. Greater Apalachicola Bay
10. Lake Lafayette
11. Red Hills Ecosystem
12. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

54

7. APALACHICOLA RIVER AND FORESTS


Apalachicola National Forest (569,596 ac; 230,515 ha), Apalachicola River Water Management
Area (35,506 ac; 14,369 ha), Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area (60,132 ac;
24,335 ha), and Tates Hell State Forest (202,414 ac [80,495 ha], with 158,756 ac [64,248 ha]
acquired)
Franklin, Gulf, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla counties
864,135 ac (349,715 ha), with 823,990 ac (333,468 ha) acquired

LOCATION: From the Apalachicola River nearly to Tallahassee, in Franklin County, e. Gulf County, sw.
Leon County, s. Liberty County, and w. Wakulla County. Contiguous with the St. Marks National
Wildlife Refuge IBA to the east.
DESCRIPTION: A huge forested area that represents the largest IBA in n. Florida. It is 50 mi (80 km) eastto-west and 38 mi (60 km) north-to-south. Apalachicola National Forest is divided into two Ranger
Districts: Apalachicola and Wakulla. Established in 1936, it is one of Floridas largest and most
significant conservation areas. It receives 486,000 visitor days for recreationists, and 184,000
hunter user days annually. Tates Hell State Forest is a large area south of, and contiguous with,
Apalachicola National Forest. Public acquisition began in 1992, and more than 150,000 ac (60,705
ha) have been purchased to date, at a cost of more than $100 million. No information was provided
for Apalachicola River Water Management Area or Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental
Area.
OWNERSHIP: USFS (Apalachicola National Forest), FWC (Apalachicola River Wildlife and
Environmental Area), DOF (Tates Hell State Forest, co-managed by FWC as Tates Hell Wildlife
Management Area), and Northwest Florida WMD (Apalachicola River Water Management Area).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *pine plantation, *pine savanna, *sandhills, *cypress swamp,
*hardwood swamp, *bayhead, *riverine, freshwater marsh, lacustrine, coastal strand.
LAND USE: *conservation, *timber production, *hunting, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Special Concern, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; complete avian richness of longleaf pine flatwoods and savannas; significant numbers of
wintering sparrows; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Critical for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, with 638 active clusters. Apalachicola National
Forest alone supports the worlds largest population, with 611 clustersrepresenting nearly half of
Floridas population, and 12% of the overall population. The national forest also supports large
numbers of other species of longleaf pine flatwoods and savannas, including Henslows Sparrows,
which are locally abundant winter residents. Tates Hell State Forest supports significant populations
of breeding Swallow-tailed Kites and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. No bird list is yet available for
Tates Hell State Forest.
Apalachicola National Forest
SPECIES
Yellow Rail
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Sedge Wren
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Bachmans Sparrow

DATES
annual
since 1991
1999
annual
annual
22 Jan 1997
annual
annual

NUMBERS
uncommon
611 clusters
common
abundant
20 birds
common
common

STATUS
(W)
long-term monitoring
47% (R)
(R)
(W)
in one savanna (W)
(R)
(R)

55

Le Contes Sparrow
Henslows Sparrow
Native richness

annual
annual
22 Jan 1997
Undated list

common
abundant
50 birds
189 species

(W)
(W)
in one savanna (W)

Red-cockaded Woodpecker data from USFWS (2000); checklist provided by Susan Fitzgerald (USFS); all other
data from Doug McNair (Tall Timbers Research Station). See also McNair (1998).
Tates Hell State Forest
SPECIES
Little Blue Heron
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
Red-cockaded Woodpecker

DATE
May 2000
May 2000
May 2000
spring 2000

NUMBERS
60 pairs
16 pairs
6 pairs
28 clusters

STATUS
1% (B)
1% (B)
1% (B)
2% (R)

Red-cockaded Woodpecker data from USFWS (2000), all other data from Dan Sullivan (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Fort Gadsden, on the Apalachicola River in Apalachicola National Forest, has a rich history.
It was built by the British during the War of 1812, was rebuilt on orders from Andrew Jackson in
1818, but was forgotten shortly afterward. In 1862, the Confederacy took control during the Civil
War.
Tates Hell State Forest is considered vital for maintaining the ecological health of
Apalachicola Bay, one of the most productive estuaries in the Northern Hemisphere, and a designated
International Biosphere Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The forest contains a
geologically unique coastal dune formation and at least 23 species of rare plants. Five archaeological
sites are known, including a Creek Indian battleground. Both forests are essential habitat for the
black bear; the regional population (including lands outside the IBA) is estimated at 200400 animals,
the largest in the se. United States.
THREATS: *habitat succession, *altered hydrology, human disturbance, exotic plants, cowbird brood
parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Apalachicola National Forest is one of the most significant conservation areas
in Florida, supporting a large number of listed plants and animals. Management is geared to
improving and maintaining natural communities. The prescribed-burning program is one of the
largest in the nation. The use of Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) is increasing; forestry staff will
designate specific ORV trails to balance visitor use with resource protection. Tates Hell State
Forest and adjacent private lands sought for public acquisition are a vast area between Apalachicola
National Forest and Apalachicola Bay. Formerly managed for timber production, much of the forest
consists of clearcuts and pine plantations. Numerous roads and ditches have severely impacted its
hydrology. Restoration activities likely will take decades to complete. Fire is being returned to the
flatwoods, ditches are being filled, plantations are being thinned, and clear-cuts are being replanted to
native pines. A large portion remains in private ownership but acquisition efforts continue.
NOMINATED BY: Douglas B. McNair (Tall Timbers Research Station) and Dan Sullivan (FWC).
REVIEWED BY: Cathy Briggs, Susan Fitzgerald, Charles Hess, and Denise Rains (all USFS).

8. DOG ISLANDLANARK REEF


Dog Island (1842 ac [745 ha], with 1102 ac [445 ha] acquired as Jeff Lewis Wilderness Preserve) and
Lanark Reef (573 ac; 229 ha, depending on tides)
Franklin County

56

18471915 ac (747774 ha)

LOCATION: Two islands in the Gulf of Mexico off cen. Franklin County. Just east of the Greater
Apalachicola Bay IBA.
DESCRIPTION: Dog Island is the much larger of the two islands, more than 6 mi (9.6 km) long and nearly
1 mi (1.6 km) wide. About 60% is managed by The Nature Conservancy in cooperation with the
Barrier Island Trust. The remainder of the island is in private ownership in small tracts. N.B. For now,
all of Dog Island is considered as an IBA, since much of the privately owned properties remain in
their native state. However, IBA designation may eventually apply only to Jeff Lewis Wilderness
Preserve, as privately-owned lands are developed. Lanark Reef comprises mostly sand flats, with
mud flats occurring at the e. and w. ends during low tides. It has been designated by USFWS as
Critical Habitat for Piping Plover. The number of recreationists is not known.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (most of Lanark Reef), The Nature Conservancy (most of Dog Island), and
private owners (portions of each site).
HABITATS: *pine flatwoods, *tidal marsh, *coastal strand, xeric oak scrub, sand pine scrub, depression
marsh, mangrove forest, estuarine.
LAND USE: *conservation, residential, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA species;
significant numbers of shorebirds, larids, and Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Critical for wintering shorebirds, especially for Piping and Snowy plovers and American
Oystercatchers. Lanark Reef was ranked by Sprandel et al. (1997) as the biologically most important
site in Florida for wintering shorebirds. Lanark Reef also supports breeding Brown Pelicans, wading
birds, American Oystercatchers, and larids. In the early 1990s, observers at a banding station at Jeff
Lewis Wilderness Preserve recorded large numbers of Neotropical migrants, including more than
6000 Gray Catbirds in a single day.
Dog Island (mostly Jeff Lewis Wilderness Preserve)
SPECIES
Common Loon
Reddish Egret
Northern Harrier
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Hermit Thrush
Gray Catbird
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATE
19 Dec 1993
18 Sep 1993
13 Oct 1996
20 Jan 1993
21 Feb 1993
JanFeb 2001
30 Aug 1992
27 Sep 1992
7 Jun 2000
7 Jun 2000
22 Oct 1993
3 Nov 1996
28 Sep 1993
Nov 1993 list
Nov 1993 list

NUMBERS
450 birds
13 birds
96 birds
20 birds
92 birds
3 birds
490 birds
700 birds
339 pairs
20 pairs
50 birds
40 birds
6000 birds
36 species
274 species

STATUS
(W)
(NB)
(M)
4% (R)
15% (W)
<1% (W)
(M)
(M)
8% (B)
1% (B)
(M)
(M)
Florida record count (M)
(M)

Least Tern and skimmer data from Gary Sprandel (FWC); checklist and other data from Duncan Evered and Lyla
Messick, published in Florida Field Naturalist. See also Gore and Chase (1989).
Lanark Reef
SPECIES
Brown Pelican

DATE
31 May 2000

NUMBERS
377 pairs

STATUS
4% (B)

57

Black-bellied Plover
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Red Knot
Dunlin
Shorebirds
Laughing Gull

winter 19931994
29 Jan 1997
JanFeb 2001
winter 19931994
JanFeb 2001
winter 19931994
winter 19931994
4 Feb 1997
22 Oct 1995
20 Feb 1997
winter 19931994
25 May 1999

153 birds
22 birds
2 birds
87 birds
15 birds
110 birds
704 birds
376 birds
410 birds
1064 birds
3287 birds
460 pairs

(W)
5% (R)
<1% (R)
14% (W)
3% (W)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(M)
(W)
(W)
nearly 2% (B)

Pelican data from George Wallace (FWC), shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997) and Gunnels (1999), and gull
data from Hovis and Sprandel (1999).

OTHER RESOURCES: Dog Island supports small numbers of nesting sea turtles.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *development, raccoons, feral cats.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: A portion of Lanark Reef is privately owned and development could be a
serious threat, although development may be prevented due to resource concerns. During nesting
season, human disturbance could be a threat. Dog Island: During summer, boaters may cause
disturbance to nesting shorebirds and larids. Residents and their dogs cause severe disturbance to
nesting shorebirds and larids. Unfortunately, the colonies are not designated as Critical Wildlife
Areas, so there is no enforcement. Raccoons and possibly feral cats may be impacting groundnesting birds. Future use of prescribed fire may be considered in low-lying areas of Jeff Lewis
Preserve (Dickinson [1992]).
The State should designate the nesting colonies at Dog Island as Critical Wildlife Areas, and should
enforce protection against people and their dogs.
NOMINATED BY: Gary Sprandel (FWC).
REVIEWED BY: Jeff Gore, Karen Lamonte, and George Wallace (all FWC), and Floyd Sandford (Coe
College).

9. GREATER APALACHICOLA BAY


Apalachicola Bird Island (8 ac; 3.2 ha), Cape St. George State Reserve (2294 ac; 928 ha), Dr. Julian
G. Bruce St. George Island State Park (1962 ac; 794 ha), St. George Island Causeway (50 ac; 20
ha), St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge (12,489 ac; 5054 ha), and Yent Bayou (50 ac; 20 ha)
Franklin County
16,853 ac; 6820 ha

LOCATION: Off the coast of sw. Franklin County, where the Apalachicola River and several barrier
islands form Apalachicola Bay. Just west of the Dog IslandLanark Reef IBA.
DESCRIPTION: Six islands (two artificial) in Apalachicola Bay, one of the most productive estuaries in
the Northern Hemisphere. Apalachicola Bird Island is a spoil island at the mouth of the
Apalachicola River created in 1995 from dredging activities. Cape St. George State Reserve,
encompassing all of Little St. George Island, formed in 1957 when a channel was cut through the w.

58

third of St. George Island. It is inaccessible except by private boat. The St. George Island Causeway
is about 4-mi (6.4-km) long, and a 1-mi (1.6-km) stretch of shell and grass supports nesting American
Oystercatchers and a larid rookery. The causeway is designated by FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area.
Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park was purchased beginning in 1963 and opened to
the public in 1980. It protects more than 9 mi (14.4 km) of beaches and dunes at the e. half of St.
George Island. During World War II, the islands dunes were used by troops for training exercises.
Most of the e. end of St. George Island has been proposed by USFWS as Critical Habitat for the
Piping Plover. The remainder of the island has been extensively developed. St. Vincent National
Wildlife Refuge encompasses all of St. Vincent Island and is inaccessible except by private boat. It is
4 mi (6.4 km) wide at the e. end and 9 mi (14.4 km) long, and is composed of several ridges that
represent different shorelines over the past 5000 years. The island was purchased by The Nature
Conservancy in 1968 and later sold to USFWS. Yent Bayou is mostly private property, part of the
Hidden Beaches and Victorian Village developments. The areas below mean high tide are statesovereign land. Annual visitation to St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge is 10,000 recreationists and
>100 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge), State of Florida (Bird Island and
submerged portion of Yent Bayou), Florida Department of Transportation (St. George Island
Causeway, Florida Division of Marine Resources (Cape St. George State Reserve), DEP (Dr. Julian
G. Bruce St. George Island State Park), and private owners (uplands adjacent to Yent Bayou).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *coastal strand, *sand pine scrub, *estuarine, *temperate hammock,
freshwater marshes, sawgrass marsh, tidal marsh, coastal grasslands, artificial, housing lots.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *transportation, *dredged-material disposal area, environmental
education, hunting, fishing, residential.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and
IBA species; significant numbers of shorebirds, larids, and Neotropical migrants; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Regionally important for wintering waterfowl, breeding and wintering shorebirds, and
breeding larids. Portions of St. George Island, St. Vincent Island, and Yent Bayou have been
designated by USFWS as Critical Habitat for wintering Piping Plovers. Wooded portions of the state
park and refuge support Neotropical migrants. Apalachicola Bird Island also supports breeding
shorebirds. St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge supports an apparently large population of Black
Rails, and its hammocks are important for Neotropical migrants. The refuge marks the w. limit for the
dark-eyed subspecies of the Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major westoni; McNair and Lewis 1999).
Overall native richness is 273 species, from data limited to the state park and refuge.
Apalachicola Bird Island
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
American Oystercatcher
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer

DATE
2001
11 Jul 1999
19992000
19992000
19992000
2000
26 May 1999
19992000

NUMBERS
269 pairs
3 chicks
mean of 12 pairs
mean of 126 pairs
mean of 446 pairs
30 pairs
20 pairs
mean of 150 pairs

STATUS
3% (B)
<1% (B)
21% (B)
38% (B)
8% (B)
3% (B)
<1% (B)
9% (B)

Pelican and oystercatcher data from George Wallace (FWC), 19961998 Caspian Tern data from McNair and Gore
(2000), other data from Hovis and Sprandel (1999) and Gary Sprandel (FWC).
Cape St. George State Reserve

59

SPECIES
Snowy Plover

DATE
JanFeb 2001

NUMBERS
12 birds

STATUS
3% (R)

NUMBERS
42 birds
40 birds
14 pairs
2 birds
7 birds
40 birds
60 birds
233 species
1 exotic

STATUS
2% (M)
(M)
7% (R)
<1% (R)
1% (W)
(M)
(M)

Data from Gore and Chase (1989) and Patty Kelly (USFWS).
Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
SPECIES
Peregrine Falcon
Merlin
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Red-eyed Vireo
Native richness

DATE
24 Sep 1998
24 Sep 1998
1989
JanFeb 2001
JanFeb 2001
29 Sep 1999
9 Sep 1998
undated list

1989 Snowy Plover data from Gore and Chase (1989); other plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS); migrant data
from Jim Cavanagh, provided by George Wallace.
St. George Island Causeway
SPECIES
American Oystercatcher
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Least Tern

DATE
annually
26 May 1999
26 May 1999
26 May 1999
26 May 1999

NUMBERS
12 pairs
3443 pairs
1086 pairs
39 pairs
128 pairs

STATUS
<1% (B)
14% (B)
20% (B)
4% (B)
3% (B)

Data from Hovis and Sprandel (1999) and from Jeff Gore and Gary Sprandel (FWC).
St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Native richness

DATE
1989
JanFeb 2001
1995 list

NUMBERS
5 pairs
4 birds
246 species

STATUS
2% (R)
1% (R)

Plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS); richness data from the refuge checklist.
Yent Bayou:
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover

DATES
22 Jan 2000
11 Jan 1997

NUMBERS
23 birds
14 birds

STATUS
5% (R)
2% (W)

Data from Hovis and Sprandel (1999) and Patty Kelly (USFWS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Sea turtles nest along the beaches. The St. George Lighthouse, on Little St.
George Island, was built in 1852. At that time, the lighthouse was 1330 ft (400 m) from the beach, but
erosion of the island has brought the shoreline to its base. The lighthouse now is being stabilized to
prevent its collapse. St. George Island State Park contains some virgin cat-faced slash pines from
the turpentine industry active in the early 1900s. St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge is a

60

breeding site for the critically Endangered red wolf (Canis rufus).
Apalachicola Bay is a
designated International Biosphere Reserve and a National Estuarine Research Reserve.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *development (Yent Bayou).
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Apalachicola Bird Island is posted from April through August to prevent
disturbance to the breeding colony. The island is maintained as a bird nesting area by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers by adding dredged material every few years. Cape St. George State Reserve:
Prescribed fire is used to maintain the pine flatwoods and savannas. Exotic plants are controlled.
Dogs must be leashed at all times. The larid colony on the St. George Island Causeway was
subject to high mortality from motor vehicles. To reduce bird deaths from vehicles, the speed limit on
the causeway is reduced to 35 mph (56 kph) during the breeding season, and the colony is fenced to
keep young birds off the road. St. George Island State Park: Most of the dunes are off limits
except along paths. St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge contains populations of feral hogs and
sambar deer (Cervus unicolor) native to se. Asia; these are remnants of previous owners who used
the island as a hunting reserve. The deer are retained for recreational opportunities, while feral hogs
are controlled by hunting. Yent Bayou: Uplands are residential lots, which have begun to be
developed. It is not known whether development will impact shorebird use of the tidal wetlands.
NOMINATED BY: Thom Lewis (USFWS) and Gary Sprandel (FWC).
REVIEWED BY: Jeff Gore and Karen Lamonte (FWC).
2010 UPDATE: The new causeway and bridge linking St. George Island to the mainland is now
operational, and the former causeway is now an island managed for nesting birds.

10. LAKE LAFAYETTE


688 ac (278 ha)
Leon County

LOCATION: A few miles (km) east of Tallahassee in se. Leon County.


DESCRIPTION: An island in the lake supports a wading bird colony. No estimates are available for the
number of recreationists and hunters.
OWNERSHIP: FWC.
HABITATS: *lacustrine, freshwater marsh.
LAND USE: *hunting, conservation, recreation.
IBA Category: Significant populations of Endangered species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: supports a wading bird rookery containing a significant number of Wood Storks.
SPECIES
Wood Stork

DATE
1 Jun 1999

NUMBERS
225 nests

STATUS
4% (B)

Data from Jim Rodgers (FWC) and taken from Rodgers et al. (2002).

OTHER RESOURCES: none known.


THREATS: human disturbance, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Access to the rookery is prohibited during the breeding season. During nesting
season, human disturbance of colonies from landing fisherman or airboats is a threat. Located near
an urban area, Lake Lafayette faces water quality impacts from nearby developments and a landfill.
NOMINATED BY: Gary Sprandel (FWC).
REVIEWED BY: Jeff Gore and Karen Lamonte (FWC).

61

11. RED HILLS ECOSYSTEM


Gadsden, Jefferson, and Leon counties
105,000 ac (42,493 ha), with about 51,520 ac (20,858 ha) under perpetual conservation easements

LOCATION: Surrounding Tallahassee in ne. Gadsden County, n. Jefferson County, and n. Leon County.
DESCRIPTION: A large area between Thomasville, Georgia, and Tallahassee. The region is named after
its reddish clay soils and rolling topography. The IBA contains nearly 250,000 ac (101,175 ha), with
most of this area in Georgia. Longleaf pine flatwoods were the original land cover, but these forests
were cleared and heavily farmed for cotton and corn during Antebellum times. Today, oldfield pine
communities of loblolly and shortleaf pines (Pinus echinata) dominate the Florida portion of the
Red Hills and resemble the original pinewoods despite their lack of a threeawn ground-cover. Most
plantations exist for hunting Northern Bobwhites. Landowners have a strong land stewardship
tradition that recognizes the value of biological diversity. Several conservation organizations, led by
Tall Timbers Research Station, are encouraging landowners to protect their plantations with perpetual
conservation easements that balance consumptive use of resources with sustainable management. At
the heart of the easement program is the encouragement of implementing good timber management
practices for sustainable forestry and for ecological values.
OWNERSHIP: private owners (plantations proposed for or under perpetual conservation easements,
overseen by Tall Timbers Research Station, The Nature Conservancy, or others).
HABITATS: *oldfield pinelands, longleaf pine flatwoods, pine plantation, fields, non-native pasture,
agricultural fields, hardwood swamp, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, riverine, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *hunting, *timber production, conservation, agriculture, ecological research, environmental
education.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, FCREPA, and Watch List species; complete
avian richness of pinewoods; exceptional richness of breeding species; significant natural habitats;
long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports the sixth largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in the world, but
nearly all clusters remaining are found in Georgia. The Red Hills is last stronghold in Florida for
White-breasted Nuthatch, which largely has disappeared from the remainder of its range. Data
obtained during the Florida Breeding Bird Atlas documented more than 100 breeding species, one of
the most diverse breeding areas in Florida. A long-term study of birds killed by a television tower
adjacent to Tall Timbers Research Station was conducted nearly daily for 28 years, thereby being
almost unique for its duration and rigorous effort (Crawford and Engstrom 2001; see also Crawford
2001). Overall native richness for the entire Red Hills is 242 species, including 92 breeding species.
Florida portion
SPECIES
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
White-breasted Nuthatch

Bachmans Sparrow

DATE
2002
19861991

NUMBERS
1314 clusters

2002
2002

common
common

STATUS
1% (R)
20 of the states 37 Atlas blocks that
contained this species were in
the Red Hills (R)
(R)

Breeding Bird Atlas data from Kale et al. (1992); other data from Jim Cox (Tall Timbers Research Station). See also
Crawford (1998, 2001), Crawford and Engstrom (2001), and Stoddard (1978).

62

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Clay soils provide a distinctive type of pineland community. Protection of this IBA will aid
in recharge of the Floridan Aquifer. Several rare plants and animals occur, such as pine snake
(Pituophis melanoleucus), gopher tortoise, and fox squirrel. Many historical and cultural features
are present, from American Indian settlements to the Plantation era.
THREAT: *development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Entirely in private ownership, but owners of several plantations have
established perpetual conservation easements. The Red Hills support one of the largest populations
of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers remaining on private property. The Florida population is small, but
management activities are increasing the number of clusters. This IBA contains one of few
demographically stable populations of Northern Bobwhites in Florida.
Management includes
selective timbering, herbiciding of oaks, and frequent prescribed fires to maintain the open
understory of the pinewoods. On some plantations, longleaf pine is being replanted as other pines are
logged.
NOMINATED BY: Jim Cox (Tall Timbers Research Station).

12. ST. MARKS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Jefferson, Taylor, and Wakulla counties
67,623 ac (27,367 ha)

LOCATION: Along the Gulf of Mexico in s. Wakulla County, s. Jefferson County, and w. Taylor County.
Contiguous with the Apalachicola River and Forests IBA to the northwest and the Big Bend
Ecosystem IBA to the east.
DESCRIPTION: Established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl, the refuge
consists of four units: Aucilla River, Panacea, St. Marks, and Wakulla. It receives 250,000
recreationists and 1000 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS.
HABITATS: *longleaf and slash pine flatwoods, *longleaf pine sandhills, *temperate hammock, *cypress
swamp, *hardwood swamp, *brackish and freshwater marsh, *sawgrass marsh, *freshwater
impoundments, *tidal marsh, *riverine, *estuarine, pine plantation, xeric oak scrub, fields, non-native
pastures, bayhead, cattail marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species;
significant numbers of aquatic birds, wading birds, shorebirds, and larids; complete avian richness of
longleaf pine flatwoods; significant overall richness; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a great variety of aquatic birds, including wading birds, waterfowl, and
shorebirds. Coastal hammocks and upland forests are important for Neotropical migrants. Longleaf
pine flatwoods support breeding populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed
Nuthatches, and Bachmans Sparrows, and wintering populations of Henslows Sparrows.
SPECIES
Waterfowl
Redhead
Brown Pelican
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron

DATE
19951996 to 19992000
Jan surveys, 19982000
summer 1999
1 Jun 2000
1 Jun 2000
1 Jun 2000

NUMBERS
mean of 6256 birds
mean of 4601 birds
125 pairs
250 nests
250 nests
480 nests

STATUS
Impoundments (W)
offshore (W)
1% (B)
1% (B)
>1% (B)
>1% (B)

63

Reddish Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Wading birds
American Coot
Swallow-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Wilsons Plover
Shorebirds
Laughing Gull
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Native richness

JunSep 1999
1 Jun 2000
MarJun 2000
19951996 to 19992000
6 Jul 1999
19992000
8 Jul 2001
winter 19931994
19 Nov 1999
Jun 1999
since 1981
summer 2000
1991 list

12 birds
75 nests
1300 nests
mean of 6664 birds
16 birds
13 nests
30 birds
4006 birds
7600 birds
775 pairs
7 clusters
321 species

1% (NB)
(B)
(B)
Impoundments (W)
1% (NB)
1% (B)
7% (NB)
(W)
(W)
3% (B)
long-term research
<1% (R)
3rd most species-rich IBA

Pelican data from Rodgers et al. (2002), eagle GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC), 19931994 shorebird data
from Sprandel et al. (1997), plover data from an observation by Tom Curtis published in Florida Field Naturalist,
other data from Refuge staff or USFWS (2001).

OTHER RESOURCES: Protects more than 40 mi (64 km) of coastline. The St. Marks Lighthouse was
built in 1831 and remains in use today.
THREATS: human disturbance, offsite development, altered hydrology.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are geographically connected to those at
Ochlockonee River State Park and Apalachicola National Forest. Refuge biologists are color-banding
nestlings, adding cavities, and translocating birds to stabilize and increase the population.
Monitoring of birds and other wildlife has declined in recent years because of increased staff
workloads.
NOMINATED BY: Joe Reinman (USFWS) and Gary Sprandel (FWC).

64

NORTHERN PENINSULA

13. Alachua Lakes


14. Big Bend Ecosystem
15. Camp BlandingJennings
16. Duval and Nassau Tidal Marshes
17. Fort George and Talbot Islands
18. Goethe State Forest
19. Guana River
20. Huguenot ParkNassau Sound
21. Ichetucknee Springs State Park not on map
22. Kanapaha Prairie not on map
23. Lake Disston
24. Matanzas Inlet and River
25. Northern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
26. Ocala National ForestLake George
27. Osceola National ForestOkefenokee Swamp
28. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
29. San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

65

13. ALACHUA LAKES


Gum Root Swamp Conservation Area and Park (1895 ac; 766 ha), Lochloosa Wildlife CARLFF
Project (33,793 ac [13,676 ha], including 16,994 ac [6877 ha] acquired as Lochloosa Wildlife
Conservation Area), Newnans Lake CARLFF Project (12,957 ac [5243 ha], including 372 ac
[150 ha] acquired), Prairie Creek Conservation Area (203 ac; 82 ha), and private lands surrounding
Orange Lake (~12,100 ac; 4896 ha)
Alachua and Marion counties
60,948 ac (24,665 ha), including 19,464 ac (7877 ha) acquired, mostly as perpetual conservation
easements

LOCATION: South of Gainesville in se. Alachua County and n. Marion County. Contiguous with the
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: Three large lakes (Lochloosa, Newnans, and Orange), several smaller lakes, and
associated creeks between Gainesville and Ocala. This IBA is adjacent and hydrologically connected
to the Paynes Prairie basin. The region is primarily rural, with much land in silviculture. State
acquisition efforts have protected most lands surrounding Lochloosa Lake and have targeted
properties around portions of Newnans Lake and Orange Lake.
OWNERSHIP: St. Johns River WMD (Gum Root Swamp Conservation Area, Lochloosa Wildlife
Conservation Area, and Prairie Creek Conservation Area), DEP (Prairie Creek Conservation Area),
Gainesville Department of Recreation and Parks (Gum Root Park), and private owners (lands under
conservation easements, and unacquired acreage of the Lochloosa Wildlife CARLFF Project and
Newnans Lake CARLFF Project, and lands surrounding Orange Lake outward about 1 mile [1.6
km]).
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, *lacustrine, pine flatwoods, pine
plantation, sandhills, cattail marsh, riverine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *timber production, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; significant numbers and
richness of shorebirds; significant numbers of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant numbers of breeding Bald Eagles and Ospreys. Water levels at
Newnans Lake have receded in recent years due to drought, and as a result, the extensive mudflats
have attracted large numbers of wading birds and shorebirds.
Newnans Lake
SPECIES
Osprey
Semipalmated Plover
Lesser Yellowlegs
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Shorebirds
Shorebird richness
Blue-winged Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart

DATES
2000
29 Apr 2000
29 Apr 2000
27 May 2000
23 Apr 2000
29 Apr 2000
29 Mar 2000
23 Apr 2000
AprMay 2000
JanDec 2000
22 Sep 1985
9 May 1992
9 May 1992
13 Oct 1993

NUMBERS
16 nests
100 birds
340 birds
500 birds
600 birds
31 birds
60 birds
130 birds
1500 birds
30 species
15 birds
36 birds
41 birds
20 birds

STATUS
1% (B)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(W)
(W)
Florida high count; (M)*
(M)*
(M)*
(M)*

66

Wood-warbler richness

Annually in fall

~25 species

(M)

Observations of John Hintermister, Adam Kent, Andy Kratter, Cathy Reno, and Rex Rowan, mostly published in
Florida Field Naturalist. *Observed along a 1-mi (1.6-km) stretch of Lakeshore Drive.
All sites
SPECIES
Bald Eagle

DATES
19992000

NUMBERS
35 nests

STATUS
3% (B)

GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The Newnans LakeLake LochloosaOrange LakePaynes Prairie system is one of the most
critical wetland systems in the n. Peninsula. The lakes support very large densities of nesting and
wintering Bald Eagles and Ospreys. Newnans Lake is bordered by an intact, continuous fringe of
cypress, unlike all other lakes of similar size in the region. Numerous American Indian artifacts
have been found, including dozens of dugout canoes along Newnans Lake.
THREATS: *exotic plants, *runoff, feral hogs, cowbird brood parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Water flowing into Newnans Lake is high in phosphorus, which creates algae
blooms that contribute to lower water quality. Soil disturbance associated with harvesting of pine
plantations allows the phosphorus to drain into the lake. Other sources resulting in low water-quality
are residential and industrial developments. Nearly all of the uplands surrounding Lochloosa Lake
have been protected, largely via perpetual conservation easements. Much of the lands surrounding
Newnans Lake are sought for acquisition (or conservation easement), but have not yet been
protected. Little land around Orange Lake currently is targeted for public acquisition.
Protection of the shoreline and adjacent uplands surrounding Orange Lake should be considered.
These areas contain 15 of the 35 Bald Eagle nests occurring within the IBA.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon) and Rex Rowan (Alachua Audubon).

14. BIG BEND ECOSYSTEM


Big Bend Wildlife Management Area (81,592 ac; 33,020 ha), Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve (4875
ac; 1972 ha) and adjacent private properties (3400 ac; 1375 ha), Cedar Keys National Wildlife
Refuge (832 ac; 336 ha), Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (50,838 ac; 20,574 ha), and
Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park (34,032 ac; 13,772 ha)
Dixie, Levy, and Taylor counties
175,569 ac (71,052 ha)

LOCATION: Coastal portions of Taylor, Dixie, and Levy counties. Nearly contiguous with the St. Marks
National Wildlife Refuge IBA to the northwest, and with the Crystal River Tidal Marshes IBA to the
south.
DESCRIPTION: A great expanse of tidal marshes and adjacent uplands stretching nearly continuously for
120 mi (192 km) from the Aucilla River to the Withlacoochee River. Hagens Cove is a small nonhunted portion of Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. No information was provided for
Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park. Annual visitation of the sites is as follows: 25,000 to Cedar

67

Keys National Wildlife Refuge, 8000 vehicles to Hagens Cove, and 120,000 to Lower Suwannee
National Wildlife Refuge. Annual hunter use of the sites is 16,000 to Big Bend Wildlife Management
Area and 8000 to Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge and Lower Suwannee National Wildlife
Refuge), DEP (Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve and Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park), FWC (Big
Bend Wildlife Management Area), and private owners (properties north and east of Cedar Key Scrub
State Reserve).
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *tidal marsh, *estuarine, *coastal
strand, *cypress swamp, *freshwater marsh, riverine, sandhills, mangrove forest, sand pine scrub,
willow swamp, bayhead, lacustrine, fields, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *hunting, recreation, timber production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species;
significant numbers of wading birds and shorebirds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge supports one of the largest wading bird rookeries in
the n. Peninsula, and a large roost of Magnificent Frigatebirds. The Cedar Key area contains
significant numbers of shorebirds, including huge numbers of wintering American Oystercatchers.
Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve and adjacent properties once supported a viable population of Florida
Scrub-Jays that has declined severely since the early 1980s. The IBA is also important for breeding
Short-tailed Hawks and Scotts Seaside Sparrows. A 76.6-ac (31-ha) marsh study site just outside
the IBA boundary supported 49 pairs of Seaside Sparrows in 1981 (McDonald 1982). Overall native
richness is 279 species.
Big Bend Wildlife Management Area (Hagens Cove)
SPECIES
Shorebirds

DATES
winter 19931994

NUMBERS
1198 birds

STATUS
(W)

Data from Sprandel et al. (1997).


Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve and adjacent private lands
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
Sep 1980Mar 1981
Aug 2002

NUMBERS
55 birds
6 groups

STATUS
<1% (R); habitat management and public land
acquisition would increase the size of this
population significantly

Data from Cox (1987), Pranty (1996a), Tom Webber (University of Florida), and Vic Doig (FWC).
Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Wading birds
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds
Black Skimmer
Native richness

DATES
1998
1998
1998
1998
1998
1998
1998
28 Dec 2001
winter 19931994
30 Dec 1999
Sep 1998 checklist

NUMBERS
700 pairs
200 birds
250 pairs
300 pairs
75 pairs
3000 pairs
3650 pairs
1085 birds
3449 birds
349 birds
277 species

STATUS
8% (B)
4% (NB)
1% (B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(W)
(W)
(W)
Cedar Keys & Lower Suwannee

68

Wading bird data of the Seahorse Key rookery from USFWS, provided by Dale Henderson; shorebird data from
Sprandel et al. (1997), oystercatcher data from Stephen Nesbitt (FWC); skimmer data from Cedar Key CBC (may
include birds outside the IBA); species richness from refuge checklists.
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Native richness

DATES
2527 Mar 1997
Sep 1998 checklist

NUMBERS
1924 pairs
277 species

STATUS
34% (B)
Cedar Keys & Lower Suwannee

Kite data from Sykes et al. (1999), species richness from refuge checklists.
Multiple sites
SPECIES
Reddish Egret
Wading birds
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Short-tailed Hawk
Black Rail
Piping Plover
Shorebirds

DATES
summer 2000
15 Nov 2000
19992000
19992000
19992001
MarJul 1989
winter 19992000
15 Nov 2000

NUMBERS
25 birds
several thousand birds
50 nests
20 nests
ca. 25 radio-tagged birds under study; 10
15 pairs estimated
8 birds
6 birds
several thousand birds

STATUS
2% (NB)
(NB)
3% (B)
2% (B)
57% (B)
(B)
1% (W)
(W)

Reddish Egret data from observations by John Hintermister et al. published in Florida Field Naturalist, eagle GIS
coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC), hawk data from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute), rail
data from Runde et al. (1990), November 2000 data from Stephen Nesbitt (FWC), other data from USFWS
personnel or Celeste Shitama (University of Florida) and Stephen Nesbitt (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Together with other IBAs, it encompasses about 200 mi (320 km) of Gulf coastline, nearly all
of it continuous, from the Ochlockonee River in Franklin County to the Pithlachascotee River in
Pasco County. Big Bend Wildlife Management Area: Numerous American Indian middens and
burial mounds occur. Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge: Atsena Otie Key contains the
remnants of the original (1890s) town of Cedar Key, while Seahorse Key contains a Civil War
cemetery and the Cedar Key lighthouse. Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge: Numerous
American Indian middens and burial mounds occur onsite; the Shell Mound site is well-known.
THREATS: *offsite development, *habitat succession, human disturbance, cowbird brood parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Big Bend Wildlife Management Area: vehicles often drive into marshes.
Restoration of natural communities is part of the management strategy. Cedar Key Scrub State
Reserve and adjacent private properties formerly supported a regionally significant population of
Florida Scrub-Jays, but lack of fire management has reduced the population to very low levels.
Without restoration of scrub habitats at Cedar Key Scrub State Reservecoupled with acquisition of
adjacent privately owned scrubthe future for this population is bleak. Most of the remaining scrubjays have been color-banded and are under study by staff of DEP and FWC.
The State should vigorously pursue scrub acquisition efforts in the Cedar KeySumnerRosewood
area, and take immediate steps to properly manage scrub habitats at Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve.

69

NOMINATED BY: Dale Henderson (Friends and Volunteers of the Refuges, Lower Suwannee and Cedar
Keys), Jerry Krummrich (FWC), Stephen Nesbitt (FWC), Bill Pranty (Audubon), and Celeste
Shitama (University of Florida).
REVIEWED BY: Vic Doig and Neil Eichholz (FWC), and Tom Webber (Florida Museum of Natural
History).

15. CAMP BLANDINGJENNINGS


Camp Blanding Training Site (73,076 ac; 29,573 ha) and Jennings State Forest (23,995 ac; 8323 ha)
Clay County
82,907 ac (33,552 ha)

LOCATION: South of Keystone Heights in w. Clay County.


DESCRIPTION: At the s. end of the Trail Ridge physiographic region, consisting mostly of well-drained,
rolling topography. Camp Blanding Training Site is an active artillery-training area for the Florida
Army National Guard, buffered by extensive forested areas altered for forestry and military uses.
Jennings State Forest lies along the northern boundary of Camp Blanding. Camp Blanding Training
Site receives 200 recreationists and 15,000 hunter-days annually, while annual use of Jennings State
Forest is >500 recreationists and 1000 hunter-days annually.
OWNERSHIP: Florida Department of Military Affairs (Camp Blanding Training Site), and DOF and St.
Johns River WMD (Jennings State Forest).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *pine plantation, *sandhills, *xeric oak scrub, *lacustrine,
*bayhead, *riverine, sand pine scrub, fields, hardwood swamp, freshwater marsh, temperate
hammock, non-native pasture, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *military training, recreation, sand mining, timber production, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and Watch List species; complete
avian richness of longleaf pine flatwoods; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports all species of longleaf pine flatwoods. Camp Blanding contains, or contained, the
northernmost Florida Scrub-Jays in the state, with a single group known in 1995.
Camp Blanding Training Site
SPECIES
Southeastern American Kestrel
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay
Bachmans Sparrow

DATE
2002
2002
Oct 1995
19931994

NUMBERS
15 pairs
16 clusters
1 group
common

STATUS
(B)
1% (R)
<1% (R)
(R)

Data from Hipes and Jackson (1996), except 2002 data by John Kappes (University of Florida). See also Miller and
Jones (1999).
Jennings State Forest
SPECIES
Southeastern American Kestrel
Bachmans Sparrow
Data from Charlie Pedersen (DOF).

DATES
2000
2000

NUMBERS
15 pairs
common

STATUS
(R)
(R)

70

OTHER RESOURCES: Camp Blanding Training Site: A 13-month survey in 1993 and 1994 detected
several rare animals, such as Black Creek crayfish (Procambarus pictus; endemic to ne. Florida),
striped newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus), gopher frog (Rana capito), gopher tortoise (more than
10,600 individuals estimated), indigo snake (Drymarchon corais), Florida mouse, Shermans
fox squirrel (Sciurus niger shermani), and black bear (Hipes and Jackson 1996). Jennings State
Forest: Extensive longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills retain their natural ground cover. Seepage
ravines contain Appalachian flora; many slopes contain their original floral richness.
THREATS: *offsite development, *timber harvesting, *strip mining, *feral hogs, human disturbance,
exotic plants, habitat succession.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Camp Blanding Training Site: Strip-mining of some lands occupied by Redcockaded Woodpecker sites is presently being considered.
Fire management and mechanical
restoration should continue to increase the number of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Hipes and
Jackson (1996) characterized woodpecker habitat as in marginal to poor condition due to hardwood
encroachment. More than 40 nest boxes for Southeastern American Kestrels have been placed.
Most of the Florida Scrub-Jay habitat has been cleared for development of the military base, with the
remainder being severely overgrown by the mid-1990s (Hipes and Jackson 1996). ... [D]espite
decades of past land management practices that often have been incompatible with the maintenance
of native communities, Camp Blanding Training Site nonetheless retains a significant component of
biodiversity native to this region. With the adoption of more ecologically sensitive land management,
positive strides can be made to restore native habitats and replenish depleted populations. If
successful, this in turn will increase the future importance of Camp Blanding as a vital link in an
integrated and functional network of ecosystems throughout the north Floridasouth Georgia region.
(Hipes and Jackson 1996). Acquisition of Jennings State Forest began in 1991. Conservation issues
include returning fire as a management tool, restoring longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills, restoring
the hydrology, and maintaining water quality. The forest contains 6000 (2428 ha) ac of flatwoods
and a similar amount of sandhills, which are under aggressive restoration.
Red-cockaded
Woodpeckers have been extirpated since the 1960s or earlier, but as the longleaf pine forests age,
there is excellent potential for translocation, or natural colonization from Camp Blanding.
NOMINATED BY: Charlie Pedersen (DOF) and Rex Rowan (Alachua Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Jim Garrison (FWC).

16. DUVAL AND NASSAU TIDAL MARSHES


Nassau RiverSt. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve (mostly submerged; 85,000 ac; 34,399 ha)
and Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (46,000 ac [18,616 ha], with 23,946 ac [9690 ha]
in public ownership). Adjacent uplands include the Pumpkin Hill Creek CARLFF Project (6927
ac; 2803 ha), with 3720 ac (1505 ha) acquired as Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park)
Duval and Nassau counties
137,927 ac (55,819 ha; mostly submerged), with 112,666 ac (45,595 ha) protected

LOCATION: From the St. Marys River (the border with Georgia) to the St. Johns River in e. Nassau
County and ne. Duval County. Contiguous with the Huguenot ParkNassau Sound and Northern
Atlantic Migrant Stopover IBAs to the east, and the Fort George and Talbot Islands IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: Virtually all remaining tidal marshes and associated habitats along the St. Marys, Amelia,
Nassau, and St. Johns rivers. The marshes were nominated as a single IBA, with no specific data
submitted for individual sites. The number of visitors is not known.
OWNERSHIP: USNPS (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve), State of Florida (submerged lands),
Florida Division of Marine Resources (Nassau RiverSt. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve), St.

71

Johns River WMD (Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park), and private owners (remaining acreage
of the Pumpkin Hill CARLFF Project, and portions of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve).
HABITATS: *tidal marsh, *riverine, red-cedar hammock.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern species; significant numbers of wading
birds; complete avian richness of tidal marshes; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Contains virtually the entire Florida populations of Worthingtons Marsh Wren and
MacGillivrays Seaside Sparrow, and undoubtedly support large populations of wading birds and
shorebirds.
SPECIES
White Ibis
Worthingtons Marsh Wren

DATES
22 May 2000
AprJul 2001

NUMBERS
500 birds
741 birds

MacGillivrays Seaside Sparrow

AprJul 2001

785 birds

STATUS
(NB)
107 of 181 point counts in Duval
County and 118 of 128 point
counts in Nassau County (B)
108 of 181 point counts in Duval
County and 103 of 128 point
counts in Nassau County (B)

Data from Katy NeSmith (Florida Natural Areas Inventory).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area.
THREATS: human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Marshes along the St. Johns River are mostly protected as Timucuan Ecological
and Historic Preserve and Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, but the Nassau River marshes are
mostly unprotected. Tiger Island and Little Tiger Island (1260 ac; 509 ha) in Nassau County have
been targeted for state acquisition. Several archaeological sites on these islands are known, but they
have been impacted by rampant looting (DEP 2001). There is pressure to use the islands as private
hunting preserves.
NOMINATED BY: Katy NeSmith (Florida Natural Areas Inventory).

17. FORT GEORGE AND TALBOT ISLANDS


Big Talbot Island State Park (1592 ac; 644 ha), Fort George Island (1000 ac; 404 ha), and Little
Talbot Island State Park (2633 ac; 1065 ha)
Duval County
5225 ac (2114 ha)

LOCATION: Between the Nassau and St. Johns rivers in ne. Duval County. Contiguous with the Duval
and Nassau Tidal Marshes IBA to the west, the Huguenot ParkNassau Sound IBA to the north and
south, and the Northern Atlantic Migrant Stopover IBA to the east.
DESCRIPTION: Three publicly-owned sites of marshes and uplands. Fort George Island consists of Fort
George Island Cultural State Park (620 ac; 250 ha), and Kingsley Plantation (20 ac; 8 ha), and
some private residences. The two publicly owned sites receive 85,000 recreationists annually. Little
Talbot Island State Park is a barrier island between Nassau Sound and the St. Johns River, about 1
mile (1.6 km) wide and 5 mi (8 km) long. It receives 100,000 recreationists annually. No information
was provided for Big Talbot Island State Park.

72

OWNERSHIP: USNPS (Kingsley Plantation), DEP (Big Talbot Island State Park, Fort George Island
Cultural State Park, and Little Talbot Island State Park), and private owners (part of St. George
Island).
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *maritime hammock, *xeric oak scrub, *coastal strand, pine
plantation, sawgrass marsh, riverine, estuarine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and Watch List species; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Big Talbot and Little Talbot islands support significant populations of breeding and
wintering shorebirds and larids. All three islands support significant breeding populations of Painted
Buntings.
Fort George Island
SPECIES
Painted Bunting

DATES
2000
May 2000

NUMBERS
61 birds banded
78 singing males

STATUS
(B)
(B)

Data from Paul Sykes (U.S. Geological Survey) and Roger Clark (USNPS).
Little Talbot Island State Park
SPECIES
Piping Plover
Painted Bunting

DATES
JanFeb 2001
2000

NUMBERS
26 birds
100 birds banded

STATUS
5% (W)
(B)

Plover data from Roger Clark (USNPS) and bunting data from Paul Sykes (U.S. Geological Survey).

OTHER RESOURCES: About 70% of Fort George Island consists of 100-year old maritime hammock.
The cultural history is outstanding. Shell middens created by the Timucuan Indians and their
predecessors date back to 7000 YBP. One midden, the Shell Ring, is thought to have been an
important center of worship. A Spanish Mission (San Juan del Puerto) was established in 1587 and
lasted until 1702. General James Oglethorpe established Fort Saint Georges on the island in 1736 as
the English tried to take Florida from Spain (the location of the fort is unknown). The English gained
control of Florida in 1763 and this began the plantation period. The most dramatic evidence of this
period can be found at Kingsley Plantation, a unit of the National Park Service. Little Talbot
Island State Park shares much of the same history as the other islands in the vicinity. An extensive
American Indian culture is evidenced by shell middens. Some of the most important habitats are at
the s. part of the island, which formed in the 1880s from dredging activities.
THREATS: development, human disturbance, habitat succession, cowbird brood parasitism, erosion, feral
hogs, feral cats, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Fort George Island: Most impacts will be related to increasing human use.
Park staff are restoring the Ribault Club House, which was built in 1928. The interior of the island
contains unique habitat: A golf course built in the 1920s and abandoned in 1991 provides an
opportunity to manage old fairways as habitat for wildlife. Little Talbot Island State Park:
Visitation is rising and will become an increasing concern. One positive regulation is that dogs are
prohibited. Little Talbot Island is long and linear, with about 5 mi (8 km) of beach. Driving on the
beach is prohibited. The main problem along the beach is the disturbance of nesting and roosting
birds, especially on the n. end of the island. However, boaters who land on the sand islands between
Little and Big Talbot Islands are a much more urgent problem. State Road A1A is the main

73

highway between Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville. Maintenance may become an issue if planners
need to move the highway farther inland as the s. end of the island continues to erode.
NOMINATED BY: Roger Clark (USNPS).
REVIEWED BY: Kristin Ebersol (DEP).

18. GOETHE STATE FOREST


Goethe State Forest (53,398 ac; 20,305 ha) and the Watermelon Pond CARLFF Project (11,584 ac
[4688 ha] remaining)
Alachua and Levy counties
61,758 ac (24,993 ha), including 50,174 ac (20,305 ha) acquired

LOCATION: East of U.S. Highway 19 in se. Levy County, with a separate parcel in ne. Levy County and
sw. Alachua County.
DESCRIPTION: Most of the forest is part of the Brooksville Ridge, with a much smaller portion to the
north in the Watermelon Pond area. The largest tract was purchased from the Goethe family in 1992
for $65 million. The forest receives 800 recreationists and 3600 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: DOF (Goethe State Forest) and private owners (remaining acreage of the Watermelon Pond
CARLFF Project, added to the state forest as publicly acquired).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, pine plantation, sandhills, non-native
pasture, cypress swamp, bayhead, riverine, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *timber production, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and Watch List species; complete
breeding richness of longleaf pine flatwoods species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports all species of longleaf pine flatwoods, including a significant population of Redcockaded Woodpeckers.
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Swallow-tailed Kite
Southeastern American Kestrel
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Native richness

DATES
Jul 1999
Jun 2002
Jul 2000
Jun 2002
ca. 1998 list

NUMBERS
200 birds
3 nests
20 nests
30 clusters
117 species

STATUS
(NB)
<1% (B)
(R)
2% (B)

Data from Kwami Pennick (DOF); checklist compiled by members of Alachua Audubon.

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. It contains one of the largest contiguous tracts of longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills
remaining in the Peninsula, with pitcher plant bogs, orchids, and other rare flora and fauna. Gopher
tortoises and Shermans fox squirrels are resident. Several cultural sites from the turpentine era
are found, including a camp and remnants of two small towns.
THREATS: *habitat succession, development, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Restoration activities include thinning of plantations, replanting with longleaf
pine, removal of hardwoods from flatwoods, and prescribed burning.
The Red-cockaded
Woodpecker population is monitored intensively. The Watermelon Pond area is undergoing rapid
residential development, which has severely hampered public acquisition efforts.
NOMINATED BY: Kwami Pennick (DOF).
REVIEWED BY: Robin Boughton (DOF).

74

19. GUANA RIVER


Guana River State Park (2397 ac; 970 ha) and Guana River Wildlife Management Area (9815 ac;
3972 ha)
St. Johns County
12,212 ac (4942 ha)

LOCATION: The barrier island between the Tolomato River and Atlantic Ocean in ne. St. Johns County.
DESCRIPTION: Two adjacent public ownerships purchased in 1984 that protect a large area of coastal
habitats. The state park occupies the s. quarter of the property (north to Guana Dam), while the
wildlife management area occupies the n. three-quarters. Guana Lake was formed by damming a
portion of the Guana River. Beachfront property north and south of the IBA is composed of singlefamily homesites. The park receives 160,000 recreationists annually, and the wildlife management
area receives 13,000 hunters and anglers and 1500 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (Guana River State Park), FWC (Guana River Wildlife Management Area).
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *tidal marsh, *estuarine, *coastal
strand, hardwood swamp, cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and FCREPA species; significant numbers of
migrant raptors; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Since 1997, a raptor watch conducted during the same 16-day period during fall has
recorded large numbers of Peregrine Falcons and Merlins. The state park supports breeding Painted
Buntings and is a monitoring site for a color-banding project underway by the U.S. Geological
Survey. The state park supports a small colony of Least Terns. The wildlife management area
contains a 2315-ac (936-ha) brackish impoundment, and six freshwater impoundments, managed for
waterfowl and other species. Overall native richness is 230 species.
Guana River State Park
SPECIES
Peregrine Falcon

Merlin
Least Tern
Native richness

DATES
19972001 seasons
(27 Sep12 Oct)
25 Mar 2001
19972001 seasons
(27 Sep12 Oct)
18 Jul 2001
Aug 1995 list

NUMBERS
mean of 371 birds

STATUS
18% (M)

72 birds
mean of 51 birds

2%; (M)
(M)

116 birds (2025 nests)


220 species

<1%; (B)

Raptor data of Bob Stoll (Duval Audubon) and cooperators; other data from Richard Owen (DEP).
Guana River Wildlife Management Area
SPECIES
Native richness

DATES
August 2002 list

NUMBERS
200 species

STATUS

Data from Justin Ellenberger (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Contains 4.2 mi (6.7 km) of undeveloped beachdune habitats, one of the longest
stretches remaining along the Atlantic Ocean. The dunes are some of the highest in Florida, with the
secondary dunes attaining heights of 2035 ft (610.5 m). In 1992, 55 Anastasia Island beach

75

mice (Peromyscus polionotus phasma) were reestablished into the dunes; periodic releases are
undertaken to decrease the threat of inbreeding. Three species of sea turtles nest along the beaches,
and nests have been monitored since 1987. The state park contains nine natural communities and 17
significant historic or pre-historic cultural sites; an early 19th century Minorcan coquina block well is
on the National Register of Historic Places. The region has been inhabited almost continuously for
5000 years. Evidence from historical records dating back to 1592 suggests that Guana River was the
site of Ponce de Leons first landing in Florida. The wildlife management area protects 13
archaeological and historic sites.
THREAT: offsite development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Guana River State Park: Surveys conducted since 1994 indicate that there
once may have been a significant Least Tern colony onsite. In recent years, only small numbers (25 or
fewer pairs) have bred, and fledging success is low, due primarily to wash-out from storm tides. The
nesting area is fenced and posted against human intrusion. Erosion blowouts have been caused by
vehicles and pedestrians crossing the dunes. The largest occur at sites used for vehicular access in the
pastvehicles are now prohibited from the beaches. Pedestrian traffic through the dunes has been
alleviated by the creation of three parking lots with accompanying walkovers across the dunes. As
offsite development continues, visitation is expected to increase, and access issues will be magnified.
Water quality of Guana River and the Tolomato River has been poor in recent years, and
shellfishing currently is prohibited. Guana River Wildlife Management Area: increasing offsite
development is creating difficulties for using prescribed fire.
NOMINATED BY: Justin Ellenberger (FWC), Richard Owen (DEP), and Bill Pranty (Audubon).

20. HUGUENOT PARKNASSAU SOUND


Huguenot Memorial Park (169 upland ac; 68 ha) and Nassau Sound Bird Islands (100 ac; 40 ha)
Duval County
269 ac (108 ha)

LOCATION: Between the Nassau River and St. Johns River in ne. Duval County. Contiguous with the
Duval and Nassau Tidal Marshes IBA to the west, and with the Fort George and Talbot Islands IBA
to the north and south.
DESCRIPTION: Two areas north of the St. Johns River, divided by Fort George Island. Nassau Sound
Bird Islands consist of three small islands (Big Bird, Little Bird, and Third Bird) within the Nassau
RiverSt. Johns River Marshes Aquatic Preserve. Except for Third Bird Island, sites have been
designated by FWC as Critical Wildlife Areas. Huguenot Memorial Park receives 100,000 visitors
annually; visitation to Nassau Sound is estimated at 10,000 boaters.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Florida (Huguenot Memorial Park), the
State of Florida (Nassau Sound Bird Islands), and private owners (a portion of Big Bird Island).
HABITATS: *estuarine, *coastal strand, tidal marsh, maritime hammock.
LAND USE: *recreation, *conservation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA,
Watch List, and IBA species; significant numbers of raptors, shorebirds, and larids; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Vital to breeding and roosting shorebirds and larids, and to significant numbers of migrant
falcons during fall. In the 1970s, Bird Islands supported a large breeding population of Gull-billed
Terns, but erosion reduced the size of the islands, and the number of Gull-billed Terns declined
substantially. Overall native richness is 203 species.

76

Huguenot Memorial Park


SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
Red Knot
Shorebirds
Laughing Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Royal Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Terns and skimmers
Native richness

DATES
16 Sep 2000
23 Jun 2002
28 Nov 2000
15 Feb 1981
28 Dec 1996
8 Aug 1999
Jul 2002
8 Aug 1999
20 Jul 1990
20 Feb 1985
7 Jul 1985
16 Sep 2000
Jan 2001

NUMBERS
455 birds
40 birds
20 birds
1466 birds
1127 birds
4700 birds
25 pairs
1850 birds
100 adults
2026 birds
100 nests
1850 birds
180 species

STATUS
(NB)
5% (B)
4% (W)
(W)
(W)
20% (B)
50%? (B)
(NB)
1% (B)
(W)
6% (B)
(NB)

1980s data from Bob Richter and Linda Bremer, 1999 observations of Roger Clark published in Florida Field
Naturalist, checklist compiled by Peggy Powell (Duval Audubon).
Nassau Sound Bird Islands
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Raptors
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds
Gull-billed Tern
Royal Tern
Common Tern
Least Tern
Black Tern
Black Skimmer
Larids
Native richness

DATES
6 Oct 1999
17 Oct 1999
21 Apr 2000
17 Oct 1999
17 Oct 1999
21 Apr 2000
23 Jun 2001
28 Nov 2000
1999
28 Nov 2000
19741977
4 Jul 2001
19871988
27 Sep 1999
10 Sep 2000
19741977
24 Aug 1999
27 Sep 1999
4 Jul 2001
10 Sep 2000
2001 list

NUMBERS
500 birds
53 birds
83 birds
30 birds
343 birds
311 birds
40 birds
20 birds
4 nests
1000 birds
mean of 203 nests
22 pairs
30004200 nests
2000 birds
1000 birds
mean of 131 nests
500 birds
2000 birds
250 pairs
2200 birds
152 species

STATUS
(NB)
(M)
(M)
1% (M)
(M)
(M)
10%? (B)
42% (W)
1% (B)
(W)
(B)
40% (B)
(B)
>1% (W)
Third Bird Island
(B)
(M)
(M)
15% (B)
(M)

1970s larid data of the late Robert Loftin, 1980s data from FWC, other data from Patrick Leary (Duval Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Both sites contain remnant natural inlet, dunes, and coastal hammocks.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *erosion, *development (channel-dredging proposal), feral cats.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Driving on dunes at Huguenot Memorial Park is prohibited, but it does occur.
Dogs are supposed to be leashed at all times, but often are allowed to run free, causing severe
disturbance to shorebirds and larids. Regular enforcement to protect beach-nesting and -roosting
birds is urgently needed. Feral cats should be removed. Parts of the beach are eroding, and riprap
has been placed along the shoreline. Beach renourishment is recommended. Jet-skis should be

77

prohibited, especially in the bay portion. Water quality should be monitored. A large amount of
sand has accreted at the n. end of the spit, which threatens to close off Fort George Inlet. A
proposal to dredge a new channel through the Critical Wildlife Area could have devastating effects
on the birds that nest and roost there. Erosion has greatly reduced the size of Nassau Sound Bird
Islands since the 1970s Increasing use for human recreation threatens the nesting and roosting
populations of its shorebirds and larids. Although partly designated as a Critical Wildlife Area,
enforcement is lacking and disturbance of birds from humans and unleashed dogs is rampant. The
Jacksonville Preservation Project is negotiating to purchase Big Bird Island.
It is essential that the State enforce protection of the Critical Wildlife Areas during spring and summer
to protect the shorebird and larid breeding colonies.
NOMINATED BY: Patrick Leary and Peggy Powell (Duval Audubon).

21. ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK


Columbia and Suwannee counties
2276 ac (921 ha)

LOCATION: Along the Ichetucknee River in se. Suwannee County and sw. Columbia County, just
upstream of its convergence with the Santa Fe River.
DESCRIPTION: A series of springs that discharge 233 million gal (880 million l) per daya firstmagnitude flowand that form the short (6 mile; 9.6 km) Ichetucknee River. The state park receives
200,000 recreationists annually, primarily inner-tubists on the river.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *upland (high pine) forest, *sandhills, *temperate hammock, *riverine, fields, cypress
swamp, hardwood swamp, freshwater marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Watch List species; exceptional richness of wood-warblers;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a richness of species, including those of pine flatwoods and sandhills, and of
Neotropical migrants. An American Kestrel nest-box trail was established in 1994 and nestlings are
banded annually.
SPECIES
Southeastern American Kestrel
Bachmans Sparrow
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
2001
19942001
2001
Oct 2000 list
Oct 2000 list

NUMBERS
7 of 13 nest boxes occupied
147 birds banded
76 territories
32 species
170 species

STATUS
(R)
(R)
(R)
(M)

Data from Sam Cole (DEP); kestrels banded with the cooperation of John Smallwood (Montclair State University).

OTHER RESOURCES: Surveys in 1994 documented 629 vascular plant species, including several
significant sandhill and high pine species. The state park also supports 134 vertebrate species.
Plants and animals of interest include Ichetucknee ladies-tresses (Spiranthes odorata S. ovalis),
wakerobin (Trillium spp.), King Solomons seal (Polygonatum biflorum), Florida willow (Salix
floridana), Ichetucknee siltsnail (Cincinnatia mica), mountain mullet (Agonostomus monticola),

78

pine snake, short-tailed snake (Stilosoma extenuatum), gopher frog, gopher tortoise, Florida mouse,
and Shermans fox squirrel. Many cultural sites occur, of which the most studied is the Mission
de San Martin de Timucua. Ichetucknee Springs was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1972.
THREATS: *human disturbance, offsite development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Upland habitats are prescribed-burned to maintain their open character. The
number of inner-tubists is regulated to protect riverine habitats.
NOMINATED BY: Sam Cole (DEP).

22. KANAPAHA PRAIRIE


Alachua County
3520 ac (1424 ha)

LOCATION: West of County Road 121 between State Road 24 and County Road 346 in sw. Alachua
County. Nearly contiguous with the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park IBA to the east.
DESCRIPTION: A privately owned site used primarily for grazing cattle. There is no public access.
OWNERSHIP: private owners.
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *freshwater marsh, *fields, agricultural fields.
LAND USE: *cattle grazing, conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant numbers of wading birds and wintering Sandhill Cranes and sparrows;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports large numbers of wintering Greater Sandhill Cranes and sparrows, and can
support large numbers of wading birds.
SPECIES
Wading birds
Greater Sandhill Crane
Wintering sparrows

DATES
year-round
annual
annual

NUMBERS
up to 1000 birds
1500 birds
1000 birds
estimated

STATUS
(NB)
6% (W)
50% Savannah, 20% Swamp,
10% Vesper, 10% Song,
and 10% others

Data from Celeste Shitama (University of Florida) and Stephen Nesbitt (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *habitat succession, human disturbance, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The site is below the 100-year floodplain and no development will be
permitted. Kanapaha Prairie is under consideration for public purchase by the Alachua County
Forever land acquisition program;
NOMINATED BY: Stephen Nesbitt (FWC) and Celeste Shitama (University of Florida).
2010 UPDATE: 685 ac (227 ha) of Kanapaha Prairie were publicly purchased in 2004.

23. LAKE DISSTON


Flagler County
1844 ac (746 ha)

79

LOCATION: South of County Road 305 in sw. Flagler County.


DESCRIPTION: A shallow tannic lake (average depth 810 ft; 2.43 m) drained by Little Haw Creek,
which flows north into Crescent Lake. It is ringed by a band of ancient cypresses, mostly along the n.
end. The lake and creek are part of the St. Johns River basin. Developments have been built along
parts of the e. and sw. shorelines of the lake, but these do not impact the cypresses. The lake receives
an estimated 250 boats and 80 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (lake), private owners (uplands).
HABITATS: *lacustrine, cypress swamp.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, private (potential development).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of FCREPA species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of Swallow-tailed Kites and Ospreys. The number of
Osprey nests has been monitored informally since 1967, when five nests were known. Since that time,
numbers have increased significantly but show a high degree of annual fluctuation; the highest count
was 84 nests in 1985.
SPECIES
White Ibis
Wood Stork
Swallow-tailed Kite
Osprey

DATES
Nov 2001
2002
1997
May 2000

NUMBERS
800 birds
36 nests
27 birds
40 nests

STATUS
(NB)
<1% (R)
1% (NB); pre-roost assemblage
2% (R)

Wood Stork data from Stephen Nesbitt (FWC); ibis and Osprey data from Ann Moore (Lake Disston LakeWatch);
kite data from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated a huge area surrounding Lake Disston as a Strategic
Habitat Conservation Area.
The largely intact natural forest surrounding the lake and its water
clarity help to explain the importance of Lake Disston to raptors, and have allowed for the lake and
its drainage to remain one of the most pristine and intact black-water habitats in ne. Florida. In 2001,
the State designated Lake Disston as an Outstanding Florida Water.
THREATS: *development (of surrounding uplands), runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: A proposed development along the lakes se. shore will be composed of homes
built with septic tanks. Together with existing residences, which also use septic tanks, and
surrounding agricultural areas, this proposed development may impact water quality. The St. Johns
River WMD has identified this property as a potential acquisition. If acquired, this property will form
a contiguous expanse of protected lands from Lake Disston southwest through Heart Island
Conservation Area, Lake George State Forest, and Ocala National Forest to extensive conservation
lands in the Wekiva River basin. The IBA Executive Committee recommended the inclusion of
upland habitats to protect the Swallow-tailed Kite roosting and breeding areas.
NOMINATED BY: Gianfranco Basili (St. Johns Audubon) and Ann Moore (Lake Disston LakeWatch).

24. MATANZAS INLET AND RIVER


Fort Matanzas National Monument (300 ac; 121 ha), Northeast Florida Blueway Phase II Tolomato
and Matanzas Rivers FF Project (~15,000 ac; 6070 ha, none acquired), and State-sovereign lands
(9985 ac; 4040 ha)
St. Johns County
24,985 ac (10,111 ha), with 300 ac (121 ha) acquired and 9985 ac (4040 ha) of sovereign lands

80

LOCATION: South of State Road 312 between the mainland and the barrier islands in se. St. Johns
County. Fort Matanzas National Monument is at the s. end of Anastasia Island in se. St. Johns
County. Contiguous with the Northern Atlantic Migration Stopover IBA to the north and south.
DESCRIPTION: Three existing or proposed conservation areas that protect large areas of estuarine marsh
and some coastal strand. Fort Matanzas National Monument lies along the north shore of Matanzas
Inlet. The Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project is an extensive marsh and estuarine system
from St. Augustine south for 14 mi (22 km). The project area encompasses 27,929 ac (11,302 ha), but
some of this is north of State Road 312 and therefore outside the IBA boundary. Matanzas Inlet is a
natural inlet that connects the Matanzas River with the Atlantic Ocean. The Inlet is characterized by
extensive tidal flats and sandbars, interspersed with natural out-croppings of coquina rock.
OWNERSHIP: USNPS (Fort Matanzas National Monument), State of Florida (sovereign lands), and
private owners (acreage part of the Northeast Florida Blueway Phase II Tolomato and Matanzas
Rivers FF Project).
HABITATS: *tidal marsh, *estuarine, *pine plantation, *maritime hammock, coastal strand, sand pine
scrub, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp, riverine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *silviculture, historic preservation, potential development.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Threatened species; significant numbers of
shorebirds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a Wood Stork rookery, large numbers of wintering shorebirds and larids, and
smaller numbers of breeding larids.
SPECIES
Wood Stork
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds
Least Tern

DATES
2 Jun 1999
8 Dec 2001
25 Feb 2001
MayJun 2000

NUMBERS
50 pairs
48 birds
1141 bird
100 nests

STATUS
Blueway Project; <1% (B)
Matanzas River
Matanzas River
Fort Matanzas; 2% (B)

Wood Stork rookery data from Julia Dodge (FWC); shorebird data from Gian Basili (St. Johns River WMD); and
larid data from Peggy Powell and Dave Parker, published in Florida Field Naturalist.

OTHER RESOURCES: This IBA lies within GuanaTolomatoMatanzas National Estuarine Research
Reserve, part of a significant regional fishery. Fort Matanzas National Monument protects
undisturbed coastal dunes surrounding Fort Matanzas, which was built by the Spanish during 1740
1742 to warn the inhabitants of St. Augustine of British invasion.
THREATS: *development, human disturbance, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Fort Matanzas National Monument: The Least Tern rookery is posted
against human intrusion. Driving on the beach, which disturbs roosting and foraging shorebirds and
larids, is permitted. Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF Project: The entire project is privately
owned and under threat of residential development. Residential runoff impacts the river.
NOMINATED BY: Gianfranco Basili (St. Johns Audubon).
2010 UPDATE: Most of the Tolomato and Matanzas Rivers FF acreage south of State Road 312 was
purchased in 2004. One of the sites created is Matanzas State Forest (4699 ac; 1901 ha).

25. NORTHERN ATLANTIC MIGRANT STOPOVER


Anastasia State Park (1492 ac; 603 ha), Faver-Dykes State Park (1465 ac; 592 ha), Fort Clinch State
Park (1362 ac; 551 ha); Moses Creek Conservation Area (2042 ac; 830 ha), Smyrna Dunes Park
(250 ac; 101 ha); Tomoka Basin GEOpark (6889 ac; 2788 ha), Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve
(8000 ac; 3237 ha), and Washington Oaks Gardens State Park (413 ac; 167 ha)

81

Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns, and Volusia counties


21,913 ac (8868 ha)

LOCATION: Along or near the Atlantic Ocean between the Georgia state line and New Smyrna Beach, a
distance of 115 mi (185 km). Contiguous with the Matanzas Inlet and River IBA to the north and
south. Listed geographically from the north, the sites are Fort Clinch State Park, Anastasia State Park,
Moses Creek Conservation Area, Faver-Dykes State Park, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park,
Tomoka Marsh GEOpark, and Smyrna Dunes Park. Fort Clinch State Park occupies the n. tip of
Amelia Island in ne. Nassau County, across the St. Marys River from Georgia. Anastasia State
Park is on n. Anastasia Island in cen. St. Johns County. Moses Creek Conservation Area lies along
the w. side of the Matanzas River in se. St. Johns County. Faver-Dykes State Park lies along the n.
side of Pellicer Creek in se. St. Johns County. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park lies between
the Matanzas River and Atlantic Ocean in ne. Flagler County. Tomoka Basin GEOpark extends
from Flagler Beach to Ormond Beach in se. Flagler County and ne. Volusia County. Smyrna Dunes
Park is on the s. side of Ponce de Leon Inlet in ne. Volusia County.
DESCRIPTION: Several disjunct conservation areas along the Atlantic Ocean. Anastasia State Park,
which contains extensive shorelines along Salt Run and the Atlantic Ocean, receives 750,000
recreationists annually. Moses Creek Conservation Area preserves one of the few remaining tidal
creeks in the region, a tributary of the Matanzas River. Tomoka Basin GEOpark includes Addison
Blockhouse Historic State Park, Bulow Creek State Park, Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park,
and Tomoka State Park. The GEOpark receives 75,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard (Smyrna Dunes Park,
managed by Volusia County Parks and Recreational Services), DEP (Anastasia State Park, FaverDykes State Park, Fort Clinch State Park, Tomoka Basin GEOpark, and Washington Oaks Gardens
State Park), Florida Office of Coastal and Aquatic Areas (Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve), St. Johns
River WMD (Moses Creek Conservation Area).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, *estuarine and tidal marsh, *maritime hammock, *slash pine flatwoods,
*sandhills, hardwood swamp, cypress swamp, temperate hammock, sand pine scrub, riverine,
lacustrine, bayhead, sawgrass marsh, pine plantation, botanical garden, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, historic preservation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and
Watch List species; significant numbers of wading birds, shorebirds, larids, and Neotropical migrants;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports large numbers of Neotropical migrants during spring and fall. Smyrna Dunes
Park was one of two sites from which the largest fallout of Neotropical migrants in Florida was
observed in a few hours on 17 October 1999. Anastasia Island supports significant populations of
breeding and wintering shorebirds and larids, and breeding Painted Buntings. The Tomoka sites
support large numbers of foraging wading birds and larids. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
supports some of the northernmost Florida Scrub-Jay groups remaining. Their habitat, overgrown
from long-term fire suppression, is under restoration. Overall native richness is 187 species.
Anastasia State Park
SPECIES
Wilsons Plover
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Shorebirds

DATES
summer 2000
11 Sep 2000
11 Sep 2000
1 Jul 1999
11 Sep 2000
23 Mar 1998

NUMBERS
5 pairs
1570 birds
128 birds
140 birds
102 birds
1200 birds

STATUS
2% (B)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(M)

82

Painted Bunting
Native richness

summer 1999
Aug 2002 list

30 pairs
93 species

(B)

DATES
Sep 1999 list

NUMBERS
111 species

STATUS

NUMBERS
hundreds of thousands of birds

STATUS
(M)

Data from J.B. Miller (DEP).


Faver-Dykes Park
SPECIES
Native richness
Checklist from J.B. Miller (DEP).
Smyrna Dunes Park
SPECIES
Neotropical migrants

DATES
17 Oct 1999

Data of Cindy and Kurt Radamaker, published in Florida Field Naturalist; see also Radamaker and Radamaker
(2002). Birds were estimated as 60% Palm Warblers, 15% each Blackpoll and Cape May warblers, 5% Blackthroated Blue Warblers, and 100s of Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Gray Catbirds.
Tomoka Basin GEOpark/Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Wading birds*
Peregrine Falcon
Least Tern
Royal Tern
Native richness

DATES
16 Feb 1996
11 Oct 1995
11 Oct 1995
22 Apr 1996
14 May 1996
19951997

NUMBERS
176 birds
1613 birds
20 birds
102 birds
186 birds
173 species

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
1% (M)
(NB)
(NB)

Data obtained from monthly surveys (August 1995July 1996)\ conducted by Lorne Malo (St. Johns River WMD)
and prepared by Teresa Downey and Charles DuToit (DEP). *500 or more wading birds were counted on nearly
every survey; only the highest count is featured here.

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Aquatic habitats within Anastasia State Park have been designated as an Outstanding
Florida Water. The park supports a large population of Endangered Anastasia Island beach mice
and contains 4 mi (6.4 km) of frontage along the Atlantic Ocean and 5 mi along (8 km) Salt Run.
Faver-Dykes State Park protects estuarine habitats along 3 mi (4.8 km) of Pellicer Creek and 1.5 mi
(2.4 km) of the Matanzas River. Fort Clinch State Park was one of the first park acquisitions, in
1935. Fort Clinch was built from 1847 to 1867, and was occupied by Union forces during the Civil
War to control the Georgia/Florida coastlines. The Fort was restored by the Civilian Conservation
Corps in the 1930s. Timucuan Indians used Moses Creek Conservation Area thousands of years
ago. Tomoka Basin GEOpark/Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve supports 260 plants, 108 fishes,
28 reptiles, 7 amphibians, and 20 mammals. The Tomoka River is a designated sanctuary for the
Florida manatee. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park: Loggerhead sea turtles nest on the beach.
Several archaeological and historical sites are known. The gardens were developed by previous
owners beginning in the 1930s. The beach contains a natural outcropping of coquina rock.
THREATS: *exotic plants, *human disturbance, *feral hogs, habitat succession, runoff, cowbird brood
parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Anastasia State Park: Nesting areas are roped off against human disturbance.
Beach access is limited to trails to protect the dunes. The bird list could be improved substantially

83

from surveys that target Neotropical migrants. Faver-Dykes State Park: Fire-maintained habitats are
prescribed-burned. Feral hogs are removed as needed. Moses Creek Conservation Area is
surrounded by subdivisions, which complicates prescribed-fire management. Feral hogs and exotic
plants are controlled as needed. Tomoka Basin GEOpark/Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve: The
primary management objective is to preserve and restore ecological functions of natural habitats via
prescribed fire, control of exotics, and restoring wetland communities.
NOMINATED BY: Gianfranco Basili (St. Johns Audubon), Teresa Downey, Charles DuToit, and J.B.
Miller (all DEP).

26. OCALA NATIONAL FORESTLAKE GEORGE


Lake George Conservation Area (20,184 ac; 8168 ha), Lake George State Forest (19,648 ac; 7935
ha), and Ocala National Forest (383,573 ac; 155,231 ha)
Lake, Marion, Putnam, and Volusia counties
423,366 ac; 171,366 ha

LOCATION: Between the Ocklawaha River and State Road 40 in n. Lake County, e. Marion County, s.
Putnam County, and w. Volusia County. Contiguous with the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife
Refuge and the WekivaOcala Greenway IBAs to the south.
DESCRIPTION: Three public properties that form a huge contiguous conservation area in the n-cen.
Peninsula. The Ocklawaha River forms the w. boundary, while the St. Johns River and Lake George,
the second-largest lake in Florida, are to the east. Lake George Conservation Area and Lake
George State Forest are managed by FWC as wildlife management areas. The state forest receives
500 recreationists and 800 hunters annually. Ocala National Forest is the southernmost national
forest in the continental United States. The first national forest established in the east, in 1908, it
receives more than 2 million recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFS (Ocala National Forest), DOF (Lake George State Forest), St. Johns River WMD
and Volusia County (Lake George Conservation Area).
HABITATS: *sand pine scrub, *xeric oak scrub, *hardwood swamp, *slash pine plantation, *longleaf pine
flatwoods, *temperate hammock, cypress swamp, bayhead, sandhill, freshwater marsh, riverine,
lacustrine, fields, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *timber production, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; significant numbers of raptors; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Critical to the survival of the Florida Scrub-Jay, the national forest supports the largest
extant population and accounts for more than 20% of all groups remaining. It also supports Redcockaded Woodpeckers and other flatwoods and sandhills species. Eighty point-count stations (40 in
sand pine scrub and 40 in longleaf pine sandhills) are surveyed once annually to track populations of
selected species. The area surrounding Lake George contains one of the densest nesting
concentrations of Bald Eagles in the United States.
Ocala National Forest
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Southeastern American Kestrel
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay
Bachmans Sparrow

DATES
Jul 1997
2001
2001
2001
2001

NUMBERS
200 birds
75 nest boxes occupied
30 clusters
763 groups
2.0 birds/sandhills sample point

STATUS
13% (NB)
(B)
2% (R)
21% (R)
(R)

84

Native richness

1998 checklist

244 species

Kite data from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute), all other data from Laura Lowery (USFS).
All sites combined
SPECIES
Bald Eagle

DATES
2001

NUMBERS
79 nests

STATUS
7% (B)

Eagle GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Ocala National Forest contains the largest patch of xeric oak scrub in the world (more than
200,000 ac; 80,940 ha), and two of Floridas 27 first-magnitude springs: Alexander Springs (76
million gal [287 million l] per day) and Silver Glen Springs (70 million gal [264 million l] per day),
along with 20 or more smaller springs. It also contains more than 200 ephemeral ponds important to
amphibians occupying xeric habitats. The regional population of black bears is under study.
Human habitation in the area goes back about 10,000 years. Lake George State Forest contains
pre-historic American Indian sites dating back thousands of years.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *habitat succession, feral hogs, offsite development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Lake George Conservation Area: Off-Road Vehicles must remain on
designated trails at all times. Feral hogs and exotic plants are controlled as needed. Some outparcels remain to be acquired. Pine plantations are being thinned and will be managed to attain a
more natural old-growth condition. Forests heavily burned during the July 1998 wildfires were
salvaged-logged and are being replanted to longleaf pine to be managed as natural flatwoods. Lake
George State Forest: Beginning in the 1960s, native longleaf pine was aggressively harvested and
converted to slash pine plantations. Nearly half of the forest burned during the July 1998 wildfires;
current restoration efforts include salvage logging and replanting with longleaf and slash pines.
Former bahiagrass pastures also are being replanted to pines.
Feral hogs and exotic plants,
primarily air-potato and camphortree (Cinnamomum camphora), are controlled as needed. Most
of Ocala National Forest is managed for the production of sand pines, which are harvested for
pulpwood. Clear-cuts regenerate initially as xeric oak scrub, then succeed to sand pine forests. Cox
(1987) found that clear-cuts 47 years old are most suitable for Florida Scrub-Jays, which then must
move to other, more recent clear-cuts as the sand pines increase in density and height. The long-term
effects of mechanical treatment as a substitute for fire management on scrub flora and fauna are
unknown (Woolfenden and Fitzpatrick 1996). The management plan has set a goal of 44 active
Red-cockaded Woodpecker clusters (an increase from 30 in 2001), and 907 Florida Scrub-Jay
groups. The n. boundary is defined by the Ocklawaha River, which has been flooded and dammed
by the Rodman Dam for 40 years, a relict of the now-defunct Cross-Florida Barge Canal. State
legislation to remove the dam has so far been unsuccessful, largely due to the influence of a few
politicians. The federal government owns land flooded by the dam and the USFS recently prepared
an Environmental Impact Statement that calls for removal of most of the dam and the restoration of
9000 ac (3642 ha) of riverine habitats by 2006. There is heavy and increasing demand for Off-Road
Vehicle use of the forest.
NOMINATED BY: Gianfranco Basili (St. Johns River WMD), Laura Lowery (USFS), and Christa Rogers
(DOF).
2010 UPDATE: Efforts to remove Rodman Dam continue to be opposed by the fishing industry and
certain legislators. Both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate passed bills in
2003 that designated the area encompassing Rodman Reservoir as the George Kirkpatrick State
Reservenamed in memory after the dams most ardent supporter. The bills required the care and

85

maintenance of all structures within the reserveincluding Rodman Dam. However, the bill was
vetoed by Governor Jeb Bush. Attempts to reintroduce the bill during subsequent legislative sessions
have failed.

27. OSCEOLA NATIONAL FORESTOKEFENOKEE SWAMP


Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (3678 ac; 1488 ha), Osceola National Forest (193,104 ac;
78,149 ha), and unacquired acreage of the Pinhook Swamp CARLFF Project (51,972 ac [21,033
ha] remaining)
Baker and Columbia counties
248,754 ac (100,670 ha), with 196,782 ac (79,637 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Between the Suwannee and St. Marys rivers in e. Columbia County and w. Baker County,
extending north to the Georgia state line.
DESCRIPTION: A vast area of pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, and wetlands in the n. Peninsular interior.
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best-preserved freshwater habitats in the United
States. It is a vast depressional area that supports a richness of swampland. More than 99% of the
refuge (390,000 ac; 157,833 ha) is located in Georgia; no information was provided for the Florida
portion.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge), USFS (Osceola National Forest), and
private owners (unacquired acreage of the Pinhook Swamp CARLFF Project, added to Osceola
National Forest as acquired).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, pine plantation, bayhead,
riverine, lacustrine, quaking bog.
LAND USE: *conservation, *timber production, recreation, hunting, saw palmetto berry harvesting
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and Watch List species; complete
avian richness of longleaf pine flatwoods; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Osceola National Forest supports the full richness of pine flatwoods species, including
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers; no avian data are available for Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge or
the Pinhook Swamp CARLFF Project.
Osceola National Forest
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite

DATES
19941998

Florida Sandhill Crane


Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Prothonotary Warbler
Bachmans Sparrow
Native richness

1999
2000
19941998
19941998
19941998
undated list

NUMBERS
34 nests found annually;
many others likely
25 pairs
66 clusters
common
common
common
167 species

STATUS
probably >1% (B)
1% (R)
5% (R)
(R)
(B)
(R)

Kite data from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute), woodpecker data from USFWS (2000), all
other data from Jane Monaghan (USFWS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Together with the Georgia portion of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, this IBA
represents one of the largest natural areas in the se. United States. The region supports a large

86

population of black bears, and was included in an experiment in the 1990s in which western cougars
were released as part of a potential Florida panther reintroduction project. More than one-third of
Osceola National Forest has an intact ground-cover, representing significant examples of native
longleaf pine flatwoods. The forest supports the only known flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma
cingulatum) population occurring east of the Suwannee River. The forest also protects the 20
February 1864 Battle of Olustee, the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *habitat succession, development, exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The primary management issue of Osceola National Forest is returning a
natural fire regime to the flatwoods. For the past 30 years, fires have been set during the non-growing
season. A growing-season wildfire in 1998 burned more than 20,000 ac (8094 ha); vegetation surveys
of the burned area documented their recovery. Large-scale flatwoods restoration using growingseason fires is urgently needed. The Pinhook Swamp CARLFF Project was designed to provide a
direct link between Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Osceola National Forest. To date,
nearly 100,000 ac (40,470 ha) have been acquired, at a cost of $60 million.
NOMINATED BY: Jane Monaghan (USFWS).
REVIEWED BY: Sara Eicher (USFWS).

28. PAYNES PRAIRIE PRESERVE STATE PARK


Alachua County
20,945 ac (8476 ha)

LOCATION: South of Gainesville in s. Alachua County. Contiguous with the Alachua Lakes IBA to the
east, and near the Kanapaha Prairie IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: A large natural area centered around Paynes Prairie. The prairie currently is a shallow
marsh but previously was a large lake; steamboats plied its waters during the 1880s. The state park
receives more than 200,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *freshwater marsh, *cattail marsh, fields, non-native
pasture, cypress swamp, bayhead, sawgrass marsh, riverine, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Threatened species; significant numbers of
wintering Sandhill Cranes; exceptional richness of wood-warblers and overall species; significant
natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: A great richness of species has been recorded in recent years, partially due to low water
levels. Hammocks support an exceptional richness of Neotropical migrants. Huge numbers of
Greater Sandhill Cranes winter locally.
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Bald Eagle
Greater Sandhill Crane
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
30 Oct 1999
winter 19992000
19 Dec 1999
21 Sep 1997
Sep 1999 list
Sep 1999 list

NUMBERS
666 birds
50 birds
4882 birds
42 birds
34 species
267 species

STATUS
5% (NB)
1% (NB)
19% (W)
along 1 mile (1.6 km) of trail (M)
(M)

Stork and hummingbird observations by Howard Adams, published in Florida Field Naturalist, eagle and crane
data from the 1999 Gainesville CBC; richness data from park checklist.

87

OTHER RESOURCES: Supports an extraordinary floral diversity of more than 700 species. Uplands
contain more than 100 gopher tortoises. The prairie rim has been inhabited by humans nearly
continuously for 10,000 years. William Bartram visited Paynes Prairie, which he called the Great
Alachua Savanna, in 1774. The prairie contained the largest 17th century cattle ranch in Florida.
Some fortifications from the Second Seminole War formerly were found in the park. Small herds of
American bison (Bison bison) and wild horses (Equus caballus) were established in 1975 and
1985, respectively.
THREATS: *exotic plants, *habitat succession, cowbird brood parasitism, feral cats, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Contains 20 natural communities, many maintained by use of prescribed-fire.
Sweetwater Branch, a primary source of water to the prairie, is affected by residential runoff. This has
accelerated succession of the marsh to woody plants such as willow, wax myrtle, and boxelder
(Acer negundo). Fire frequency is insufficient to return this area back to wet prairie and open marsh.
Exotic plants are a serious problem, especially Chinese tallow and wild taro (Colocasia esculenta).
Common water-hyacinth has been a problem in the past. An organization in Gainesville that
supports colonies of feral cats refused to agree to keep them at least 1 mi (1.6 km) from the park
boundaries. The Paynes Prairie Ecopassagea system of walls and culvertswas installed along
U.S. Highway 441 to prevent continued mortality. It was estimated that more than 100,000 animals
were killed annually while crossing the road.
NOMINATED BY: Rex Rowan (Alachua Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: David Jowers (DEP).

29. SAN FELASCO HAMMOCK PRESERVE STATE PARK


Alachua County
6927 ac (2803 ha)

LOCATION: Northwest of Gainesville in nw. Alachua County.


DESCRIPTION: One of the largest expanses of upland pine forest in n-cen. Florida, located between the
Central Highlands and Coastal Lowlands along the Cody Scarp. A highly diverse and complex
mosaic of 25 biological communities, featuring steep ravines, pristine hammock, and wetlands. The
state park receives 27,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *sandhills, *temperate hammock, non-native pasture, bayhead, riverine, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant numbers and richness of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant numbers and an exceptional richness of Neotropical migrants; Wood
Thrushes approach their southernmost breeding site.
SPECIES
Acadian Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Veery
Northern Parula
Ovenbird
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Wood-warbler richness

DATES
9 May 1992
9 May 1992
9 May 1998
9 May 1998
21 Sep 1996
9 May 1998
24 Sep 2000
14 Oct 1991
27 Apr 1997
Apr 1998 list

NUMBERS
27 birds
48 birds
20 birds
67 birds
30 birds
65 birds
22 birds
20 birds
27 birds
33 species

STATUS
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(M)
(B)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

88

Summer Tanager
Native richness

9 May 1998
Apr 1998 list

30 birds
178 species

(B)

Data from observations of John Hintermister, Mitch Lysinger, and Mike Manetz published in Florida Field
Naturalist; observations during the spring and fall North American Migration Counts from Sam Cole (DEP);
checklist data from the management plan.

OTHER RESOURCES: Ravines and sinks harbor flora that otherwise grow no closer than the Appalachian
Mountains; San Felasco marks the s. limit of several species. The park supports healthy populations
of gopher tortoises, Florida mice, and 27 species of underwing moths (Catocala spp.). It contains
four streams, all of them designated as Outstanding Florida Waters. Twenty-five archaeological or
historical sites occur onsite, from Paleo-Indians to post Civil War. Many Spanish-era artifacts have
been found, along with several associated village sites.
THREATS: *offsite development, *exotic plants, *feral hogs, cowbird brood parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Encroaching development threatens to isolate the park. Water quality is
declining from runoff via increased development. About 20 species of exotic plants occur, and
several are considered to be threats, including Chinese tallow, wild taro, tropical soda apple
(Solanum viarum), cogongrass, Chinaberrytree (Melia azedarach), tungoil tree (Aleurites fordii),
and silktree (Albizia julibrissin). Feral hogs are a major concern; eradication is planned.
NOMINATED BY: Sam Cole (DEP) and Rex Rowan (Alachua Audubon).

89

CENTRAL PENINSULA

90

CENTRAL PENINSULA
NORTHWESTERN QUARTER

35. Central Pasco


36. ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee
37. Citrus County Spoil Islands
39. Coastal Pasco
41. Crystal River Tidal Marshes
44. Emeralda Marsh
45. Green Swamp Ecosystem
49. J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park
52. Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area
76. WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub
77. Withlacoochee State Forest

91

CENTRAL PENINSULA
NORTHEASTERN QUARTER

31. Brevard Scrub Ecosystem


34. Cape CanaveralMerritt Island
42. Disney Wilderness Preserve
44. Emeralda Marsh
45. Green Swamp Ecosystem
52. Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area
55. Lake Jessup
56. Lake Mary JaneUpper Econ Mosaic
57. Lake Tohopekaliga
59. Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

63. Orlando Wetlands Park


65. Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies
67. St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge
70. Turkey Creek Sanctuary not on map
71. Upper St. Johns River
72. Volusia County Spoil Islands not on map
73. WekivaOcala Greenway
74. Wekiwa basin GEOpark
75. William Beardsall Tosohatchee State
Reserve

92

CENTRAL PENINSULA
SOUTHWESTERN QUARTER

32. Bright Hour Watershed


38. Clearwater HarborSt. Joseph Sound
40. Cockroach BayTerra Ceia
43. Dogleg Key
46. Gulf Islands GEOpark
47. Highlands Hammock State ParkCharlie Creek
48. Hillsborough Bay
53. lake HancockUpper Peace River
60. Lower Tampa Bay
61. Myakka River Watershed
62. North Lido BeachPalmer Point not on map
64. Oscar Scherer State Park
69. Sarasota and Roberts Bays not on map

93

CENTRAL PENINSULA
SOUTHEASTERN QUARTER

30. Avon Park Air Force RangeBombing Range Ridge


31. Brevard Scrub Ecosystem
32. Bright Hour Watershed
33. Buck Island Ranch
47. Highlands Hammock State ParkCharlie Creek
50. Kissimmee Lake and River
51. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
54. Lake Istokpoga
58. Lake Wales Ridge
65. Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies
66. Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
68. St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
71. Upper St. Johns River Basin

94

30. AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGEBOMBING RANGE RIDGE


Avon Park Air Force Range (106,110 ac; 42,942 ha) and the adjacent Bombing Range Ridge CARL
FF Project (39,073 ac [15,812 ha], with 4009 ac [1603 ha] acquired as Sumica/Lake Walk-In-TheWater Tract)
Highlands and Polk counties
145,183 ac (58,755 ha), with 110,119 ac (44,565 ha) acquired

LOCATION: About 10 mi (16 km) east of Avon Park in se. Polk County and ne. Highlands County. The
Bombing Range Ridge CARLFF Project lies north of Avon Park Air Force Range, extending to the
w. shore of Lake Kissimmee. Contiguous with the Lake Wales Ridge IBA to the west, and with the
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and Lake Kissimmee Lake and River IBAs to the east.
DESCRIPTION: Avon Park Air Force Range is a large, active military range used by the U.S. Air Force
and the National Guard for live-fire bombing and gunnery practice. A state prison, juvenile detention
facility, and numerous other buildings are onsite. A majority of the range remains in natural habitats,
although 2,199 ac (889 ha) are developed, and 19,728 ac (7983 ha; 19%) were converted to pine
plantations in the 1960s and 1970s. The Bombing Range Ridge CARLFF Project encompasses a
large area that is mostly undisturbed, although several hunting cabins and other dwellings exist. No
data were provided for the CARLFF Project.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Air Force (Avon Park Air Force Range), South Florida WMD and Polk County
(Sumica/Lake Walk-In-The-Water Tract), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Bombing
Range Ridge CARLFF Project; DOF will be the owner if the site is publicly acquired).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *slash pine plantation, *temperate hammock, *xeric oak scrub,
*dry prairie, *freshwater marsh, sand pine scrub, sandhills, slash pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods,
cutthroatgrass seeps, non-native pasture, agricultural fields, cypress swamp, bayhead, cattail marsh,
sawgrass marsh, wet prairie, riverine, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *bombing and gunnery practice, *timber production, hunting, recreation,
cattle grazing, state prison and juvenile detention facility, artificial, potential development.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and
Watch List species; complete avian richness of longleaf pine flatwoods and dry prairies; significant
natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports numerous listed species and is (or was) extremely important for three birds: Redcockaded Woodpecker, Florida Scrub-Jay, and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. Also supports one of
the largest populations of Hairy Woodpeckers remaining in the s. Peninsula. Henslows Sparrows
appear to be regular winter residents in the prairies. Not much is known about avian use of the
Bombing Range Ridge CARLFF Project, but it does support all species of longleaf pine flatwoods,
including a declining population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and a singing male Florida
Grasshopper Sparrow was found in the se. portion on 15 May 1997 (Delany et al. 1999).
SPECIES
White Ibis
Short-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Crested Caracara
Sandhill Crane
Barred Owl
Hairy Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker

DATES
29 Dec 1996
20082010
21 Dec 1993
19981999
29 Dec 1995
29 Dec 1994
29 Dec 1994
2010

NUMBERS
2318 birds
23 pairs
124 birds
2 pairs
329 birds
71 birds
21 birds
32 active clusters

STATUS
(NB)
1% (B)
(R)
1% (B)
1% (W)
(R)
(R)
2% (R)

95

Northern Flicker
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Florida Scrub-Jay
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Pine Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Bachmans Sparrow
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow
Native richness

29 Dec 1994
29 Dec 1994
2000
29 Dec 1994
21 Dec 1993
29 Dec 1994
29 Dec 1994
21 Dec 1993
29 Dec 1994
spring 1997
spring 1999
spring 2001
spring 2009
21 Dec 1993
undated list

48 birds
145 birds
50 groups
412 birds
1035 birds
1021 birds
345 birds
380 birds
50 birds
134 singing males
118 singing males
76 singing males
9 singing males
155 birds
165 species

(R)
(R)
1% (R)
(W)
North American CBC record (R)
(R)
(R)
(R)
(R)
13% (R)
11% (R)
7% (R)
<1% (R)
(W)
Air Force Range only

December sightings from various Avon Park Air Force Range CBCs, Grasshopper Sparrow data from Delany et al.
(1998, 2000, 2001) and Tucker et al. (2010), other data provided by Greg Schrott and Reed Bowman (Archbold
Biological Station).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Several cultural sites are known. Approximately 55% of the Air Force Range meets the
standards of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory as natural areas (Orzell 1997). It supports more
than 1050 species of native and exotic plants (S. Orzell pers. comm.), including two federally-listed
species: Florida jointweed (Polygonella basiramia) and sweetscented pigeonwings (Clitoria
fragrans). Several new plant species discovered recently are in the process of being described
formally (S. Orzell pers. comm.). The range contains more than 10,000 ac (4047 ha) of cutthroatgrass
seeps, the greatest remaining amount in public ownership. It includes half of the shoreline of Lake
Arbuckle and more than 12 mi (19.2 km) of frontage along the Kissimmee River.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, *timbering, human disturbance, exotic plants, feral hogs,
cattle grazing, bombing and gunnery exercises.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: There are 29 active Red-cockaded Woodpecker clusters on the Air Force
Range, and 3 on the adjacent CARLFF Project; numbers at the latter site have declined from 11
pairs in 2000 due to lack of habitat management. The birds are color-banded and monitored regularly,
and the population is stable (Bowman et al. 1998a). The Florida Scrub-Jay population is colorbanded and monitored regularly. The population has declined severely from more than 100 groups in
1991 to about 50 in 2000. This decline primarily is due to past fire-suppression activities that have
rendered oak scrub too overgrown to support scrub-jays (Bowman et al. 1998b). In recent years,
restoration of oak scrub habitats has stabilized and increased the scrub-jay population somewhat.
Three populations of Florida Grasshopper Sparrows occurred on the Range through the early
2000s, but one is now extirpated and the others have declined severely. The population at Bravo
Range declined since its discovery in 1997 from 21 singing males (Delany et al. 1999) to 4 singing
males in 2001 (Delany et al. 2001) to no birds by 2006. Prairies in which Florida Grasshopper
Sparrows breed are grazed during spring and summer. The long-term effects of livestock grazing on
dry prairie vegetation is under study (S. Orzell pers. comm.), but the impact of cattle on sparrow nests
is unknown. Prairies are burned on a three-year rotation. At the request of USFWS, most burning
takes place during late winter or early spring to avoid destroying sparrow nests by burning during the
nesting season, but late-spring burns are occurring more frequently as sparrow populations decline.
Long-term effects of off-season fires on prairie flora and fauna deserve study. At least two areas
formerly occupied by Florida Grasshopper Sparrow in recent years now are vacant (M.F. Delany
pers. comm.), apparently due to habitat fragmentation from pine plantations. A large habitat
modification experiment, resulting in the conversion of 510 ac (206 ha) of longleaf pine flatwoods to

96

dry prairie, was begun in 1998. This area will be monitored, but recolonization is increasingly
unlikely as surrounding populations decline. Other potential threats to sparrow populations include
red imported fire ants and feral hogs. About one-third of the range (33,000 ac or 13,200 ha) is
prescribed-burned annually. The Bombing Range Ridge CARLFF Project supports high-quality
longleaf pine flatwoods, which are susceptible to clear-cutting for timber. The site is also endangered
from residential development.
More than 6500 ac (2600 ha) of high-quality longleaf pine flatwoods that extend west to County Road
630 are excluded from the CARLFF Project boundary. Public acquisition of these properties should
be investigated.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Mike Delany (FWC), Steve Orzell (Avon Park Air Force Range), and Greg Schrott
(Archbold Biological Station).
2010 UPDATE: Florida Grasshopper Sparrow numbers continue to plummet, and Avon Park Air Force
Range no longer supports a significant population (although recovery should be a conservation
priority). The population at Bravo Range was last present in 2005, and in 2009, the remaining
populations numbered 2 singing males at Delta Trail/OQ Range, and 7 singing males at Echo Range,
representing a 90% decline in 10 years. Color-banding studies have proven that some sparrows
banded at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park have moved to Echo Range (Miller 2005), but
immigration alone cannot sustain this population.

31. BREVARD SCRUB ECOSYSTEM


Sites at least partially acquired are: Batchelor Tract (22 ac; 8.9 ha), Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary (44
ac; 17 ha), Enchanted Forest Sanctuary (393 ac; 175 ha), Fox Lake Tract (3695 ac; 1495 ha),
Jordan Boulevard Tract (354 ac; 143 ha), Malabar Scrub Sanctuary (395 ac; 159 ha), Micco
Scrub Sanctuary (1322 ac; 535 ha), North Rockledge Sanctuary (140 ac; 56 ha), South Babcock
Ten Mile Ridge Tract (53 ac; 21 ha), Tico Scrub Sanctuary (52 ac; 20 ha), and Valkaria Scrub
Sanctuary (457 ac; 184 ha). Other sites targeted for acquisition through the Brevard Coastal Scrub
Ecosystem CARLFF Project are: Grissom Parkway, Jordan Boulevard, Malabar, Malabar
Expansion, Micco, Micco Expansion, Rockledge, South Babcock, Ten Mile Ridge, Titusville
Wellfield, Valkaria, and ValkariaMicco Expansion
Brevard County
33,982 ac (13,752 ha), with 7480 ac (3027 ha) acquired

LOCATION: South of State Road 50 in cen. and s. Brevard County. Contiguous with the St. Sebastian
River Preserve State Park IBA to the south, near the St. Johns River National Wildlife Refuge IBA to
the north and south, and near the Upper St. Johns River Basin IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: All significant xeric oak scrub sites remaining on the Brevard County mainland. If all
sites are purchased, they will form a large expanse of protected lands contiguous with St. Sebastian
River Preserve State Park to the south.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (Enchanted Forest Sanctuary and Micco Scrub Sanctuary, both managed
by Brevard County), Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department (Batchelor Tract, Dicerandra
Scrub Sanctuary, Jordan Boulevard Tract, Malabar Scrub Sanctuary, North Rockledge Sanctuary,
South BabcockTen Mile Ridge Tract, Tico Scrub Sanctuary, and Valkaria Scrub Sanctuary), St.

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Johns River WMD (Fox Lake Tract), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Brevard Coastal
Scrub Ecosystem CARLFF Project).
HABITATS: *pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *sand pine scrub, dry prairie, cypress swamp, bayhead,
freshwater marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Essential for maintaining a viable population of Florida Scrub-Jays in the region.
Populations on the mainland are isolated from those on Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral by the
Indian River, so preservation is needed to maintain genetic variability.
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
19921993
1999

NUMBERS
~140 groups
100 groups

STATUS
3% (R)
2% (R)

Data from Pranty (1996a) and Breininger et al. (1999).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. At least eight listed plants and several rare vertebrates are known from the various sites
(DEP 2001).
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: All sites are under extreme threat of residential and commercial development.
Three sites that were targeted for public acquisition (Canova Beach, Condev, and Wickham Road,
representing 1874 ac; 758 ha) were destroyed by development or were otherwise rendered unsuitable
by early 2001 (DEP 2001). Furthermore, habitats on the sites are extremely overgrown from decades
of fire exclusion, and scrub-jay populations continue to decline.
Extensive habitat restoration will be required once sites are acquired publicly. Currently, these sites
support about 100 Florida Scrub-Jay groups, a number that perhaps can be doubled with full
acquisition and proper management. Prompt public acquisition and proper habitat management are
needed urgently.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: David Breininger (Dynamac Corporation).

32. BRIGHT HOUR WATERSHED


DeSoto County
47,235 ac (19,116 ha), of which 31,989 ac (12,945 ha) are under perpetual conservation easement

LOCATION: East of Arcadia and south of State Road 70 in se. DeSoto County.
DESCRIPTION: Two ranches partly or fully under perpetual conservation easement. Several thousand
additional ac (and ha) of non-native pasture within one of the ranches are not part of the SOR Project
but have been included within the IBA boundary because the pastures are important to Crested
Caracaras.
OWNERSHIP: private owners (perpetual conservation easements monitored by the Southwest Florida
WMD).

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HABITATS: *dry prairie, *freshwater marsh, *temperate hammock, *non-native pastures, riverine,
bayhead, xeric oak scrub, longleaf pine scrubby flatwoods, cutthroatgrass seep, citrus groves.
LAND USE: *conservation, *grazing, crop production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; exceptional richness of dry prairie
species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports or supported nearly all species of dry prairies, along with a substantial and
apparently viable (Stith 1999) population of Florida Scrub-Jays. The Bright Hour scrub-jays have
vocalizations distinct from those on the Lake Wales Ridge, about 20 mi (32 km) to the east, and
represent a highly isolated population (Stith 1999). Large numbers of wading birds, Wild Turkeys,
and Florida Sandhill Cranes, along with lesser numbers of Crested Caracaras were found in May
June 1996 (TNC 1996), but numerical data were not available.
SPECIES
Crested Caracara
Florida Sandhill Crane
Florida Scrub-Jay
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

DATES
19941995
MayJun 1996
1993?
24 Apr 1990

NUMBERS
2 pairs
numerous
21 groups
2 males

STATUS
1% (B)
?
<1% (R); a distinct, isolated population
<1% (R); extirpated by 1997

1996 data from TNC (1996), caracara data from Joan Morrison (Trinity College), scrub-jay data from Pranty
(1996a) and Stith (1999), and sparrow data from Tylan Dean (USFWS) and Mike Delany (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. It supports exceptional hydrological and wildlife resources ... its lands form a mosaic of
natural and interacting wetland and upland communities on a scale grand enough to embrace a full
array of unimpeded ecosystem processes ... The Bright Hour Watershed is a remarkable wilderness
vast and unspoiled, it stretches for miles in all directions. With its rare and diverse natural
communities and rich associations of vertebrate fauna, the project represents the kind of large,
natural, and functionally integrated landscape that is vital to the long-term health and conservation of
Floridas biological and hydrological resources. Furthermore, past disturbances to the tract have
been few and the virtual absence of exotics is remarkable for a property located in this area of
Florida. The few roads on the tract are all unimproved and there areamazingly for a property of
this sizeno utility or transmission corridors running through the property. The entire project area
has been so well-managed with regular, prescribed fire that the species composition, community
structure, and integrity of the ranch appear nearly pristine over the vast majority of its natural land
base. (TNC 1996). It includes portions of six watersheds and extensive acreage of dry prairie.
Cutthroatgrass (Panicum abscissum) seeps were not known to occur in DeSoto County until
discovered on the ranch in 1996.
THREATS: development (portions outside the conservation easements), lowering of surface-water levels
through drainage or future extraction of ground water.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: By 1996, Florida Scrub-Jay habitat was succeeding to xeric hammock (TNC
1996); restoration activities are planned but have yet to take place (M. Barnwell pers. comm.,
Southwest Florida WMD). Two singing male Florida Grasshopper Sparrows were discovered in
1990 but apparently were extirpated by 1997. However, an extensive amount of dry prairie is
preserved within this IBA, and the site should be considered for translocation.
Several large ranches between the Bright Hour Watershed and protected areas of the Lake Wales
Ridge retain extensive amounts of natural communities. It seems advisable to target additional
perpetual conservation easements on these ranches to better protect native flora and fauna of the
DeSoto Plain. Proper habitat management of this unique population of Florida Scrub-Jays must be
undertaken immediately.

99

NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).


REVIEWED BY: Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD).

33. BUCK ISLAND RANCH


Highlands County
10,300 ac (4168 ha)

LOCATION: Between State Road 70 and Harney Pond Canal in se. Highlands County. Contiguous with
the Fisheating Creek Watershed IBA to the south, and near the Lake Wales Ridge IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: A cattle ranch within the Istokpoga-Indian Prairie region, formerly a mixed wet and dry
prairie ecosystem between Lake Istokpoga and Lake Okeechobee, now mostly drained. It is owned by
the MacArthur Foundation, and has been leased to Archbold Biological Station for 30 years (until
2019) to study the effects of ranching and citrus production on the ecosystem. The ranch is now also
known as the MacArthur Agro-Ecology Research Center.
OWNERSHIP: John D. and Katharine T. MacArthur Foundation, leased to Archbold Biological Station.
HABITATS: *non-native pasture, *semi-native wetdry prairie, *freshwater marsh, temperate
hammock, agricultural fields, citrus groves, sawgrass marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *grazing, *long-term agro-ecology research, conservation, recreation, hunting (6 hunters per
year), cabbage palm harvesting (embryonic fronds are edible), citrus production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA species;
complete avian richness of Indian Prairie species; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports all birds of the Istokpoga-Indian Prairie ecosystem, including Mottled Duck,
King Rail, Sandhill Crane, White-tailed Kite, Crested Caracara, and Burrowing Owl. Black Rails
represent a recent discovery. Important for wintering Sedge Wrens and sparrows.
SPECIES
White Ibis
Florida Sandhill Crane
White-tailed Kite
Red-shouldered Hawk
Crested Caracara
American Kestrel
Barred Owl
Burrowing Owl
Eastern Phoebe
Sedge Wren

DATES
Sporadic
May 2001
Since 1996
19952000

NUMBERS
500 birds
6 pairs
12 pairs
50 pairs

20002001
early 2000
winters, 19962000
19952000
May 2001
winters, 19962000
JanFeb 1998

7 pairs
66 birds
70 birds
15 pairs
46 pairs
190 birds
160 birds in 210
point count surveys
30 pairs
136 birds in 210
point count surveys
159 birds in 210
point count surveys

Loggerhead Shrike
Savannah Sparrow

2001
JanFeb 1998

Eastern Meadowlark

JanFeb 1998

Long-term research
Native richness

since 1990
Aug 2001 list

STATUS
1% (NB)
<1% (R)
(B)
One of the densest concentrations
known (R)
3% (R)
single roost; >10% (NB)
(W)
(R)
<1% (R)
(W)
(W); most numerous species in
pastures and prairies
(R)
(W); 3rd most numerous species
(R); 2nd most numerous species
Agro-ecology studies

156 species

1998 data by Bill Pranty (Audubon); all other data from Mike McMillian (Archbold Biological Station).

100

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Numerous American Indian mounds are present; the Brighton Indian Reservation is 5 mi (8
km) to the southeast. More than 500 isolated wetlands are onsite, although most are connected by
drainage ditches.
THREATS: development, human disturbance, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Conversion of ranchland in the region to citrus groves threatens the continued
survival of many prairie species. A comprehensive study is in progress to quantify and resolve
water-quality problems caused by cattle grazing operations. Ranch managers are working with the
Federal Wetland Reserve Program, and have offered 1000 ac (404 ha) for wetlands restoration,
including reestablishing a 50-ac (20-ha) hardwood swamp. Other proposed plans include the
establishment of several small palmoak hammocks and creating an island in an existing pond,
primarily for use by wading birds.
NOMINATED BY: Mike McMillian (Archbold Biological Station).

34. CAPE CANAVERALMERRITT ISLAND


Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (15,438 ac; 6247 ha), Canaveral National Seashore (57,661 ac;
23,335 ha), and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (139,155 ac; 56,316 ha)
Brevard and Volusia counties
212,254 ac (85,899 ha)

LOCATION: Most of the barrier island/lagoon complex along the Atlantic Ocean in ne. Brevard County
and se. Volusia County.
DESCRIPTION: A vast complex of barrier islands and three large, brackish estuaries: the Banana River,
Indian River Lagoon, and Mosquito Lagoon. Parts of the refuge and the Air Force station serve as
rocket launch facilities, and Space Shuttle missions are launched from Kennedy Space Center within
the refuge. Much of Merritt Island was purchased in the 1960s by the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) for its massive space launch complex. NASA later deeded non-essential parts
of the property to USFWS and USNPS to increase public use. Parts of the refuge are off-limits to the
public at all times, and other areas are closed when a Space Shuttle is scheduled to be launched. The
refuge receives more than 650,000 recreationists and 12,000 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Air Force (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station) and National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, managed by USFWS; and Canaveral
National Seashore, managed by the USNPS).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *maritime hammock, *coastal strand, *xeric oak scrub, *tidal marsh,
*estuarine, *mangrove forest, *freshwater marsh, citrus groves, cattail marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *military and commercial space launching facility, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA
species; significant numbers of aquatic birds, wading birds, and larids; exceptional richness;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Critical to the survival of several listed species, supporting the second-largest remaining
population of Florida Scrub-Jays. The refuge also supports large to huge numbers of waterfowl,
wading birds, shorebirds, and larids. It formerly contained one of only two populations of the
Dusky Seaside Sparrow, but impoundment of salt marshes for mosquito control helped cause its
extinction. Canaveral National Seashore was one of two sites from which the largest migration of
Neotropical migrants in Florida was observed. Overall native richness is 313 species, the fourth most
species-rich IBA in Florida.

101

Canaveral National Seashore


SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Wading birds
Merlin
Florida Scrub-Jay
Neotropical migrants

DATES
19871993
19871993
19871993
19871993
19871993
19871993
19871993
19871993
19871991
17 Oct 1999
2000
17 Oct 1999

NUMBERS
mean of 385 pairs
mean of 442 pairs
mean of 368 pairs
mean of 14 pairs
mean of 2112 pairs
mean of 174 pairs
mean of 48 pairs
mean of 3904 pairs
mean of 14,064 birds
50 birds
20 groups
hundreds of thousands of birds

STATUS
2% (B)
(B)
2% (B)
3% (B)
12% (B)
12% (B)
<1% (B)
(B)
(NB)
4-hour survey (M)
<1% (R)
(M)

Wading bird data from Smith and Breininger (1995), scrub-jay data from John Stiner. Neotropical migrant data of
Cindy and Kurt Radamaker, published in Florida Field Naturalist; see also Radamaker and Radamaker (2002).
Migrants were estimated as 60% Palm Warblers, 15% each Blackpoll and Cape May warblers, 5% Black-throated
Blue Warblers, and 100s of Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Gray Catbirds. See also Stolen (1999).
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
SPECIES
Royal Tern
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
1 Dec 1995
1999

NUMBERS
1052 birds
104 groups

STATUS
(W)
2% (R)

Tern data from Eric Stolen (Dynamac Corporation), scrub-jay data from Ted Stevens (The Nature Conservancy).
See also Stolen (1999).
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wading birds
Dabbling ducks
Diving ducks
Lesser Scaup
American Coot
Shorebirds
Bald Eagle
Wilsons Plover
Caspian Tern
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
2000
2000
2000
2000
2000
2000
2000
2000
average winter
average winter
16 Jan 2001
average winter
winter 19931994
19992000
AprMay 1997
2000
19921993
2002

NUMBERS
300 pairs
325 pairs
350 pairs
535 pairs
1000 pairs
55 pairs
45 pairs
2610 pairs
21,000 birds
27,000 birds
32,000 birds
19,000 birds
4645 birds
14 nests
9 nests
35 pairs
400 groups
300 groups

STATUS
2% (B)
(B)
5% (B)
(B)
5% (B)
3% (B)
4% (B)
(B)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(W)
1% (B)
4% (B)
10% (B)
10% (R)
8% (R)

Native richness

undated checklist

313 species

+ observations in Florida Field


Naturalist

102

Scaup data from Herring and Collazo (2001), eagle GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC), plover data from
Epstein (1999), other shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997), 19921993 scrub-jay data from Pranty (1996a),
other data from Gary Popotnik (USFWS). Also see Breininger (1990, 1992, and 1997).

OTHER RESOURCES: Supports 14 federally listed animals. Canaveral National Seashore contains 24 mi
(38 km) of undeveloped beaches and dunes, the longest stretch of native coastal strand remaining
along the Atlantic coast. It contains a mix of temperate and tropical habitats; Turtle Mound is the
northernmost location for many tropical species. More than 4000 sea turtles nest on the beach
annually. More than 100 archaeological sites are known. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
contains a large population of the
Southeastern beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus
niveiventris), a federally Threatened species. There also are a number of aboriginal and recent
archaeological sites. The name Canaveral was charted by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and named
by Francisco Gordillo in 1520. It is one of the first-named landmarks in North America. Merritt
Island National Wildlife Refuge contains more than 1000 plant species, 80 fishes, 50 reptiles, 27
mammals, and 18 amphibians.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *habitat succession, *feral hogs, development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: At all three sites long-term fire exclusion has resulted in heavily overgrown
scrub habitat, and Florida Scrub-Jay populations have declined severely. Management includes
mechanical treatment and prescribed fire to restore scrub habitats. Canaveral National Seashore:
Exotic plants, primarily Brazilian pepper and Australian-pine, are serious threats. Impoundment for
mosquito control has extensively altered the salt marshes. Many marshes are being reconnected to the
Mosquito Lagoon to restore some of their natural functions. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station:
Extensive habitat disturbance and fragmentation has occurred from development of launch facilities.
A large volume of traffic further impacts scrub-jays. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: In
the early 1990s, 500 groups of scrub-jays were estimated to occurless than half that could occur
with additional habitat managementand this number has been further reduced in recent years.
Exotic plants (primarily Brazilian pepper and Australian-pine) are controlled. Extensive alteration
of salt marshes for mosquito control has extensively altered the habitat by ditching and impounding,
and helped to cause the extinction of the Dusky Seaside Sparrow. Many impounded marshes are
being reconnected to the Mosquito Lagoon. Trappers remove 3000 feral hogs per year. For other
information on the Dusky Seaside Sparrows, and the actions and inactions that drove it to
extinction, see Sharp (1970), Delany et al. (1981), Walters (1992), and Kale (1996).
NOMINATED BY: Eric Stolen (Dynamac Corporation) and Gary Popotnik (USFWS).

35. CENTRAL PASCO


Al-Bar Ranch (4092 ac; 1656 ha), Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield (7931 ac; 3209 ha), Cypress Creek
Flood Detention Area (7387 ac; 2989 ha), and the Pasco One SOR project (29,383 ac [11,891 ha],
none acquired)
Pasco County
52,885 ac (21,402 ha), with 19,410 ac (7855 ha) acquired

LOCATION: East of U.S. Highway 41 in cen. Pasco County.


DESCRIPTION: A large area of existing conservation areas separated by ranches sought for public
acquisition. The Cross Bar and Cypress Creek sites are wellfields that supply more than 35 million
gal (132 million l) of water per day to the residents of the Tampa Bay area. The private ranches
support cattle grazing and silviculture. Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area receives 2000

103

recreationists annually; limited, guided public access to Al-Bar Ranch and Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield
is available. Except for land use, all data refer solely to Al-Bar Ranch and Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield.
Little information was provided for Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area.
OWNERSHIP: Southwest Florida WMD (Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area), Pinellas County Utilities
(Al-Bar Ranch and Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield), and private owners (acreage of the Pasco One SOR
Project).
HABITATS: *pine plantation, *sandhills, *temperate hammock, *pasture, *cypress swamp, *grassy
depressions (former wetlands), lacustrine, longleaf pine flatwoods, xeric oak scrub, fields, hardwood
swamp, bayhead, freshwater marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *timber production, *grazing, *water supply, *private owners (planned or
potential development), recreation, hunting, agriculture, pine-needle harvesting, sludge disposal.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of Florida Sandhill Cranes and an isolated population
of Florida Scrub-Jays that is severely threatened by development and habitat succession. May also
support significant numbers of Burrowing Owls. Temperate hammocks are used by Neotropical
migrants. Overall native richness is at least 160 species.
Al-Bar Ranch and Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield
SPECIES
Florida Sandhill Crane
Burrowing Owl
Florida Scrub-Jay
Native richness

DATES
1999
1999
spring 2001

NUMBERS
13 pairs
14 pairs
24 groups

Sep 2002 list

154 species

STATUS
1% (R); ranches contain others
<1% (R); ranches contain others
<1% (R); only 4 groups at Al-Bar Ranch,
extirpated from Cross Bar Ranch

Crane and owl data from Peacock and Associates, Inc. (1999), other data from Bill Pranty (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, *groundwater extraction, human disturbance, exotic
plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The Florida Scrub-Jay population is the second-largest on the Gulf coast. Most
of the oak habitat has succeeded to xeric hammock, which has forced the jays to move into suboptimal habitats. The long-term persistence of Florida Scrub-Jays at Al-Bar Ranch is a goal of
Pinellas County Utilities, which has restored nearly 400 ac (161 ha) of scrub using mechanical and
fire treatments. Al-Bar Ranch may be able to support 1215 scrub-jay groups with extensive habitat
restoration is complete, but this number falls short of the 30 groups that are considered a viable
population. At least 20 other scrub-jay groups occur on the private ranches, where their habitats are
not being managed properly. Central Pasco County is under intense development pressure. Nearly
half of this IBA (in two separate parcels) is publicly owned, but four large ranches and a few smaller
tracts, totaling more than 27,000 ac (10,926 ha), remain unprotected. If acquired in its entirety, the
Pasco One SOR Project would link Cross Bar Wellfield with Cypress Creek Wellfield, and would
create a 75-mi2 (192-km2) conservation area. Loss of the ranches to development will destroy this
link, and will isolate both wellfields by surrounding them with thousands of houses. On the
southernmost ranch (Conner Ranch, 8000 ac [3237 ha]), the Pasco County Commission in 2000
permitted the development of more than 30,000 houses and 4 million ft2 (371,662 m2) of commercial
space. In 2001, owners of a second ranch applied for a development permit. To limit damage to
local wetlands, the wellfields have reduced their pumping capacity by several millions of gallons

104

(>10 million l) of water per day. Additionally, 20 wetlands are augmented with water pumped from
the wellfield.
The four primary ranches that compose the Pasco One SOR Project are critical for assuring the longterm persistence of the region's population of Florida Scrub-Jays. Public acquisition efforts must be
given top priority by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and possibly other agencies
such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Efforts to link this IBA directly with the Starkey
Wilderness IBA to the west should be undertaken.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
2010 UPDATE: 2980 ac (1205 ha) of Conner Ranch are now protected (Conner Preserve, owned and
managed by Southwest Florida WMD). The remaining 4800 ac (1942 ha) are being developed into a
city of 8700 homes and 3.5 million ft2 (278,709 m2) of commercial space. Pinellas County Utilities
has put up for sale Al-Bar Ranch and Cross Bar Ranch Wellfield. The State has designated these
properties as the Crossbar/Al Bar Ranch FF Project (12,432 ac, 5031 ha), an anticipated acquisition to
cost perhaps $200 million.

36. CHASSAHOWITZKAWEEKIWACHEE
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (30,842 ac; 12,481 ha), Chassahowitzka River and Coastal
Swamps SOR Tract (5678 ac; 2297 ha), Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area (28,656 ac;
11,597 ha), the Homosassa Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest (157,479 total 21,753 ac; 8803
ha), and the Weekiwachee Riverine System SOR project (16,027 ac [6486 ha], with 10,102 ac
[4088 ha] acquired as Weekiwachee Preserve)
Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties
102,956 ac (41,666 ha), with 97,031 ac (39,268 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Most of the area west of U.S. Highway 19 between Homosassa Springs and Aripeka in w.
Citrus and Hernando counties and nw. Pasco County. Contiguous with the Crystal River Marshes
IBA to the north, and near the Coastal Pasco IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: Several contiguous conservation areas along the cen. Gulf coast from the mouth of the
Withlacoochee River to Fillman Bayou. Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge was established
in 1943 and, except for one small upland portion, is accessible only by private boat. It receives 35,000
recreationists annually and contains a 23,000-ac (9308-ha) wilderness area. The Chassahowitzka
River and Coastal Swamps SOR Tract is north and east of the refuge and contains the headwaters
of the Chassahowitzka River. Weekiwachee Preserve was purchased beginning in 1993 and protects
thousands of ac (and ha) of temperate hammocks just inland of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as some
tidal marshes. About 80% is within the 100-year floodplain. Public access is limited to day use, and
motorized vehicles, pets, and hunting are prohibited. It receives 4000 recreationists annually.
Weekiwachee Preserve was the only site that was nominated formally.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge), DOF (Withlacoochee State Forest),
FWC (Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area), Southwest Florida WMD (Weekiwachee
Preserve, Chassahowitzka Rivers and Coastal Swamps SOR Tract, and SOR project acreage as
acquired), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Chassahowitzka Rivers and Swamps and the
Weekiwachee Riverine System SOR projects).

105

HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *tidal marsh, pine flatwoods, sandhills, sand pine scrub, fields,
freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, sawgrass marsh, estuarine, riverine, artificial (mostly mine pits).
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern species; complete avian richness of tidal
marsh species; exceptional richness; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Weekiwachee Preserve supports a previously unknown population of Black Rails, and
breeding Marsh Wrens and Seaside Sparrows. The hammocks are important for Neotropical migrants
and wintering passerines. Barren areas around mine pits are used as nesting sites by Wilsons Plovers
and Least Terns. MAPS banding stations were established at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife
Refuge in 2002 and Weekiwachee Preserve in 2001. A plan to introduce a migratory population of
Whooping Cranes, which will breed in Wisconsin and winter at the refuge, began in 2001. Overall
native richness is 273 species.
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Native richness

DATES
1983 list

NUMBERS
258 species

STATUS

Data from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center website.


Weekiwachee Preserve
SPECIES
Black Rail
Wilsons Plover
Least Tern
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Ovenbird
Native richness

DATES
MarMay 1998
summer 1999
summer 1997
19 Dec 2001
6 May 2001
since 1995

NUMBERS
18 birds
2 pairs
14 pairs
2400 birds
100s of birds
225 species

STATUS
(R)
1% (B)
<1% (B)
(W)
(M); part of a massive fallout

Black Rail data from Pranty et al. (2004a), Yellow-rumped Warbler data from Paul Young et al. on the Aripeka
Bayport CBC, Ovenbird observation by Clay Black (Southwest Florida WMD), checklist compiled by Clay Black,
based largely on data gathered by members of Hernando Audubon, especially Al and Bev Hansen, Clay Black, and
Paul Young.
All sites combined
SPECIES
Bald Eagle

DATES
19992000

NUMBERS
11 nests

STATUS
1% (B)

GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Along with the Crystal River Marshes IBA, protects virtually the entire coastlines and
associated uplands of Citrus and Hernando counties, including dozens of offshore islands. Essential
for sustaining a population of black bears in coastal w-cen. Florida. Bears were monitored via radio
telemetry from 19972002, but now are monitored with remote cameras and hair snares. Vehicle
mortality continues to threaten their long-term survival.
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife
Refuge: Prescribed fire is used to restore and maintain natural communities. The refuge provides
important wintering habitat for Florida manatees. About 76% is a designated Wilderness Area. The
Chassahowitzka River has been designated by the State of Florida as an Outstanding Florida Water.
Weekiwachee Preserve protects 3 mi (4.8 km) of frontage along the Weekiwachee River, which is
used regularly by Florida manatees. It also supports large numbers of indigo snakes, eastern

106

diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus), 75 species of butterflies, 16 listed plants, and 10


non-avian vertebrates. Several archaeological sites are known.
THREATS: *offsite development, *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Weekiwachee Preserve: public recreation is balanced with wildlife protection,
especially black bears. About 560 ac (226 ha) consist of disturbed areas surrounding 500 ac (202 ha)
of pits from which limerock was extracted; much of the area is succeeding to oldfields. Recreational
use will be concentrated in an area around some of the pits to minimize disturbance to sensitive and
native habitats. Prescribed fire is used on a regular rotation. Additionally, 304 ac (123 ha) of sand
pine scrub was restored to Florida Scrub-Jay habitat in 2002. This area supported the last known
scrub-jay groups in Hernando County. Salt marshes will be prescribed-burned in small units on a 5
6 year rotation.
Exotic plants such as Brazilian pepper, cogongrass, air-potato (Dioscorea
bulbifera), and skunkvine (Paederia foetida) are controlled. Damage from feral hogs appears to
be minor, but special hunts will be considered if needed. Pine plantations comprise only 54 ac (21
ha); these will be thinned and replanted with native species. Continuing regional development may
destroy the habitat link to conservation lands to the south. An airboat ordinance passed in 2002 by
the Hernando County Commission may help to protect tidal marshes from disturbance.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Clay Black and Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD), and Bev Hansen (Hernando
Audubon).

37. CITRUS COUNTY SPOIL ISLANDS


Citrus County
~500 ac (~200 ha)

LOCATION: In the Gulf of Mexico 04.6 mi (7.5 km) west of the mouth of the Withlacoochee River in
nw. Citrus County. Nearly contiguous with the Big Bend Ecosystem IBA to the north, and with the
Crystal River Marshes IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: At least 11 spoil islands created during the dredging of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal.
The islands range in size from 0.5 to 60 ac (0.224 ha) and were created between 1964 and 1967.
They are composed primarily of coarse limestone rubble, with finer elements and sand on the outer
islands. Islands nearer the mainland are taller (up to 16.5 ft [5 m]) and longer (up to 0.75 mi [1.2 km])
than those farther away. The Barge Canal was deauthorized by the U.S. Congress in 1986, and the
islands now are part of the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area. The
number of recreationists is not known.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Florida Office of Greenways and Trails.
HABITATS: *artificial (dredged-material islands), tidal marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant breeding populations of shorebirds, and formerly supported
significant breeding populations of larids.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
American Oystercatcher
Wilsons Plover
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern

DATES
6 Jun 1988
14 Jun 2001
14 Jun 2001
6 Jun 1988
6 Jun 1988

NUMBERS
125 pairs
47 pairs
5 pairs
445 pairs
40 pairs

STATUS
(B)
11% (B)
2% (B)
(B)
(B)

107

Sandwich Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer

6 Jun 1988
14 Jun 2001
11 Jul 1993

25 pairs
19 nests
10 pairs

(B)
<1% (B)
<1% (B)

Data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *erosion, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Bird use is primarily restricted to the w. four or five islands, while human use
is concentrated on the islands closer to the mainland. There have been attempts to close some islands
as bird nesting sites, but these have been ineffective. The degree of human disturbance is unknown.
Breeding productivity is monitored semi-annually by Audubon and FWC.
Given the importance of these islands to American Oystercatchers and other sensitive beach-nesting
species, stronger efforts should be made to protect the breeding islands from human disturbance and
erosion.
NOMINATED BY: Rich Paul and Bill Pranty (Audubon).

38. CLEARWATER HARBORST. JOSEPH SOUND


Belleair Beach (3 ac; 1.2 ha), Indian Rocks Beach (0.5 ac; 0.2 ha), Island I-25 (4 ac; 1.6 ha), Marker 6
Island (0.1 acre; 0.04 ha), Marker 10 Island (0.1 acre; 0.04 ha), Marker 26 Island (2 ac; 0.8 ha),
and North Clearwater Beach (1 ac; 0.4 ha)
Pinellas County
10 ac (4 ha), plus adjacent foraging areas

LOCATION: Along the Intracoastal Waterway between Ozona and Indian Rocks Beach in w-cen. Pinellas
County. Geographically from the north, the sites are: Marker 26 Island, North Clearwater Beach,
Island I-25, Marker 10 Island, Marker 6 Island, Belleair Beach, and Indian Rocks Beach. All the
islands lie within the Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve. Near the Gulf Islands GEOpark IBA to the
north.
DESCRIPTION: Several islands (most formed from dredging operations) and one site (North Clearwater
Beach) on the barrier island. Many of the islands are named after nearby channel markers.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (marker islands), City of Clearwater (Island I-25), unknown (Belleair
Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, North Clearwater Beach).
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, tidal marsh, coastal strand, spoil uplands.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA species;
significant populations of larids.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant breeding colonies of Brown Pelican, wading birds, and larids, and
breeding population of shorebirds. Marker 26 Island currently is the northernmost breeding site of
Reddish Egrets on the Gulf coast.
Belleair Beach
SPECIES
Brown Pelican

DATES
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 94 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)

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Island I-25
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Reddish Egret
Roseate Spoonbill

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 122 pairs
mean of 4 pairs
mean of 4 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
1% (B)
<1% (B)

DATES
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 170 pairs

STATUS
7% (B)

DATES
May 2001
May 2001

NUMBERS
65 pairs
105 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
7% (B)

DATES
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 6 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)

DATES
7 Jul 2001

NUMBERS
1 pair

STATUS
<1%

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 228 pairs
mean of 209 pairs
mean of 189 pairs
mean of 7 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
1% (B)

Marker 6 Island
SPECIES
Black Skimmer
Marker 10 Island
SPECIES
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Marker 26 Island
SPECIES
Reddish Egret
North Clearwater Beach
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Various sites combined
SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White Ibis
American Oystercatcher

All data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon). See also Gore and Chase (1989).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *erosion, *human disturbance, *discarded monofilament fishing line, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Sites are posted against human intrusion during the breeding season. Exotic
plants, primarily Brazilian pepper, have invaded some of the islands. Control is difficult because
many of birds nest in the pepper stands. The addition of dredged material is being considered to
stabilize Markers 6 and 10 islands, and riprap of other material is needed to secure the shoreline of
Marker 26 Island.
NOMINATED BY: Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

39. COASTAL PASCO


Belcher Mines Park (200 ac; 80 ha), Eagle Point Park (661 acres; 264 ha), Fillman Bayou Preserve
(607 ac; 245 ha), Robert K. Rees Park (52 ac; 21 ha), Key Vista Nature Park (103 ac; 41 ha),

109

Pasco Palms Park (115 acres; 46 ha), Robert Crown Wilderness Area (350 ac; 141 ha), Werner
Boyce Salt Springs State Park (3682 ac; 1490 ha), and adjacent, private coastal properties (more
than 300 ac [121 ha])
Pasco County
5594 ac (2264 ha), with 5294 ac (2142 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Between Aripeka and New Port Richey in w. Pasco County. Near the Chassahowitzka
Weekiwachee IBA to the north, and the Gulf Islands GEOpark IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: Virtually all remaining tidal and adjacent upland habitats in Pasco County, one of the
fastest-growing counties in Florida. Most sites are tidal marshes; some also contain temperate
hammocks and other uplands. WernerBoyce Salt Springs State Park and adjacent properties preserve
a large coastal area. Belcher Mines Park has no public access currently.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (WernerBoyce Salt Springs State Park, Robert Crown Wilderness Area), Southwest
Florida Water Management District (Fillman Bayou Preserve), Pasco County Parks and Recreation
Department (Eagle Point Park, Key Vista Nature Park, Pasco Palms Park, Robert K. Rees Park), City
of New Port Richey (Robert K. Rees Park), and private owners (remaining sites).
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, *tidal marsh, *estuarine, salt barrens, slash pine flatwoods, sandhills,
temperate hammock, xeric oak scrub, sand pine scrub, cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, cattail
marsh, sawgrass marsh, riverine, lacustrine, artificial beach, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, potential development.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant numbers of Neotropical migrants; complete avian richness of tidal
marshes; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports several groups of coastal birds. Most important by far are the extensive
needlerush marshes that contain breeding populations of Marsh Wrens and Seaside Sparrows, and
presumably of Black Rails. These marshes represent the southernmost breeding areas known for these
three species along the Gulf coast. Extensive mudflats at low tide support large numbers of wading
birds, shorebirds, and larids. Mangroves support breeding Gray Kingbirds and Florida Prairie
Warblers. In May 2001, large numbers of Neotropical migrants, primarily wood-warblers, were found
at Green Key.
SPECIES
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Skimmer
Black Rail
Wilsons Plover
Marians Marsh Wren
Gray Catbird
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Wood-warblers (combined)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Neotropical migrants (mostly

DATES
19 Aug 2001
26 Dec 2001
25 Dec 2003
25 Jul 2004
20 Apr 2005
19 May 2010
2 Jul 2002
10 May 2010
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
20012010*
2325, 27, and
2930 Nov 2001
39 May 2001*

NUMBERS
48 juveniles
350 birds
4 birds
4 birds
5 birds
1314 pairs
19 birds
10 singing males
798 birds
654 birds
742 birds
964 birds
3052 birds
3461 birds
1983 birds
780 birds
42,671 birds
mean of 821 birds

STATUS
(W)
(W)
state park (R)

Green Key (M)


Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
Green Key (M)
dawn roost survey (M)

mean of 1146 birds

Green Key (M)

state park 8%? (B)


state park (R)

110

wood-warblers)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wood-warbler richness
Scotts Seaside Sparrow
Native richness

2325, 27, and


2930 Nov 2001
20012010*
20062008
Apr 2010 list

mean of 821 birds

dawn roost survey (M)

28 species
185 males
209 native species

Green Key (M)


all sites (R)
Green Key

Rail data from Pranty et al. (2004a), sparrow data from Tracey and Greenlaw (2009), all other data from Ken
Tracey (West Pasco Audubon), much of it published in Florida Field Naturalist. *Daily counts, 7 Apr23 May,
from 06000900.

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Many American Indian middens exist along the coast, but those on private lands have been or
will be developed, and those at Key Vista Nature Park have been subjected to looting.
THREATS: *development, *exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Development of privately-held sites is a severe threat; in 2000, the Key Vista
development destroyed more than 200 ac (80 ha) of sand pine scrub/sandhill immediately east of Key
Vista Nature Park. The 400-ac (161-ha) Mickler Ranch, immediately south of this site, and the last
significant upland property in coastal sw. Pasco County, was sold in October 2001 to a developer
who intends to build 800 homes USFWS has attempted to purchase a 600-ac (242-ha) site south of
Green Key, but the owner refused to sell; the ultimate disposition of this property is uncertain.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon) and Ken Tracey (West Pasco Audubon).
2010 UPDATE: Ken Tracey and collaborators have gathered much additional data on spring-migrant use
of Green Key (more than 42,000 warblers during 20012010), and on the occurrence of Seaside,
Nelsons, and Saltmarsh sparrows along the coast (Tracey and Greenlaw 2009). The future of the
former Mickler Ranch no longer is so bleak. The developer donated 226 acres (87 ha) to Pasco
County as mitigation to develop 104 acres (41 ha)land that the developer is now seeking to sell to
the countys land-acquisition program. An additional 776 acres (310 ha) north of Mickler Ranch were
purchased for conservation recently; these sitesEagle Point Park and Pasco Palms Parkwere
added to the IBA.

40. COCKROACH BAYTERRA CEIA


Cockroach Bay ELAPP site (875 ac; 350 ha), Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve (360 ac; 144 ha),
DotDash colony (5 ac; 2 ha), E.G. Simmons Park (469 ac; 187 ha), Emerson Point (250 ac; 101
ha), Piney Point (10 ac; 4 ha), Terra Ceia State Buffer Preserve (1424 ac; 576 ha), Washburn
Sanctuary (17 ac; 6.8 ha), and Wolf Branch ELAPP Site (1260 ac; 509 ha)
Hillsborough and Manatee counties
3536 ac (1431 ha) acquired

LOCATION: The e. shorelines of Hillsborough Bay and Tampa Bay in sw. Hillsborough County and nw.
Manatee County. Near the Hillsborough Bay IBA to the north, and the Lower Tampa Bay IBA to the
west.
DESCRIPTION: Several coastal areas and mangrove keys that contain wading bird colonies. Many of the
wetland sites are currently under restoration. Access is primarily by boat, but access to some uplands
is planned. Much of the estuarine habitats of this IBA are part of the Cockroach Bay and Terra Ceia
aquatic preserves. ELAPP sites are owned and managed by Hillsborough Countys Environmental
lands Acquisition and Protection Program.

111

OWNERSHIP: Florida Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (Cockroach Bay and Terra Ceia
state buffer preserves), State of Florida and Carlton Arms development (Dot-Dash colony);
Hillsborough County (Cockroach Bay and Wolf Branch ELAPP sites, and E.G. Simmons Park);
Audubon (Washburn Sanctuary), and private owners (Piney Point).
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, *estuarine, tidal marsh, salt barrens, uplands under restoration.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, sod farm, potential development.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Special Concern species; significant
numbers and richness of wading birds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant colonial waterbird rookeries; Washburn Sanctuary contains one of the
two most species-rich rookeries in Florida. Mangrove forests support Mangrove Cuckoos, which
approach their n. range limits within this IBA.
DotDash
SPECIES
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork

DATES
10 May 2001
10 May 2001
11 May 2000
10 May 2001
19992001

NUMBERS
115 pairs
75 pairs
240 pairs
65 pairs
mean of 140 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
4% (B)
2% (B)

DATE
19982002
19982002
19982002
19982002
19982002
19982002

NUMBERS
mean of 99 pairs
mean of 119 pairs
mean of 33 pairs
mean of 238 pairs
mean of 543 pairs
mean of 925 pairs

STATUS
(B)
(B)
<1%; (B)
(B)
3% (B)
(B)

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 50 pairs
mean of 173 pairs
mean of 68 pairs
mean of 85 pairs
mean of 6 pairs
mean of 38 pairs
mean of 798 pairs
mean of 66 pairs
mean of 23 pairs
16 species annually

STATUS
<1% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
(B)
4% (B)
4% (B)
2% (B)
One of the two most
species-rich colonies
(B)

Piney Point
SPECIES
Anhinga
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Colonial waterbirds
Washburn Sanctuary
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wading bird richness

All data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. American Indian shell mounds occur on some of the uplands.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *raccoons, *erosion, *discarded monofilament fishing line, *exotic
plants, feral hogs.

112

CONSERVATION ISSUES: Uplands at Emerson Point, Cockroach Bay ELAPP site, and Wolf Branch
ELAPP site are being restored to native communities. At Wolf Branch, which was first a citrus grove
and then tomato fields, shallow wetlands are being excavated for wetlands mitigation. Eradication
of exotic plants (mainly Australian-pine and Brazilian pepper) are underway at most upland sites.
Colony islands are posted and monitored to reduce human intrusion, and raccoons are removed
seasonally. Cordgrass and mangroves have been planted to stabilize the shorelines of Washburn
Sanctuary, but erosion continues to be a problem.
NOMINATED BY: Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

41. CRYSTAL RIVER TIDAL MARSHES


Crystal River Preserve State Park (36,000 ac; 14,652 ha) and St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve
(23,123 ac; 9357 ha, mostly submerged)
Citrus County
59,123 ac (23,927 ha)

LOCATION: West of U.S. Highway 19 between the Withlacoochee River and Homosassa Springs in w.
Citrus County. Contiguous with the ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee IBA to the south, and near the
Citrus County Spoil Islands IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: Extensive tidal marshes that, together with the ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee IBA,
preserve nearly the entire coastlines of Citrus and Hernando counties. The start park receives 23,000
recreationists annually, while the aquatic preserve receives 15,000 recreationists.
OWNERSHIP: Florida Division of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, managed by DEP.
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, *hardwood swamp, *slash pine plantation, *tidal marsh, *estuarine,
pine flatwoods, xeric oak scrub, fields, bayhead, mangrove forest, freshwater marsh, sawgrass marsh,
riverine, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; complete avian richness of tidal marsh
species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Extensive tidal marshes probably support significant populations of Marsh Wrens, and
Seaside Sparrows, and perhaps also of Black Rails. Quarterly bird monitoring has been conducted
since 1996 and is scheduled to continue indefinitely. Surveys consist of 30 point-count stations in
forested uplands.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Bald Eagle
Black Rail
Native richness

DATES
19951996
19992000
5 Apr 1998
19962001

NUMBERS
100 nests
10 nests
2 birds
95 species

STATUS
1% (B)
1% (B)
(R)

Pelican data and checklist from Seth Blitch (DEP), eagle GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC), and rail data from
Pranty et al. (2004a).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The preserve is an Outstanding Florida Water. 232 cultural sites have been identified,
which are spread around one of the largest and southernmost ceremonial burial grounds of the
Mississippian culture.
THREATS: exotic plants, feral hogs.

113

CONSERVATION ISSUES: Restoration of 1100 ac (445 ha) of slash pine plantation to longleaf pine
flatwoods is underway. A comprehensive monitoring program is in place. Prescribed burning is
used for maintaining fire-dependent habitats.
Exotic plants, mostly Brazilian pepper and
cogongrass, are actively controlled. Hunting is prohibited and logging is solely for restoration
purposes. A few groups of Florida Scrub-Jays occur just south of the Withlacoochee River. The
scrub is heavily overgrown in the absence of fire, and restoration has begun.
NOMINATED BY: Seth Blitch (DEP).

42. DISNEY WILDERNESS PRESERVE


Osceola and Polk counties
11,866 ac (4802 ha)

LOCATION: Between Lake Rosalie and Lake Hatchineha in nw. Osceola County and ne. Polk County.
Adjacent to the Lake Wales Ridge IBA to the southwest.
DESCRIPTION: A magnificent expanse of longleaf pine flatwoods, xeric oak scrub, cypress domes, and
other habitats along the n. shore of Lake Hatchineha. Planned as a massive development, the property
instead was established in 1992 as an offsite mitigation area for the Walt Disney Company.
Additional acreage has been added to mitigate for expansion of Orlando International Airport.
OWNERSHIP: The Nature Conservancy.
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *cypress swamp, *lacustrine, temperate
hammock, dry prairie, fields, non-native pastures, hardwood swamp, bayhead, freshwater marsh,
riverine.
LAND USE: *conservation, environmental research and education.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Contains high-quality longleaf flatwoods that formerly supported Red-cockaded
Woodpeckers and may be suitable for relocation. The flatwoods still contain large numbers of Brownheaded Nuthatches and Bachmans Sparrows. Supports a significant population of Florida ScrubJays that has declined severely in recent years, but is expected to recover.
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Florida Sandhill Crane
Florida Scrub-Jay
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Bachmans Sparrow
Native richness

DATES
spring 2002
spring 2000
spring 1999
Jun 2000
Nov 1993
19982000
2000
2000
undated list

NUMBERS
45 nests
50 nests
16 pairs
13 pairs
39 groups
13 groups
common
common
149 species

STATUS
<1% (B)
3% (B)
1% (B)
<1% (R)
1% (R)
<1% (R)
(R)
(R)

Stork data from Susan Rallo (University of Central Florida), eagle data from John White (FWC), 1993 scrub-jay
data from Pranty (1996a), all other data from Petra Royston and Monica Folk (The Nature Conservancy).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. At least 18 historical or archaeological sites are known. Included among these are two burial
mounds between 16002500 YBP, an American Indian village active 10001200 YBP, an early 20th
century cattle camp and homestead, and a 1920s-era turpentine camp. Other fauna include the

114

southernmost known maternity colony of big-eared bats (Corynorhinus rafinesquii), Shermans


fox squirrels, gopher tortoises, the northernmost known colony of ruddy daggerwing (a butterfly;
Marpesia petreus), and an occasional Florida panther.
THREATS: *offsite development, *habitat succession, *exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Large portions of the site have been impacted by ditching, cattle grazing,
logging, and off-season fire. Since the preserve was established, TNC staff have filled in drainage
ditches and other artificial obstructions, limited cattle grazing to non-native pastures, removed exotic
plants, and returned a growing-season fire regime. Intensive habitat management should recover the
population of Florida Scrub-Jays.
NOMINATED BY: Monica Folk and Petra Royston (The Nature Conservancy).

43. DOGLEG KEY


Pinellas County
2 ac (0.8 ha)

LOCATION: East of Madeira Beach in se. Pinellas County.


DESCRIPTION: A small mangrove key and adjacent foraging areas in n. Boca Ciega Bay, an estuary
nearly completely surrounded by dredge-and-fill residential developments.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, estuarine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORY: significant populations of Special Concern species.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant colonial waterbird rookery.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
American Oystercatcher

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001
May 2001

NUMBERS
mean of 123 pairs
mean of 143 pairs
mean of 122 pairs
2 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
1% (B)
(B)
<1% (B)

Data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *erosion, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The key is posted and monitored against human intrusion. Erosion is a concern;
remedies are being evaluated.
NOMINATED BY: Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

44. EMERALDA MARSH


Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area (7089 ac; 2868 ha) and the Emeralda Marsh SOR Project (8617
ac [3487 ha] remaining)
Lake and Marion counties
15,706 ac (6356 ha), with 7089 ac (2868 ha) acquired

115

LOCATION: Along the e. shore of Lake Griffin in nw. Lake County and se. Marion County. Contiguous
with the Ocala National ForestLake George IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: Former marshland converted to vegetable farms in the 1950s and 1960s and now
undergoing restoration. Soils are rich muck derived from drained peat. Public acquisition began in
1991, and flooding began the following year to restore aquatic and wetland habitats. Areas adjacent to
Lake Griffin are being converted to marsh flow-ways to remove excess phosphorus and sediments.
The conservation area receives 1150 recreationists and 150 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: St. Johns River WMD (Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area) and private owners (remaining
acreage of the Emeralda Marsh SOR Project).
HABITATS: *agricultural fields (under restoration), *freshwater marsh, *cattail marsh, *lacustrine,
temperate hammock, non-native pasture, hardwood swamp.
LAND USE: *conservation, *marsh filtering system, *vegetable farming (private lands), recreation,
waterfowl hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered species; significant numbers of wading birds;
significant natural habitats (under restoration).
AVIAN DATA: Supports dozens of wetland species, including large numbers of wading birds.
SPECIES
American White Pelican
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Osprey
Greater Sandhill Crane
Yellow Warbler
Native richness

DATES
27 Feb 1999
27 Jan 1995
28 Jun 1997
13 May 1995
29 Dec 1995
25 Oct 1997
27 Dec 1999
2 Jan 1998
24 Aug 2002
19952001

NUMBERS
878 birds
350 birds
182 birds
457 birds
405 birds
1065 birds
87 birds
638 birds
63 birds
200 species

STATUS
(W)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(W)
(NB)
(W)
2% (W)
(M)

Yellow Warbler observation by Peter May (Stetson University); all other data from Joy Marburger (St. Johns River
WMD). See also <http://www2.stetson.edu/~pmay/emeralda/list.htm>.

OTHER RESOURCES: This IBA is part of the Ocklawaha River Restoration Project and adjacent to Lake
Griffin, the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River.
THREATS: *exotic plants, *habitat succession, human disturbance, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Thousands of additional ac (ha) sought for public purchase would, if acquired,
connect the conservation area with Ocala National Forest to the north. Exotic plants and feral hogs
are controlled as needed. Monthly bird surveys were conducted by WMD staff and volunteers
between 1995 and 2000.
NOMINATED BY: Joy Marburger (St. Johns River WMD).

45. GREEN SWAMP ECOSYSTEM


Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve (121,618 ac; 49,218 ha), Lake Louisa State Park (4449 ac; 1800
ha), Little Gator Creek Wildlife and Environmental Area (566 ac; 229 ha), the Richloam Tract
of Withlacoochee State Forest (157,479 total 49,200 ac; 19,911 ha), and the Green Swamp CARL
FF Project (117,780 ac [47,563 ha], with 14,827 ac [6000 ha] acquired, including Hilochee Wildlife
Management Area [15,420 ac; 6240 ha])
Lake, Pasco, Polk, and Sumter counties
293,613 ac (118,251 ha), with 191,253 ac (77,400 ha) acquired

116

LOCATION: Between State Road 50 and Interstate 4 in se. Hernando County, s. Lake and Sumter
counties, n. Polk County, and e. Pasco County. Near part of the Withlacoochee State Forest IBA to
the west.
DESCRIPTION: A vast wetlands system with interspersed uplands, extremely important for aquifer
recharge and wildlife and habitat protection. It serves as the headwaters for the Hillsborough, Little
Withlacoochee, Ocklawaha, Peace, and Withlacoochee rivers. Much of the uplands have been
converted to agriculture or silviculture, but extensive wetlands remain. Public acquisition has been a
state priority since 1992. Annual visitor use is 1400 recreationists and 20,000 hunters for Green
Swamp Wilderness Preserve, and 250 recreationists and 85 hunters for Hilochee Wildlife
Management Area. No other site was nominated formally, although information was provided for
Hilochee Wildlife Management Area and Lake Louisa State Park.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (Lake Louisa State Park), FWC (Hilochee Wildlife Management Area and Little
Gator Creek Wildlife and Environmental Area), Southwest Florida WMD (Green Swamp Wilderness
Preserve), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Green Swamp CARLFF Project).
HABITATS: *pine flatwoods, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, *riverine, pine plantation, sandhills,
temperate hammocks, xeric oak scrub, fields, non-native pasture, bayhead, freshwater marsh, cattail
marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *hunting, recreation, timber production, cattle grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and FCREPA species; significant
natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of wading birds and raptors, and probably supports
significant populations of other species. Overall native richness of 111 species undoubtedly is a
considerable underestimate.
Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Swallow-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle

DATES
MarJul 1998
JulAug 1997
19992000

NUMBERS
58 nests
40 birds
10 nests

STATUS
1% (B)
3% (NB)
1% (B)

Stork data from Barnwell et al. (1999), kite data from Barnwell et al. (1998), and eagle GIS coverage from Julia
Dodge (FWC).
Hilochee Wildlife Management Area
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Native richness

DATES
spring 2002

NUMBERS
23 pairs
67 species

STATUS
<1% (B)

DATES
Aug 2002 list

NUMBERS
110 species

STATUS

Data from Cyndi Gates (FWC).


Lake Louisa State Park
SPECIES
Native richness

Data from Rosi Mulholland (DEP), supplemented with observations by Tom Palmer (Lake Region Audubon).

117

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. A designated Area of Critical State Concern because of its aquifer recharge abilities and
relatively undisturbed natural systems. The lumbering ghost town of Cumpressco is within the
wilderness preserve; several buildings were moved to the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City.
The Little Withlacoochee River has been designated as an Outstanding Florida Water.
THREATS: *development, *exotic plants, *feral hogs, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve: Flatwoods are prescribed-burned, and
overgrown xeric oak scrub is mechanically treated and prescribed-burned. Nearly 13,000 ac were
burned in 1998. Selected pastures and citrus groves have been restored to longleaf pine sandhills.
Other pastures have been converted to slash pine and longleaf pine plantations to produce future
revenue (a recent legislative mandate of WMD properties). Exotic plants such as skunkvine and
tropical soda apple are controlled. Feral hogs are removed. Huge portions of the Green Swamp
remain privately owned, and are under threat of development or timbering. Lake Louisa State Park:
Flatwoods are prescribed-burned. Former citrus groves are being replanted with longleaf pine, and
portions are direct-seeded with typical sandhill groundcover species. Feral hogs and exotic plants
such as citrus (Citrus spp.), rosary pea (Abrus precatorius), lantana (Lantana camara), and
cogongrass are removed. Rapid development around the park threaten to destroy the few remaining
patches of native upland vegetation that could serve as plant donor sites. Additional water
withdrawals threaten the Clermont Chain of Lakes, which originates in the state park.
NOMINATED BY: Manny Lopez (Southwest Florida WMD), Rosi Mulholland (DEP), and Bill Pranty
(Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Cyndi Gates (FWC).

46. GULF ISLANDS GEOPARK


Anclote Bar (20 ac; 8 ha of uplands), Anclote Key Preserve State Park (438 ac; 177 ha), Caladesi
Island State Park (650 upland ac [263 ha] and 1100 ac [445 ha] of mangroves and grass flats),
Honeymoon Island State Park (2808 ac; 1136 ha]), and Three Rooker Island (110 ac; 44 ha)
Pasco and Pinellas counties
3430 ac (1387 ha)

LOCATION: Generally 24 mi (3.26.4 km) off the mainland between Anclote and Dunedin in sw. Pasco
County and nw. Pinellas County. Offshore of the Coastal Pasco IBA to the northeast.
DESCRIPTION: Several barrier island systems off the heavily developed cen. Gulf coast. Honeymoon
Island is connected to the mainland via a causeway, while the others are accessible only by boat.
Several islands continue to increase in size from coastal accretion. All receive heavy visitation on
weekends during spring and summer; Honeymoon Island receives more than 700,000 recreationists
annually, and this number is increasing.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *mangrove forest, *coastal strand, *estuarine, temperate hammock,
fields, tidal marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, Watch List, and
IBA species; significant numbers and richness of shorebirds, larids, and Neotropical migrants;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Critical for shorebirds (especially small plovers) and breeding larids. Mangrove forests
have supported Mangrove Cuckoos and Black-whiskered Vireos and support several pairs of
Florida Prairie Warblers. Uplands attract Neotropical migrants. Mangrove Cuckoos reach their n.

118

limit within the IBA. Anclote Bar is designated by USFWS as critical habitat for wintering Piping
Plovers. Overall native richness is 268 species.
Anclote Bar and Anclote Key Preserve State Park
SPECIES
Piping Plover
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Shorebirds
Least Tern
Native richness

DATES
JanFeb 2001
6 July 2000
21 May11 Jun 2001
winter 19931994
21 May11 Jun 2001
Nov 2000 list

NUMBERS
39 birds
16 birds (3 chicks)
2 pairs
3088 birds
25 pairs
82 species

STATUS
7% (W)
>1% (B)
1% (R)
(W)
<1% (B)

20002001 data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon), Piping Plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS), checklist data
from the 2000 management report (four other species were rejected as almost certain misidentifications). See also
Sprandel et al. (1997).
Caladesi Island State Park
SPECIES
Piping Plover
Snowy Plover
Shorebirds

DATES
23 Jan 1996
4 Feb 2002
JanFeb 2001
winter 19931994

NUMBERS
23 birds
4 birds
4 birds
1432 birds

STATUS
4% (W)
<1% (W)
<1% (R)
(W)

19931994 shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997), 1996 plover data by the late Paul Blair (St. Petersburg
Audubon), 2001 data from Patty Kelly (USFWS), and 2002 observation by Ed Kwater (FOS). See also Gore and
Chase (1989).
Honeymoon Island State Park
SPECIES
Osprey
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Whimbrel
Red Knot
Shorebirds
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Least Tern
Veery
Swainsons & Gray-cheeked thrushes
Wood Thrush
Florida Prairie Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wood-warbler richness
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting

DATES
spring 2000
17 Jan 1993
8 Feb 2000
17 Jul 1994
23 Mar 1994
JanFeb 2001
27 Dec 1998
22 Dec 2001
27 Dec 1998
27 Dec 1998
6 Mar 1999
3 Oct 1999
10 Oct 1999
15 Aug 1998
23 Apr 1997
23 Apr 1997
23 Apr 1997
14 May 1994
9 Apr 1994
23 Apr 1997
23 Apr 1997
10 Apr 1994

NUMBERS
21 pairs
25 birds
150 birds
118 birds
110 birds
19 birds
26 birds
35 birds
435 birds
2700 birds
200 birds
400 birds
5000 birds
450 birds
25 birds
250 birds
30 birds
19 males
800 birds
34 species
50 birds
100 birds
94 birds

STATUS
1% (B)
5% (R)
(W)
(W)
22% (W)
3% (W)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(NB); breeds in some years
(M)
(M)
(M)
(R)
Florida record count (M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

119

Native richness

268 species

Osprey data from park ranger; 2001 plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS); other data from Ed Kwater (FOS),
observations of Lyn Atherton, Paul Fellers, Dave Gagne, Austin and Ron Smith, Doug Stotz, and Wilfred Yusek
published in Florida Field Naturalist, or data from the North Pinellas CBC.
Three Rooker Island
SPECIES
Piping Plover
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds
Laughing Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer

DATES
JanFeb 2001
30 Sep 2001
25 May 2000
15 Jun 2000
5 Dec 2001
25 May 2000
25 May 2000
25 May 2000
17 Jul 2000
25 May 2000
21 May2 Jul 2001

NUMBERS
80 birds
25 birds
17 nests
13 adults
1932 birds
4000 nests
38 nests
639 nests
24 adults
74 nests
330 pairs

STATUS
16% (W)
5% (W)
8% (B)
23% (B)
(W)
17% (B)
11% (B)
11% (B)
1% (B)
1% (B)
20% (B)

2001 plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS), December 2001 data gathered by Clearwater Audubon, provided by
Marianne Korosy, other data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon). See also Sprandel et al. (1997).

OTHER RESOURCES: Honeymoon Island State Park contains a rare remnant 80-ac (32-ha) virgin slash
pine flatwoods. Loggerhead sea turtles nest along the beach. The Anclote Key Lighthouse was built
in 1886 and decommissioned in 1984.
THREATS: *human disturbance, exotic plants, cowbird brood parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Anclote Bar has been used heavily by recreational boaters and their dogs.
Because of the importance of the key to nesting larids and wintering Piping Plovers, a management
plan is being implemented. Critical bird habitats will be roped off against human and dog intrusion.
Honeymoon Island: Nesting areas for shorebirds and Least Terns are roped off seasonally, and some
areas are permanently posted to protect year-round roosting areas. Unleashed dogs harass roosting
shorebirds and larids at the Pet Beach. Pine flatwoods are burned for habitat maintenance. Most of
the Brazilian pepper has been removed. Three Rooker Island: About 60% is posted seasonally to
protect nesting or roosting birds, but Snowy Plovers usually nest outside protected areas. Unleashed
dogs continue to be a problem.
NOMINATED BY: Ed Kwater (FOS) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Terry Hingtgen, and staff at Honeymoon Island State Park (DEP).

47. HIGHLANDS HAMMOCK STATE PARKCHARLIE CREEK


Highlands Hammock State Park (5540 ac; 2242 ha) and the Charlie Creek SOR project (9703 ac
[3926 ha] remaining)
Hardee and Highlands counties
15,243 ac (6168 ha), with 5540 ac (2242 ha) acquired

LOCATION: West of Sebring, in nw. Highlands County, and with a tiny portion in ne. Hardee County.
Near the Lake Wales Ridge IBA to the east.

120

DESCRIPTION: A diverse assemblage of habitats along the w. edge of the Lake Wales Ridge. The parks
main feature is a magnificent virgin hardwood hammock covering many hundreds of acres (>100 ha).
Little Charley Bowlegs Creek runs through the park along its w. side. One of the first four sites
purchased in Florida (in 1931) for its natural resources, the park is a little-known treasure. The
Charlie Creek SOR Project has targeted for preservation extensive lands south and west of the park.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (Highlands Hammock State Park) and private owners (remaining acreage of the
Charlie Creek SOR Project).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *sand pine scrub, *cypress swamp, *hardwood
swamp, xeric oak scrub, bayhead, freshwater marsh, riverine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, private.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant numbers and richness of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: The primary importance is to Neotropical migrants. If located closer to metropolitan areas
in cen. Florida, Highlands Hammock State Park undoubtedly would be the top destination for birders
seeking fall migrants; no other site in the region contains a similar amount and quality of habitat. The
relative isolation of the park has limited the amount of avian data available. On 8 October 1995,
migrant Great Blue Herons, raptors, and Red-headed Woodpeckers were observed flying south along
the w. edge of the Lake Wales Ridge. In 3.5 hours, 46 individuals of 7 raptor species were seen,
including 7 Merlins and 4 Peregrine Falcons (Pranty 1996b).
Highlands Hammock State Park
SPECIES
Northern Parula
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
27 Apr 1994
Dec 1997 list
Dec 1997 list

NUMBERS
102 birds
32 species
197 species

STATUS
(B)
(M)

Northern Parula observation of Doug Stotz, published in Florida Field Naturalist; other information from the bird
checklist.

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The virgin hardwood hammock contains oaks that are more than 1000 years old and up to 33
ft (9.9 m) in circumference.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, human disturbance, exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Much of the xeric oak scrub is heavily overgrown and needs management to
sustain the resident Florida Scrub-Jays. The Young Hammock Trail area contains one of the very
few remaining virgin slash pine flatwoods remaining in Florida, with many cat-faced turpentine
trees still alive. But this area has succeeded to a hardwood hammock in the recent absence of fire,
with no pine regeneration for more than 20 years. The park management plan does not address
restoring this area to flatwoods. Exotic plants such as air-potato and cogongrass are controlled. An
unpaved county road through the park allows non-park traffic to interfere with its aesthetic beauty and
serenity. Efforts to acquire buffer areas associated with the SOR project should be accelerated.
Development is a moderate to serious threat to unacquired properties.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Fred Lohrer (Archbold Biological Station), and Ken Alvarez and Terry Hingtgen (DEP).

48. HILLSBOROUGH BAY


Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary (50 ac; 20 ha) and Islands 2D and 3D (1100 ac; 445 ha)
Hillsborough County
1150 ac (465 ha)

121

LOCATION: North of the Alafia River in Hillsborough Bay in s. Hillsborough County.


DESCRIPTION: Four artificial (spoil) islands created during the dredging of the Alafia River channel
(Alafia Bank) or the main shipping channel to the Port of Tampa (Islands 2D and 3D), and nearby
coastal estuaries. Alafia Bank is designated by FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area.
OWNERSHIP: private owners (Alafia Bank is managed by Audubon).
HABITATS: *artificial (spoil islands), *mangrove forest, *estuarine, tidal marsh, coastal strand.
LAND USE: *conservation, *dredge-material spoil area.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species; significant
numbers of wading birds and larids; significant colonial waterbird breeding richness.
AVIAN DATA: Critical breeding sites for several species of wading birds, shorebirds, and larids. Alafia
Bank ranks with Washburn Sanctuary (Lower Tampa Bay IBA) as the most species-rich colonial
waterbird rookery in Florida. The IBA also supports large numbers of migrant and wintering
shorebirds.
Alafia Bank
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wading birds
Colonial waterbird richness
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 452 pairs
mean of 93 pairs
mean of 199 pairs
mean of 58 pairs
mean of 151 pairs
mean of 46 pairs
mean of 50 pairs
mean of 50 pairs
mean of 4891 pairs
mean of 240 pairs
mean of 133 pairs
mean of 6063 pairs
1617 species

19992001
NovDec 1993

mean of 15%
1000 birds

STATUS
4% (B)
<1% (B)
(B)
just <1% (B)
(B)
10% (B)
(B)
(B)
28% (B)
16% (B)
13% (B)
(B)
One of the two most species-rich
breeding colonies in Florida
mean of 3% (B)
(W)

Shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997), other data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).
Islands 2D and 3D
SPECIES
Wilsons Plover
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds
Laughing Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Black Skimmer

DATES
2000
19982001
NovDec 1993
19982001
May 2001
19982001
19982001
19982001
19982001

NUMBERS
3 pairs
mean of 51 pairs
2000 birds
mean of 6375 pairs
7 pairs
mean of 87 pairs
mean of 317 pairs
mean of 100 pairs
mean of 258 pairs

Shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997), other data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

STATUS
1% (B)
12% (B)
(W)
27% (B)
12% (B)
26% (B)
5% (B)
12% (B)
16% (B)

122

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *offsite development, *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *erosion, *raccoons, *discarded
monofilament fishing line.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The islands are posted and monitored against human intrusion year-round, but
boaters trespass frequently, especially during spring and summer. Alafia Bank: Bird populations are
monitored annually. Raccoons are removed as encountered, and monofilament fishing line is
removed seasonally. Erosion is controlled by occasional plantings of shoreline vegetation. The
size of the islands are increased periodically from dredging projects. Exotic plants such as Brazilian
pepper, white leadtree (Leucaena leucocephala) and carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) are
controlled as needed. Formerly posted seasonally, Islands 2D and 3D are now closed to public use
year-round. A Migratory Bird Protection Committee meets twice a year to anticipate dredging
needs and to avoid nesting birds. Long-term management and reconstruction of the islands remains
an issue. The upland portions of the islands are infested with exotic plants, especially leadtree and
Brazilian pepper. Other coastal sites north to McKay Bay, including Delany Creek, should be
considered as suitable additions to this IBA during later rounds of site selection.
NOMINATED BY: Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

49. J.B. STARKEY WILDERNESS PARK


Anclote River Ranch (2800 ac; 1133 ha) and J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park (21,799 ac [8822 ha], with
19,144 ac [7748 ha] acquired)
Pasco County
24,000 ac (9712 ha), with 21,944 ac (8880 ha) acquired

LOCATION: West of the Suncoast Parkway between state roads 52 and 54 in w-cen. Pasco County.
DESCRIPTION: A large, contiguous area of natural habitats between the developed Gulf coast and Tampa
suburbs encroaching northward. At Anclote River Ranch, Flatwoods Adventures tours present a
history of cattle ranching in Florida, with an emphasis on native flora and fauna. J.B. Starkey
Wilderness Park contains a magnificent mosaic of habitats, most notably large expanses of longleaf
pine flatwoods interspersed with cypress swamps. Prior to public acquisition, the area was a nativerange cattle ranch. Extensive areas of fire-maintained flatwoods comprise much of the parks e.
portion. The park serves as a wellfield that supplies 1215 million gal (4556 million l) of water per
day to Pasco County residents. Access by motor vehicle is limited to a 60-ac (24-ha) county park.
Hunting is prohibited. Visitation is 9000 recreationists annually to the ranch and 100,000 to the park.
OWNERSHIP: Southwest Florida WMD (J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park) and the J.B. Starkey, Jr. family
(Anclote River Ranch).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *sand pine scrub, *cypress swamp,
*riverine, sandhills, xeric oak scrub, fields, bayhead, freshwater marsh, non-native pasture, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *water supply, recreation, ecotourism, grazing, hunting, timber production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Watch List species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports large numbers of flatwoods species such as Brown-headed Nuthatches and
Bachmans Sparrows. Formerly supported small numbers of Florida Scrub-Jays. There may be
potential for reintroduction of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Overall native richness is 190 species.
Anclote River Ranch
SPECIES
Native richness

DATES
Sep 2001 list

NUMBERS
130 species

STATUS

123

Data from Ken Tracey (West Pasco Audubon).


J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park
SPECIES
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Bachmans Sparrow
Native richness

DATES
3 Jan 1987
19861988
Jun 2000 list

NUMBERS
50 birds
dozens estimated
171 species

STATUS
(R)
(R)

Data from Bill Pranty (Audubon) and Ken Tracey (West Pasco Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Starkey Wilderness Park represents one of the largest and biologically most
significant conservation areas in the Tampa Bay region. It protects extensive frontage of the Anclote
and Pithlachascotee rivers.
THREATS: *development, *proposed highway construction, groundwater extraction.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat
Conservation Area. Nearly all of J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park is off-limits to motorized vehicles,
which limits disturbance. Flatwoods and other habitats have been burned on a regular basis since
the 1930s. Wetlands are monitored to determine potential negative effects of the wellfield. The
Suncoast Parkway, a limited-access toll road, was built along the parks e. boundary beginning in
2001. Mitigation to build the road resulted in the addition to the park of 11,600 ac (4694 ha). Pasco
County is seeking approval to extend Ridge Road from its current end west of the park to U.S.
Highway 41, primarily to open up to development >30,000 ac (>12,141 ha) of ranchland east of the
park. This largely unnecessary four-lane highway will bisect Starkey Wilderness Park and likely will
have negative effects on its wildlife. Urban sprawl, which is rampant in Pasco County, probably
will eventually surround and completely isolate Starkey Wilderness Park, unless some attempt is
made to secure lands to the east. Currently, only two large ranches separate Starkey Wilderness Park
from Cypress Creek Wellfield (part of the Central Pasco IBA) several miles (km) to the east. A
large amount of sand pine scrub and turkey oak sandhills is under restoration activities, perhaps to
restore a local population of Florida Scrub-Jays. Most of the original Anclote River Ranch now is
now J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park; additional acreage is sought for perpetual conservation easement.
There is an ongoing effort to link Starkey Wilderness Park with Brooker Creek Preserve (to the
southwest, in Pinellas County) to expand the core protected area. The feasibility of reintroducing
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers into Starkey Wilderness Park and Brooker Creek Preserve is under
investigation.
Building a major highway through a wilderness area purchased to mitigate for impacts of an adjacent
highway is environmentally reckless. Agencies responsible for permitting the project should ensure
that the Ridge Road Extension through Starkey Wilderness Park never is built. Efforts to directly
link this IBA with public lands within the Central Pasco IBA to the east should be undertaken while
the opportunity still exists.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon), J.B. Starkey, Jr. (Flatwoods Adventures), and Ken Tracey
(West Pasco Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD) and Ken Stay (Pasco County Parks and
Recreation).
2010 UPDATE: Efforts to link J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park with conservation areas to the southwest
failed, and the intervening acreage is under development. Anclote River Ranch is now undergoing

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conversion to a 3000-unit development, and the Flatwoods Adventures ecotours ended in 2007.
Anclote River Ranch should no longer be considered as part of an IBA.

50. KISSIMMEE LAKE AND RIVER


Kissimmee Chain of Lakes SOR Project (33,919 ac; 13,727 ha, with 28,956 ac [11,718 ha] acquired),
Kissimmee River (Lower Basin) SOR Tracts (62,628 ac; 25,345 ha), Lake Kissimmee (35,000 ac;
14,164 ha), Lake Kissimmee State Park (5822 ac; 2356 ha), and the Paradise Run SOR Tracts
(4265 ac; 1726 ha)
Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee, Osceola, and Polk counties
141,634 ac (57,319 ha), with 136,671 ac (55,310 ha) acquired or sovereign land

LOCATION: The entire length of the Kissimmee River, in se. Polk County, sw. Osceola County, e.
Highlands County, w. Okeechobee County, and ne. Glades County. Lake Kissimmee State Park
fronts Lake Kissimmee, Lake Rosalie, and Tiger Lake. Contiguous with the Avon ParkBombing
Range Ridge IBA to the west, the Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies IBA and Kissimmee Prairie IBA to
the east, and the Lake Okeechobee IBA to the south. Across Lake Hatchineha from the Disney
Wilderness Preserve IBA.
DESCRIPTION: The Kissimmee River was 107 mi (172 km) long until its conversion between 1962 and
1970 to the C-38, a 30-ft (9-m) deep, 330-ft (100-m) wide, and 56-mi (90-km) long channel.
Channelization had profound negative consequences to the river and its former floodplain. In 1983,
efforts to dechannelize the river began, and the State has purchased most of the historical floodplain.
Restoration of the Kissimmee River represents the largest river restoration project in history. Lake
Kissimmee is the third largest lake in Florida. Kissimmee River State Park receives 14,000
recreationists annually, while the Kissimmee River receives an estimated 3000 recreationists and
1000 hunters. Other than avian data, no information was provided for Lake Kissimmee.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (Lake Kissimmee and Kissimmee River), DEP (Lake Kissimmee State
Park), South Florida WMD (Kissimmee Chain of Lakes SOR Tracts and Kissimmee River SOR
Tracts), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and Kissimmee
River SOR projects).
HABITATS: *riverine, *lacustrine, *freshwater marsh, *cattail marsh, *wet prairie, temperate hammock,
longleaf pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, non-native pasture, bayhead.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, hunting, cattle grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA
species; significant numbers of wading birds; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Lake Kissimmee is one of the most important sites for Snail Kites, serving as an important
refugium during droughts in the Everglades. The pre-channelized Kissimmee River formerly
supported large numbers of wading birds and waterfowl, and restoration is expected to increase the
currently low numbers of these groups of birds. Overall native richness is 188 species.
Kissimmee River
SPECIES
Great Egret
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Waterfowl
Bald Eagle

DATES
Nov 1998
Nov 1997
Dec 1998
19491950 to 1956
1957
19621971

NUMBERS
584 birds
7388 birds
212 birds
20,00025,000 birds of
19 species
23 nests annually

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
entire river basin (W)
>1% (B)

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Crested Caracara
Long-term research

19961997
since the 1950s

mean of 15 pairs

7% (R)
Colonial waterbird monitoring

Waterfowl data from Toth (1993), caracara data from Morrison (1996, 1997), all other data from Stefani Melvin
(South Florida WMD). See also Toth (1991) and Melvin (2001).
Lake Kissimmee
SPECIES
Bald Eagle

DATES
19992000

NUMBERS
17 nests

Snail Kite

19851994

mean of 45 birds

STATUS
1% (B); excludes 11 other nests within the
Avon Park Air Force RangeBombing
Range Ridge IBA
8% of then-current numbers (NB)

Eagle GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC), kite data from Anonymous (1999).
Lake Kissimmee State Park
SPECIES
Snail Kite
Crested Caracara
Florida Scrub-Jay
Native richness

DATES
11 Aug 1999
1999
2001
undated list

NUMBERS
10 birds
5 birds
89 groups
169 species

STATUS
1% (NB)
1% (R)
<1% (R)

Data from Erik Egensteiner (DEP).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The Kissimmee River historically served as a major commercial waterway for steamboats
during the 1800s. The Lockett Estate and an American Indian mound have been preserved. Fort
Basinger and Fort Kissimmee, built during the Seminole Indian Wars, are located along the river.
Lake Kissimmee State Park: Several listed plants occur, such as garberia (Garberia heterophylla),
Catesbys lily (Lilium catesbaei), cutthroatgrass, yellow-flowered butterwort (Pinguicula lutea),
giant orchid (Pteroglossapsis ecristata), common wild pine (Tillandsia fasciculata), and
Atamasco lily (Zephyranthus atamasco).
THREATS: *exotic plants, *altered hydrology (river channelization), *feral hogs, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Kissimmee River: The river and its floodplain represented a unique ecosystem
because the floodplain was inundated for much of the year. Extensive floodplain marshes flanked by
wet prairies and temperate hammocks supported a large and rich bird community, including several
listed species and large numbers of wading birds and waterfowl (NAS 19361959, Perrin et al.
1982). The biological impacts of channelization were severe: 35 mi (56 km) of river channel were
destroyed; 30,000 ac (12,141 ha) of floodplain were drained and converted mostly to pasture;
waterfowl use declined 92%; and Bald Eagle territories declined 74%. Phase 1 of the restoration
backfilling 7.5 mi (12 km) of canal, restoring 15 mi (24 km) of river channel habitat, and reflooding
11,132 ac (4505 ha) of floodplainwas completed in 2001. The initial response by birds was
phenomenal and is expected to increase as the prey base returns to reflooded wetlands. Total
restoration is projected to recreate 40 mi2 (104 km2) of riverfloodplain habitats, restore 26,820 ac
(10,854 ha) of floodplain wetlands and 43 mi (69 km) of original river channel, and improve habitats
for more than 320 species of wildlife. The restored river channel is expected to support >10,000
wading birds, with at least 2000 breeding pairs anticipated. Lake Kissimmee State Park: An active
prescribed burning program is in place. A recent acquisition of 850 ac (343 ha) was added along the
n. shore of Lake Rosalie. The habitat is mostly pasture that will be restored to wetlands by removing
ditches and replanting with native vegetation.

126

NOMINATED BY: Erik Egensteiner (DEP) and Stefani Melvin (South Florida WMD).

51. KISSIMMEE PRAIRIE PRESERVE STATE PARK


Okeechobee and Osceola counties
54,000 ac (21,853 ha)

LOCATION: Along and east of the Kissimmee River in sw. Osceola County and nw. Okeechobee County,
forming an area roughly 1014 mi (1622.4 km) east to west and 7 mi (11.2 km) north to south.
Adjacent to the Avon Park Air Force RangeBombing Range Ridge IBA and the Kissimmee Lake
and River IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: A vast area containing the largest contiguous expanse of high-quality Florida dry prairie
(an endemic ecosystem) remaining (21,885 ac; 8856 ha). Cattle graze 5000 ac (2000 ha) of non-native
pastures, recreation is passive, and hunting is prohibited. More than 8.5 mi (13.6 km) of the soon-tobe-restored Kissimmee River form the w. boundary.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *dry prairie, *freshwater marsh, *wet prairie, temperate hammock, xeric oak scrub, nonnative pasture, swale, riverine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; significant numbers of wading birds; complete avian richness of dry prairies; significant
natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Probably supports the largest remaining population of Florida Grasshopper Sparrows,
and contains other species of dry prairies, such as Mottled Duck, Sandhill Crane, White-tailed Kite,
Crested Caracara, Burrowing Owl, and Bachmans Sparrow. Several groups of Florida Scrub-Jays
occur in patches of prairie scrub. The park also contains two wading bird rookeries that total more
than 500 pairs, mostly of Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons. The park may have great
conservation value to wintering sparrows.
SPECIES
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Crested Caracara
Florida Sandhill Crane
Greater Sandhill Crane
Burrowing Owl
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
Bachmans Sparrow
Native richness

DATES
summer 2001
19972001
20002001
20002001
20002001

NUMBERS
75 pairs
several pairs
15 pairs
100s of birds
25 pairs

springsummer 2002
springsummer 2001
2001 list

282 singing males


150 singing males
115 species

STATUS
(B)
>1% (R)
1% (R)
>1% (W)
<1% (R); 22 pairs on adjacent
ranch
56%? (R)
(R); 9% of habitat surveyed
New species added regularly

Data from Parks Small and Chris Tucker (DEP).

OTHER RESOURCES: A diverse butterfly population combined with the low height of prairie vegetation
make the park a premier viewing destination. One of the largest roadless areas in cen. Florida, the
state park provides views uninterrupted by manmade features across miles of dry prairie landscape.
Views up to 6 mi (9.6 km) are common. The park is a premier site for nature photography.
THREATS: *altered hydrology, *feral hogs, human disturbance, exotic plants, cattle grazing.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat
Conservation Area. The overall quality of habitats is excellent. Previous landowners used frequent

127

prescribed fires to increase forage for cattle, which were grazed in low densities across native range.
Just under 7000 ac (2800 ha) previously owned and managed by the National Audubon Society
(Ordway-Whittell Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary) were added to the park in 2001. Restoration
activities have targeted hydrology within the park and on adjacent ranches. More than 73 mi (116 km)
of ditches and canals have been filled, and restoration efforts continue. Cattle grazing still occurs on
pastures, including some areas occupied by Florida Grasshopper Sparrows; the impact of grazing
on sparrows deserves study. A 2- to 3-year growing-season fire interval is being used to keep dry
prairie habitat suitable for sparrows. Between 1997 and 2001, more than 90% of the park was burned.
Future plans for recreation include campgrounds and guided wildlife observation tours. Park staff
have experienced great success in the removal of feral hogs.
NOMINATED BY: Parks Small (DEP) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Paul Gray (Audubon).

52. LAKE APOPKA NORTH SHORE RESTORATION AREA


Lake and Orange counties
19,710 (7976 ha)

LOCATION: The n. shoreline of Lake Apopka in e-cen. Lake County and w-cen. Orange County.
DESCRIPTION: Former marshland diked off from Lake Apopka, the third-largest lake in Florida, and
converted to vegetable farms in the early to mid1900s. Most of the soils are rich muck, derived from
drained peat. Public acquisition of the farms began in 1988 to begin clean-up of Lake Apopka,
Floridas most polluted lake, after decades of abuse. Most acquisitions were completed in 19992000,
when 13,000 ac (5261 ha) of farmland were purchased for more than $100 million. West of Apopka
Beauclair Canal, an additional 6000 ac (2428 ha) have been converted to a Marsh Flow-Way to filter
phosphorus and suspended sediments from Lake Apopka. Original natural habitats are limited to
remnant patches along the boundaries of the property. The area currently is off-limits to the public.
Previously known informally as the Zellwood muck farms.
OWNERSHIP: St. Johns River WMD; the Natural Resources Conservation Service holds a 30-year
easement over part of the area.
HABITATS: *freshwater marsh, *oldfields (former agricultural fields), pine flatwoods, temperate
hammock, xeric oak scrub, sod farm, fields, bayhead, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *marsh filtering system, recreation, sod farm.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA,
Watch List, and IBA species; significant numbers and richness of aquatic birds, wading birds, raptors,
shorebirds, larids, and wintering sparrows; exceptional richness; significant natural habitats (under
restoration).
AVIAN DATA: Supports an exceptional richness of species, as shallowly flooded fields attract large
numbers of migratory shorebirds, wintering waterfowl and shorebirds, and resident wading birds.
Fragments of remaining forests support Neotropical migrants. One or two groups of Florida ScrubJays occur along the w. boundary. The farms once supported one of the most popular birding spots in
Floridaand presumably will again be in the future. Extensive, twice-weekly surveys by Harry
Robinson since 1998 have greatly improved knowledge of the bird richness. Through July 2002,
Robinson had completed 400 surveys and had observed 297 native species in the easternmost 8000 ac
(3200 ha). Among these have been several record Florida high counts, the first state record of Roughlegged Hawk (Pranty et al. 2007), and the states first breeding record of Dickcissels (Pranty et al.
2002).

128

All these data, except total richness, are solely from the e. 8000 ac (3200 ha) of the Restoration Area.
SPECIES
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Swallow-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
Black-bellied Plover
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Stilt Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilsons Snipe
Shorebirds
Caspian Tern
Forsters Tern
Black Tern
Common Ground-Dove
Western Kingbird
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
American Pipit
Yellow Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Clay-colored Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Sparrow richness
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Dickcissel
Bobolink

DATES
18 Nov 1999
29 Jan 1999
3 Dec 1998
6 Nov 1998
15 Aug 1998
15 Aug 1998
8 Jan 1999
18 Nov 1998
20 Aug 1999
2 Nov 1998
18 Dec 1998
3 Dec 1998
20 Jul 1999
14 Jan 2000
14 Mar 2000
17 Sep 1999
18 Nov 1998
17 Sep 1998
3 Dec 1998
11 Sep 1998
31 Dec 1998
16 Dec 1998
21 Oct 1998
12 Dec 1998
28 Dec 1998
since the 1960s
10 Feb 1999
2 Sep 1998
2 Sep 1998
MayJun 2001
27 Jan 2002
19 Jun 1999
17 Apr 1999
MayJun 2001
5 Nov 2000
26 Nov 2000
26 Nov 1999
8 Dec 1998
14 Aug 2001
9 Sep 2001
8 Dec 1998
21 Sep 2000
25 Sep 1999
3 Sep 1998
8 Dec 1998
20 Dec 1998
3 Feb 1999
since the 1970s
MayJun 2001
MayJun 2001
MayJun 2001
MayJul 1999
30 Apr 2000

NUMBERS
750 birds
4370 birds
395 birds
1950 birds
300 birds
1000 birds
1010 birds
1130 birds
197 birds
10,500 birds
12,565 birds
11,900 birds
102 birds
223 birds
94 birds
1310 birds
16,720 birds
368 birds
346 birds
965 birds
2450 birds
1195 birds
490 birds
1890 birds
898 birds
38 species
208 birds
500 birds
500 birds
116 territories
72 birds
1935 birds
2200 birds
153 territories
674 birds
108 birds
210 birds
520 birds
71 birds
39 birds
370 birds
38 birds
176 birds
46 birds
860 birds
100 birds
51 birds
17 species
320 territories
76 territories
54 territories
13m, 5f, 2j
3140 birds

STATUS
(W)
(W)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(R)
possibly Florida high count (W)
Florida high count (W)
(W)
(M)
Florida high count (W)
(W)
(NB)
(W)
(B)
(W)
(M)
(W)
(W)
(M)
Florida high count (W)
(W)
3rd most species-rich site
(W)
(M)
(M)
(R)
Florida high count (W)
(M)
(M)
(R)
Florida high count (W)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(M)
Florida high fall count (M)
(W)
(M)
(R)
Florida high count (W)
Florida high count (W)
(W)
2nd-highest Florida count (W)
(R)
(B)
(B)
first Florida breeding record (B)
(M)

129

Native richness

since the 1960s

304 species

most species-rich inland site

All data except richness are from Harry Robinson. See also Pranty and Basili (1998, 1999) and Pranty et al. (2002.
2007).

OTHER RESOURCES: There apparently are potentially significant cultural sites along the e. edge.
THREATS: *altered hydrology (deep-flooding of the fields), *pesticide residues in the soil, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Pesticide residues present in the soils caused a die-off of large fish-eating birds
(500 onsite and perhaps a similar number offsite), mostly American White Pelicans, beginning in
November 1998 (USFWS 1999b, Pranty and Basili 1999). All fields were drained by February 1999
and have remained unflooded. It is anticipated that the pesticide residues eventually will be removed
or will dissipate, and the area can again be managed for wading birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and
numerous other species. Extensive soil sampling was conducted in summer 1999 to determine the
extent and severity of the pesticide residues present. Management plans to flood portions of the area
for shorebirds and other species have been put on hold until results of the sampling are known. A
Marsh Flow-Way constructed in the w. 5000 ac (2023 ha) filters phosphorus and suspended
sediments from Lake Apopka. The initial management plan, to reconnect the fields to Lake Apopka
by breaching selected dikes and levees, would have flooded the fields with more than 4 ft (1.2 m) of
water. This would have eliminated all bird foraging and roosting habitats onsite. The revised
management plan, prepared by the Florida Audubon Society (Pranty and Basili 1998) and embraced
in concept by the St. Johns River WMD and Natural Resource Conservation Service, includes
managing at least 2000 ac (809 ha) as shallowly flooded fields to support migratory shorebirds,
wintering waterfowl and other species, and resident wading birds. The restoration effort is expected to
continue for 2550 years. A pasture in the w. portion is being restored to longleaf pines.
Hunting, dogs, airboats, and other sources of disturbance to birds should be prohibited within the
Restoration Area once the site is returned to public use.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Gian Basili and Joy Marburger (St. Johns River WMD).
2010 UPDATE: Through April 2010, Harry Robinson had conducted 1422 surveys, adding long-term
research to the IBA categories met. Robinson has reported 332 native species. Among the new
species was a Eurasian Kestrel in 2003 that furnished the first for the se. United States (Pranty et al.
2004b).

53. LAKE HANCOCKUPPER PEACE RIVER


Circle B-Bar Reserve (1267 ac; 513 ha), Fort Meade Recreation Area (817 ac; 330 ha), IMCAgrico
Peace River Park (440 ac; 178 ha), Lake Hancock (4553 ac; 1842 ha), Saddle Creek Park (700 ac;
283 ha), Saddle Creek Sanctuary (315 ac; 127 ha), Tenoroc Fish Management Area (7364 ac;
2980 ha), and Panther Point and other properties sought for public acquisition
Polk County
17,021 ac (6888 ha), with 15,456 ac (6255 ha) in public ownership

LOCATION: Between Lakeland and Fort Meade in w. Polk County.


DESCRIPTION: Several existing or proposed conservation areas in the heart of the phosphate mining
district; sites many were mined in the past. Lake Hancock is one of the largest lakes in the state. The

130

Peace River, which forms near the south end of Lake Hancock, empties into Charlotte Harbor, about
62 mi (100 km) to the south. Panther Point lies along the se. shore of Lake Hancock. The number of
visitors to the publicly owned sites is not known, but is estimated to be >10,000 recreationists
annually to Saddle Creek Park. Lake Hancock receives relatively little boat traffic due to limited
public access. Tenoroc Fish Management Area annually receives 20,000 visitors, mostly anglers.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (Lake Hancock, Peace River), FWC (Tenoroc Fish Management Area),
Polk County Environmental Lands Program (Circle B-Bar Reserve), Polk County Parks and
Recreation Department (IMCAgrico Peace River Park and Saddle Creek Park), Audubon (Saddle
Creek Sanctuary), City of Fort Meade (Fort Meade Recreation Area), and private owners.
HABITATS: *riverine, *lacustrine, *artificial (mined lands), pine flatwoods, temperate hammock, fields,
cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, grazing, private (potential development).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern and FCREPA species; significant numbers
of breeding wading birds; exceptional richness of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Lake Hancock and Tenoroc support significant numbers of breeding wading birds and
Ospreys, while uplands are important for Neotropical migrants. Bald Eagles also forage in Lake
Hancock; 9 nests are within 3 mi (4.8 km) of the lake. Saddle Creek Park is a popular fall-migrant
birding site.
Lake Hancock and surrounding areas
SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
White Ibis
Wading birds
Osprey

DATES
1988
1988
1988
1988
1988
9 Jun 1996

NUMBERS
112 pairs
160 pairs
110 pairs
4230 pairs
4768 pairs
28 nests

STATUS
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
1% (B)

Wading bird data from Edelson and Collopy (1990), Osprey data from Mike McMillian (Archbold Biological
Station) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).
Panther Point
SPECIES
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush

DATES
12 Oct 1971
4 Oct 1972
4 Sep 1973

NUMBERS
20 birds
100 birds
29 birds

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)

NUMBERS
33 birds
35 birds
71 birds
30 birds
105 birds
42 birds
33 species
140 species

STATUS
2% (NB)
(M)
(B)
(M)
(M)
(M)

Data of Paul Fellers (Lake Region Audubon).


Saddle Creek Park
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Tennessee Warbler
Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
9 Aug 1996
10 Oct 1971
31 Jul 1997
16 Oct 1999
56 Oct 1996
26 Sep 1998

131

Observations of Brian Ahern, Larry Albright, Paul Fellers, Chuck Geanangel, and Pete Timmer published in
Florida Field Naturalist; list compiled by Tom Palmer.
Tenoroc Fish Management Area
SPECIES
Glossy Ibis
Native richness

DATES
Sep 1984
Nov 1983Sep 1984

NUMBERS
62 birds
152 species

STATUS
1% (NB)

Data compiled by Charles Geanangel (Lake Region Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Some American Indian artifacts are present, but most were destroyed by mining operations.
Fossils are abundant in creek beds and river beds.
THREATS: *development (privately owned sites), *exotic plants, human disturbance, exotic animals.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Old Florida Plantation is a 4797-unit residential development that in 1999
was approved along the s. shore of Lake Hancock, including Panther Point. Exotic plants (mostly
Brazilian pepper and cogongrass) occur at most sites. Management at Circle B-Bar Reserve,
purchased in 2000, involves rehydrating drained wetlands along Banana Creek. The reserve now
supports large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds, a phenomenal change in less than a year.
Tenoroc Fish Management Area is the focus of a large-scale project to restore the ecological and
hydrological functions of mined lands in the Upper Saddle Creek Basin. About 1565 ac (633 ha) of
land, primarily surrounding Lake Hancock, remain to be acquired publicly. Only 3 of 28 Osprey
nests in June 1996 contained young; the causes of this apparently low nesting success deserve study.
NOMINATED BY: Tom Palmer (Lake Region Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Tim King (FWC) and Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD).
2010 UPDATE: The State purchased the 3347-ac (1338-ha) Old Florida Plantation site in 2003. More
than 70% of the Lake Hancock shoreline and adjacent uplands are now in public ownership.

54. LAKE ISTOKPOGA


Highlands County
26,500 ac (10,724 ha)

LOCATION: East of Lake Placid in cen. Highlands County. Adjacent to the Lake Wales Ridge IBA to the
west.
DESCRIPTION: The fifth-largest natural lake in Florida, surrounded by pasture, caladium fields (an exotic
plant used in landscaping and floral displays), citrus groves, a scrub preserve, and some development.
The lake contains two islands (Big Island and Bumblebee Island) and receives an estimated 60,000
boaters annually. The IBA includes uplands adjacent to the lake.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (Lake Istokpoga), The Nature Conservancy (Apthorpe Preserve, which
protects a small portion of the w. shoreline; see the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem IBA), and private
owners (most uplands and Big and Bumblebee islands).
HABITATS: *cypress swamp, *freshwater marsh, *cattail marsh, *lacustrine, pine flatwoods, sand pine
scrub, non-native pasture, agricultural fields, citrus grove, hardwood swamp, bayhead, riverine.
LAND USE: *recreation, *conservation, residential, water supply, grazing, agriculture.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of FCREPA species; significant numbers of raptors;
significant natural habitats; long-term research.

132

AVIAN DATA: Supports populations of aquatic species, including wading birds and Limpkins. It is
believed to contain the greatest concentration of Osprey nests in the world, a population that has been
color-banded and monitored by Mike McMillian since 1990.
SPECIES
Least Bittern
Great Egret
Limpkin
Bald Eagle
Osprey
Short-tailed Hawk
Long-term research
Native richness

DATES
annual
May 2000
annual
2000
Jun 2000
Mar 2001
since 1990
2001 list

NUMBERS
common
100 nests
common
9 nests
229 nests
1 pair

STATUS
(R)
<1% (B)
(R)
<1% (B)
27% (B)
<1%
Osprey demography study

160 species

Data from Mike McMillian (Archbold Biological Station).

OTHER RESOURCES: The lake is ringed by virgin cypresses, of which many are hundreds of years old.
American Indian sites are thought to be present in adjacent uplands.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *habitat succession, development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Hydrilla is controlled every three years with herbicides. Lake vegetation is
sprayed seasonally to keep open boat-traffic lanes. In 2001, a $3-million clean-up project was
initiated, during which the water level was lowered for the first time since the 1960s. More than 2
million tons (1.8 million metric tons) of muck and accumulated marsh vegetation were removed.
Disturbance by airboats is a severe problem to waterfowl, especially American Coots.
NOMINATED BY: Mike McMillian (Archbold Biological Station) with information from John Furse
(FWC).

55. LAKE JESSUP


Lake Jesup Conservation Area (5270 ac; 2108 ha), Lake Jesup SOR Project Area (2885 ac [1168 ha]
remaining), Lake Jesup Wilderness Area (491 ac; 196 ha), Lake Jessup (8062 ac; 3224 ha), Lower
Econ SOR Project Area (3364 ac [1362 ha] remaining), and Spring Hammock Preserve (1394 ac;
557 ha) 13,562 total ac
Seminole County
21,466 ac (8690 ha), with 15,217 ac (6160 ha) acquired or sovereign land

LOCATION: Between Sanford and Altamonte Springs in cen. Seminole County.


DESCRIPTION: A large lake in Seminole County alternatively spelled Jesup or Jessup (but pronounced
Jessup). It is connected to the St. Johns River and lies between lakes Monroe and Harney. The lake
is bisected by the Eastern Beltway (State Road 417) around Orlando, and much lakefront property
was purchased to mitigate for wetlands destruction caused by the roadway. Bird Island is a 31-ac (12ha) island in the center of the lake.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (Spring Hammock Preserve), St. Johns River WMD (Lake Jesup
Conservation Area), Seminole County (Lake Jesup Wilderness Area and Spring Hammock Preserve),
and private owners (Bird Island and remaining acreage of the Lake Jesup and Lower Econ SOR
project areas).
HABITATS: *freshwater marsh, *temperate hammock, *lacustrine, *cattle pasture (under restoration),
cypress swamp, artificial.

133

LAND USE: *conservation, private owners (potential development), recreation (mostly fishing), cattle
grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant population of Bald Eagles and a moderate-sized wading bird
rookery (Bird Island). A smaller colony is just west of the lake.
SPECIES
Great Egret
White Ibis
wading birds
Bald Eagle

DATES
28 Apr 1999
28 Apr 1999
28 Apr 1999
19992000

NUMBERS
100+ pairs
100+ pairs
250+ pairs
12 nests

STATUS
possibly 1% (B)
possibly 1% (B)
<1%
1% (B); eagles from 11 other nests
within 3 mi (5 km) use the lake
for foraging

Data from Julia Dodge (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Naturalists John and William Bartram camped along the shoreline in 17651766.
THREATS: *development, *runoff, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Development severely threatens lands along the s. shore that are sought for
public acquisition. The lake also suffers from a great deal of phosphorus loading from runoff.
Airboater disturbance to the rookery on Bird Island is a minor concern.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).

56. LAKE MARY JANEUPPER ECON MOSAIC


Lake Lizzie Nature Preserve (918 ac; 371 ha), Lake Mary Jane (1200 ac; 485 ha), Moss Park (1551
ac; 627 ha), Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park Wildlife and Environmental Area (1689 ac; 683 ha),
and Upper Econ Mosaic CARLFF Project (31,153 ac [12,607 ha] remaining)
Orange and Osceola counties
36,229 ac; (14,661 ha), with 4158 ac (1682 ha) acquired

LOCATION: East of State Road 15 in s-cen. Orange County and n-cen. Osceola County. Bordered on the
northwest by Lake Hart and on the south by Lake Lizzie and Bay Lake.
DESCRIPTION: Three small parks and preserves (two adjacent and the third about 5.7 mi [9.2 km] to the
south) linked by a massive ranch in Florida, of which a portion is sought for public acquisition. A
large expanse of habitats within the Osceola Plain physiographic region that supports a mosaic of
natural communities. The IBA includes the Econlockhatchee River Swamp (the headwaters of the
Econlockhatchee River), four large lakes and additional smaller ones, and portions of six others.
These lakes are hydrologically connected to the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Lake Lizzie
Nature Preserve is a recent acquisition that emphasizes passive uses.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (Lake Mary Jane), Orange County (Moss Park), Osceola County (Lake
Lizzie Nature Preserve), Orange and Osceola counties (Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park Wildlife and
Environmental Area; managed by FWC), and private owners (unacquired acreage of the Upper Econ
Mosaic CARLFF Project).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *cypress swamps and bayheads, *lacustrine, flag and sawgrass
marshes, xeric oak scrub and sand pine scrub, slash pine flatwoods, temperate hammock, riverine,
artificial.
LAND USE: *grazing, *private (potential development), *conservation, recreation.

134

IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and Watch List species;
significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Lake Mary Jane contains a 5-ac (2-ha) island that supports a significant wading bird
rookery. Split Oak Forest and Lake Lizzie Nature Preserve support small numbers of Florida ScrubJays, while the CARL-FF Project contains 2500 ac (1011 ha) of suitable habitat and could potentially
support dozens of scrub-jay groups with proper restoration and management. Access to the private
ranch is strictly controlled; it probably supports numerous listed species.
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Florida Sandhill Crane

DATES
13 May 2000
MarMay 1995

NUMBERS
100 pairs
several pairs

Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay

MarMay 1995
6 Aug 1993
MarMay 1995
MarMay 1995

11 active clusters
1 group
4 groups
30 birds

Bachmans Sparrow

STATUS
Lake Mary Jane rookery; 1% (B)
Upper Econ Mosaic; <1% (R);
many more pairs likely
Upper Econ Mosaic; 1% (R)
<1%; Split Oak Forest Park (R)
<1%; Lake Lizzie Preserve (R)
Upper Econ Mosaic (R)

Stork data by Roger and Sharon Robbins (Orange Audubon), 1995 data by Jim Cox and Katy NeSmith (Florida
Natural Areas Inventory), and scrub-jay data from (Pranty 1996a).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. It also supports gopher tortoise and Shermans fox squirrel. Econlockhatchee River
Swamp is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water. For several years, a wading bird festival
held at Moss Park raised awareness about the rookery.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Suburban sprawl is rampant in the region, and several large developments are
encroaching. Acquisition of the Upper Econ Mosaic CARLFF Project is a state priority, but
preservation is entirely dependent on the willingness of the owners of the Deseret Ranch. Jet-skis
and boats cause disturbance to the wading bird colony in Moss Lake. ATV use at Lake Lizzie
Nature Preserve, although now prohibited, still occurs; enforcement is needed.
If publicly acquired, a management priority of the Upper Econ Mosaic CARL-FF Project must be the
creation and maintenance of a demographically viable population of Florida Scrub-Jays in a region
where such populations are virtually unknown. This site likely provides the only opportunity for
creating a large scrub-jay population between Seminole State Forest and Disney Wilderness Preserve.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon) and Roger and Sharon Robbins (Orange Audubon).
2010 UPDATE: The Upper Econ Mosaic CARL-FF Project was removed from state acquisition efforts in
2005 at the request of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church), owners
of Deseret Ranch. The church is actively pursuing development. At 300,000-ac (121,405-ha) and
44,000 cattle, Deseret Ranch is the largest ranch in the United States, and the largest privately-owned
site in Florida.

57. LAKE TOHOPEKALIGA


Osceola County
42,900 ac (17,361 ha)

135

LOCATION: South of Kissimmee in nw. Osceola County.


DESCRIPTION: The sixth-largest lake in Florida, surrounded primarily by pasture. For IBA purposes, a 1mile (1.6-km) buffer was drawn around the lake. Near the Disney Wilderness Preserve IBA to the
southwest.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (lake) and private owners (uplands).
HABITATS: *lacustrine, temperate hammock, non-native pasture.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, cattle grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and FCREPA species; significant
natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a large number of Least Bitterns and a significant population of Bald Eagles.
During droughts in the Everglades, the alke has supported significant numbers of Snail Kites. The
lake is probably important for more species than the data indicate, especially for wading birds.
SPECIES
Least Bittern
Snail Kite
Bald Eagle

DATES
19951997 (combined)
19851994

NUMBERS
common; 143 nests
mean of 20 birds

19992000

29 nests

STATUS
(R)
3% of then-current
numbers (R)
2% (R)

Bittern data from Rodgers and Schwikert (1999), kite data from Anonymous (1999), eagle GIS coverage from Julia
Dodge (FWC)

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area.
THREATS: development (uplands).
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Rodgers and Schwikert (1999) found nests of Least Bittern, Purple Gallinule,
Common Moorhen, Boat-tailed Grackle, and Red-winged Blackbird that failed because the cattails in
which they were built had been sprayed with herbicides. Management agencies regard dense stands
of cattails as providing little value to wildlife. Rodgers and Schwikert (1999) recommended that
future management of lakes in the region allow for the protection of some stands of cattail to provide
suitable breeding habitat for several avian species. Sprawl from Orlando is moving south; extensive
development of uplands may impact water quality in the lake.
There are 29 Bald Eagle nests within about 1 mi (1.6 km) of the lakeshore, and several other nests
beyond this distance. All property surrounding Lake Tohopekaliga is in private ownership, and some
attempt should be made to acquire these properties (possibly through perpetual conservation
easement) to ensure protection of the eagle nests.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon) and James A. Rodgers, Jr. (FWC).

58. LAKE WALES RIDGE


Publicly owned sites are Flat Lake Tract (120 ac; 48 ha), Jack Creek (1283 ac; 519 ha), Lake June-InWinter Scrub State Park (845 ac; 341 ha), Lake Placid Wildlife and Environmental Area (3150
ac; 1274 ha), Lake Wales Ridge State Forest (26,563 ac; 8723 ha), McJunkin Ranch Tract (750
ac; 303 ha), and Platt Branch Mitigation Park Wildlife and Environmental Area (1972 ac; 798
ha). Archbold Biological Station (5200 ac; 2104 ha), Saddle Blanket Lakes Preserve (642 ac; 259

136

ha), and Tiger Creek Preserve (4778 ac; 1933 ha) are privately-owned conservation areas. Part of
the Catfish Creek CARLFF Project (11,280 ac; 4565 ha) has been acquired as Allan David
Brossard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park (4339 ac; 1755 ha). Sites targeted for public
acquisition through the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem CARLFF Project (43,089 ac [17,438 ha],
with 20,378 ac [8392 ha] acquired) are: Avon Park Lakes (225 ac; 91 ha, unacquired) Carter Creek
(4630 ac; 1873 ha, mostly acquired), Castle Hill (75 ac; 30 ha, unacquired), Flamingo Villas (1420
ac; 574 ha, about half acquired), Gould Road (419 ac; 169 ha, nearly all acquired), Henscratch Road
(2869 ac; 1161 ha, mostly acquired), Hesperides (2696 ac; 1091 ha, some acquired), Highlands Ridge
(6318 ac; 2556 ha, about half acquired), Holmes Avenue (1269 ac; 513 ha, mostly acquired), Horse
Creek Scrub (1325 ac; 536 ha, mostly acquired), Lake Apthorpe (2503 ac; 1012 ha, mostly acquired),
Lake Blue (65 ac; 26 ha, mostly acquired), Lake Davenport (500 ac; 202 ha, unacquired), Lake
McLeod (55 ac; 22 ha, mostly acquired), Lake Walk-In-The-Water (8615 ac; 3486 ha, mostly
acquired), Mountain Lake Cutoff (217 ac; 87 ha, little acquired), Ridge Scrub (80 ac; 32 ha,
unacquired), Schofield Sandhill (120 ac; 48 ha, unacquired), Silver Lake (2020 ac; 817 ha, mostly
acquired), Sugarloaf Mountain (52 ac; 20 ha, some acquired), Sun N Lakes South (570 ac; 230 ha,
some acquired), SunrayHickory Lake South (1970 ac; 797 ha, some acquired), and Trout Lake (65
ac; 26 ha, unacquired).
Highlands, Lake, Osceola, and Polk counties
70,294 ac (28,448 ha), with 45,400 ac (18,373 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Generally along U.S. Highway 27 between Clermont and Venus in se. Lake County, nw.
Osceola County, e. Polk County, and w. Highlands County. Contiguous with the Avon Park Air Force
RangeBombing Range Ridge IBA and the Lake Istokpoga IBA to the east, and the Fisheating Creek
Watershed IBA to the south. Near the Highlands HammockCharlie Creek IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: Approximately 30 separate parcels along the Lake Wales Ridge, an ancient dune system
in the center of the Peninsula. During periods of higher sea levels, it at times represented a series of
islands, as most of the Peninsula was submerged. This isolation from the rest of the continent has
allowed numerous species of plants and animals to evolve, creating one of the greatest concentrations
of endemism in North America. The dominant vegetation community historically was xeric oak
scrub. Destruction of scrub along the Ridge, predominantly by the citrus industry, began in the late
19th century. By the early 1990s, more than 85% of xeric oak scrub had been destroyed, and efforts
were undertaken to purchase the remaining significant parcels. This land acquisition effort became
the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem CARLFF Project, a cooperative effort of several federal, state, and
private agencies. Part of the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge system, it is the first refuge established
specifically for the protection of Endangered and Threatened plants. Several sites are vacant
subdivisions with many miles (and km) of roads, but with few or no houses.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (part of Carter Creek and all of Flamingo Villas; Lake Wales Ridge National
Wildlife Refuge), DOF (Lake Wales Ridge State Forest), DEP (Lake Arbuckle State Park, Lake
June-In-Winter Scrub State Park, and Allan David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park),
FWC (Lake Placid Wildlife and Environmental Area and Platt Branch Mitigation Park and Wildlife
and Environmental Area), Southwest Florida WMD (Jack Creek), Archbold Expeditions, Inc.
(Archbold Biological Station), The Nature Conservancy (Saddle Blanket Lakes Preserve, Tiger Creek
Preserve, and several of the Lake Wales Ridge CARLFF Project sites such as Carter Creek, Catfish
Creek, and Holmes Avenue), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Catfish Creek and Lake
Wales Ridge CARLFF projects).
HABITATS: *pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *sand pine scrub, southern ridge sandhills, temperate
hammock, slash pine plantation, fields, non-native pasture, cutthroat seeps, cypress swamp, bayhead,
freshwater marsh, riverine, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, hunting (Lake Wales Ridge State Forest), timber production (a few
sites).

137

IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; complete avian richness of oak scrub
and sand pine scrub; exceptional richness of wood-warblers; significant natural habitats; long-term
research.
AVIAN DATA: This IBA is essential for maintaining a viable population of Florida Scrub-Jays in the
interior cen. Peninsula, supporting the third-largest population remaining. The late Glen Woolfenden,
along with John Fitzpatrick, Reed Bowman, and their colleagues have closely monitored a stable,
color-banded population of about 100 Florida Scrub-Jays at Archbold Biological Station since 1969,
one of the longest-running continuous bird studies in the world. A small, color-banded population of
Hairy Woodpeckers was studied from 1988 to 1994. Pine flatwoods support large numbers of
Bachmans Sparrows. Xeric oak scrub is rather depauperate in bird richness, but the bird list for
Archbold Biological Station totals 212 native species from the observations of dozens of
ornithologists over more than 40 years. Because most of the other CARLFF parcels are privately
owned or recently acquired, it is likely that the Archbold bird list represents the known avifauna of
the Ridge.
Archbold Biological Station
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness
Long-term research

DATES
19921993
since 1941
since 1941
since 1969

NUMBERS
~100 groups
30 species
212 species

STATUS
3% (R)
(M)
Florida Scrub-Jay study

Scrub-jay data from Pranty (1996a); richness data from (Lohrer and Woolfenden 1992; revised online in 1998).
Lake Wales Ridge State Forest
SPECIES
Short-tailed Hawk
Florida Scrub-Jay
Native richness

DATES
2002
2002
2002 list

NUMBERS
2 pairs
35 groups
124 species

STATUS
1% (B)
nearly 1% (R)

Data from Anne Malatesta (DOF); richness from surveys in 19981999 by Paul Fellers (Lake Region Audubon).
All other sites combined
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
19921993

NUMBERS
~265 groups

STATUS
7% (R);

Data from Pranty (1996a). Groups distributed as follows: Catfish Creek (35), Avon Park Lakes (5), Carter Creek
(35), Flamingo Villas (7), Henscratch RoadJack Creek (20), Hesperides (5), Highlands Ridge (45), Holmes Avenue
(10), Lake Apthorpe (25), Lake June West (10), Lake Placid Scrub (30), Lake Wales Ridge State Forest (13), Platt
Branch (10), Saddle Blanket Lakes (2), Silver Lake (10), and SunrayHickory Lake South (2).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. A critical reservoir of biological diversity and endemism, Archbold Biological Station
supports 40 listed plants, 18 vertebrates, and seven invertebrates (Lohrer 1992). Lake Wales Ridge
State Forest supports 30 listed plants and 22 listed animals. Highlands County ranks 11th in the
nation in the number of listed species present in a single county. Plants endemic to the Ridge include
pigmy fringetree (Chionanthus pygmaeus), Carters pinelandcress (Warea carteri), Avon Park
harebells (Crotalaria avonensis), Christmans mint (Dicerandra christmanii), wedgeleaf eryngo
(Eryngium cunefolium), Highlands scrub St. Johns-wort (Hypericum cumulicola), scrub blazingstar (Liatris olingerae), and Florida jujube (Ziziphus celata).
Only 1% of the historic

138

cutthroatgrass seeps found along the Lake Wales Ridge remain, mostly at Archbold Biological
Station and Lake Wales Ridge State Forest.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, human disturbance, exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Since public acquisition began in 1992, more than half of the total acreage of
the CARLFF Project has been protected. Acquisition activity continues, but two sites that were part
of the original proposal (Ferndale Ridge in Lake County and Eagle Lake in Polk County) were
destroyed in 1997 (DEP 1999). The remaining privately-held acreage can be presumed to be under a
similar extreme threat of development. Most scrub in these parcels is severely overgrown, and fire
management is critical to restore the habitats for virtually all scrub endemics, including Florida
Scrub-Jays. Management will be difficult at small sites and in the vacant developments heavily
subdivided by roads.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD), Fred Lohrer (Archbold Biological Station),
and Anne Malatesta (DOF).

59. LAKE WOODRUFF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Volusia County
21,559 ac (8724 ha)

LOCATION: West of DeLand in w. Volusia County. Contiguous with the Ocala National ForestLake
George IBA to the north and west.
DESCRIPTION: The entirety of Lake Woodruff (1000 ac; 400 ha), and lands west to the St. Johns River.
The refuge receives 70,000 recreationists and 700 hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS and St. Johns River WMD.
HABITATS: *hardwood swamp, *freshwater, cattail, and sawgrass marshes, longleaf pine flatwoods,
temperate hammock, xeric oak scrub, and lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of FCREPA species; significant numbers of raptors and
Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a richness of aquatic birds, including wading birds, 23 species of waterfowl, and
possibly an inland breeding population of Black Rails. It also supports what is currently the secondlargest Swallow-tailed Kite roost in the United States. Neotropical migrants, most notably woodwarblers, are well-represented. Probably supports significant numbers of many other species.
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Black Rail
Thrushes (mostly Veery)
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
Jul 1999
Aug 2000
Aug 1981
?
1982 list
1982 list

NUMBERS
576 birds
400 birds
6 birds
500 birds
30 species
216 species

STATUS
38% (NB)
26% (NB)
(R?)
(M)
(M)

Kite data from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institution), rail and thrush data from Wamer (1991);
other data from refuge checklist.

OTHER RESOURCES: Florida manatees occur throughout, and several archaeological sites are present.
THREAT: exotic plants.

139

CONSERVATION ISSUES: Fire-dependent communities are burned to maintain and restore habitats.
Exotic plants are controlled as needed. Feral hogs have been successfully controlled; none has been
seen for several years. Artificial impoundments are managed for waterfowl and wading birds.
Staff shortages make it difficult to survey and monitor wildlife use.
NOMINATED BY: Brian Braudis (USFWS).

60. LOWER TAMPA BAY


Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge (381 ac; 154 ha), Fort De Soto Park (1136 ac; 459 ha), Passage
Key National Wildlife Refuge (<5 ac; <2 ha), Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge (394 ac; 159 ha),
and Shell Key Preserve (1755 ac [710 ha], with 180 ac [72 ha] of uplands)
Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas counties
3671 ac (1485 ha), with 2096 ac (848 ha) of uplands

LOCATION: At the mouth of Tampa Bay. Three sites are in s. Pinellas County, Egmont Key is in sw.
Hillsborough County, and Passage Key is in w. Manatee County.
DESCRIPTION: Several islands at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Fort De Soto Park is a very popular birding
spot well-known for its species richness, especially for Neotropical migrants. It is the southernmost
part of a chain of barrier islands along the Gulf coast. Before development, the area was composed of
five keys, but these were combined into a single island by dredging. The park receives 2,700,000
recreationists annually. Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 and receives
81,000 recreationists annually. Shell Key Preserve is just north of Fort De Soto Park. It was spared
from the dredge-and-fill development that characterizes many islands to the north and east, and now
is a county preserve. It receives 100,000 recreationists, mostly private boaters, annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge,
and Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge), U.S. Coast Guard (Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge),
and Pinellas County (Fort De Soto Park and Shell Key Preserve).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, *mangrove forest, *estuarine, *fields, temperate hammock, tropical
hammock, tidal marsh, slash pine flatwoods, seagrass beds, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, historic preservation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, Watch List, and
IBA species; significant numbers and richness of shorebirds, larids, and Neotropical migrants;
exceptional richness; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Among the most important sites in Florida for wading birds, shorebirds, larids, and
Neotropical migrants, supporting a great richness of species. The colonial waterbird rookeries at
Tarpon and Whale keys, two islands of Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge, annually support 1215
species, making them one of the two most species-rich rookeries in Florida. Fort De Soto Park is one
of the most famous migratory stopover sites, and one of the most popular birding spots, in Florida. It
is also important for shorebirds and larids. Shell Key Preserve is extremely significant for migrant
and wintering shorebirds. Through 1999, Egmont Key supported only a colony of Laughing Gulls,
but as nearby Passage Key continues to erode, several other larids and Brown Pelicans have moved to
Egmont. Overall native richness is 305 species, the seventh richest IBA in Florida.
Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
American Oystercatcher
Laughing Gull

DATE
22 May 2001
2000 and 2001
22 May 2001

NUMBERS
340 pairs
4 pairs
10,000 pairs

STATUS
3% (B)
1% (B)
42% (B)

140

Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Breeding larids
Native richness

22 May 2001
22 May 2001
22 May 2001
1998 list

3542 pairs
702 pairs
14,244 pairs
103 species

65% (B)
83% (B)
(B)

Data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon); richness information from the late Jerry Shrewsbury (St. Petersburg
Audubon).
Fort De Soto Park
SPECIES
Magnificent Frigatebird
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Red Knot
Solitary Sandpiper
Shorebirds
Common Tern
Sandwich Tern
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Bank Swallow
Wood Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Palm Warbler
American Redstart
Hooded Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Dickcissel
Native richness

DATES
9 Oct 1994
JanFeb 2001
22 May 2001
16 Aug 2002
4 Aug 2000
4 Sep 1998
30 Apr 1996
winter 19931994
9 Oct 1998
27 Sep 1996
30 Apr 1996
2 Oct 1998
22 Aug 1997
15 Mar 1999
20 Sep 1998
2 Oct 1998
6 Apr 1993
2 Oct 1998
2 Oct 1998
2 Oct 1998
2 Oct 1998
4 Nov 1998
25 Apr 1998
2 Oct 1998
2 Oct 1998
29 Aug 1992
7 May 1996
2 Oct 1998
30 Apr 1996
30 Apr 1996
30 Apr 1996
23 Apr 1997

NUMBERS
570 birds
5 birds
2 pairs
22 birds
17 birds
1000 birds
90 birds
1672 birds
6000 birds
225 birds
250 birds
50 birds
150 birds
151 birds
400 birds
120 birds
20 birds
63 birds
64 birds
28 birds
51 birds
82 birds
70 birds
870 birds
200 birds
200 birds
100 birds
41 birds
25 birds
40 birds
100 birds
116 birds
302 species

STATUS
11% (NB)
1% (R)
1% (R)
4% (W)
1% (R)
(M)
(M)
(W)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
Florida high count (M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
Florida high count (M)

Wilsons Plover data from Ann and Rich Paul; Piping Plover observation by Brian Ahern; 19931994 shorebird data
from Sprandel et al. (1997); Snowy Plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS); all other data from observations by Lyn
and Brooks Atherton, Steve Backes, Paul Blair, Paul Fellers, Brett Hoffman, Ed Kwater, Harry Robinson, Ron
Smith, and Margie Wilkinson, published in Florida Field Naturalist. See also Gore and Chase (1989).
Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds

DATES
19982001
19992001
winter 19931994

NUMBERS
mean of 172 pairs
mean of 6 pairs
1754 birds

STATUS
2% (B)
1% (B)
(W)

141

Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Black Skimmer
Breeding larids

19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001

mean of 3033 pairs


mean of 1697 pairs
mean of 193 pairs
mean of 318 pairs
mean of 5242 pairs

16% (B)
31% (B)
42% (B)
19% (B)
(B)

Shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997); other data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).
Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge (Tarpon Key and Whale Key)
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Reddish Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Roseate Spoonbill
American Oystercatcher
Colonial waterbird richness

DATES
19992001
24 May 1999
19992001
24 May 2000
MayJun 2001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 254 pairs
265 birds
mean of 4 pairs
79 pairs
16 pairs
mean of 1 pair
mean of 13 species

STATUS
2% (B)
5% (NB)
1% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
<1% (B)
(B)

DATES
25 Jan 1998
18 Feb 1999
19982000
25 Feb 2001
19982001
spring 2000
4 Oct 1997
FebApr 2001
19951999
1 Jul 1997
22 May 2001
23 May 2000
Oct 2001 list

NUMBERS
10 birds
27 birds
mean of 11 birds
225 birds
mean of 41 birds
13 pairs
4100 birds
mean of 3392 birds
mean of 2370 pairs
600 birds
17 pairs
57 pairs
125 species

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
2% (NB)
(W)
8% (W)
3% (B)
(M)
(W)
12% (B)
6% (NB)
<1% (B)
3% (B)

Data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).


Shell Key Preserve
SPECIES
Reddish Egret
Roseate Spoonbill
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Red Knot
Shorebirds
Laughing Gull
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Native richness

Skimmer breeding data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon), 2001 plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS), checklist
from Cathy Flegel (Pinellas County Parks and Recreation Department), all other data from the late Paul Blair (St.
Petersburg Audubon). See also Sprandel et al. (1997).

OTHER RESOURCES: Fort De Soto Park: Fort De Soto was built during the Spanish-American War to
protect the mouth of Tampa Bay. The fort contains the last four 12-in (30-cm), 1890 seacoast mortars
mounted on carriages that remain in the continental U.S. Additionally, the last two 6-in (15 cm), 1898
rapid-fire guns from Fort Dade (on Egmont Key) now are mounted at Fort De Soto. In 1977, Fort De
Soto was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge
supports large populations of gopher tortoises and box turtles (Terrapene carolina). Sea turtles nest
on the beaches. A lighthouse built in 1848 and rebuilt in 1858 still stands. Fort Dade was built in
1882, and a town with 70 building and 300 residents existed from 18991916; the towns red-brick
roads still remain. Much of the fort has eroded into Tampa Bay. Shell Key Preserve supports
nesting loggerhead sea turtles.
THREATS: *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *erosion, *raccoons, development, habitat succession,
cowbird brood parasitism, feral hogs.

142

CONSERVATION ISSUES: Fort De Soto Park: Increased visitation has damaged native habitats, and
caused increased disturbance to beach nesting and roosting birds.
Future park plans include
separating Bonne Fortune and St. Jean keys from Mullet Key to improve tidal flow and to increase
sea-grass habitats. The park contains 26 listed species: 13 birds, three reptiles, and 10 plants. Dogs
are required to be leashed at all times, except in one field where they may run free, but many people
allow their dogs to run unleashed on the beaches and mudflats; disturbance to beach-roosting and foraging shorebirds and larids has been severe. Brazilian pepper is controlled. Australian-pine has
been removed from most areas, but is used for landscaping is parking lots and elsewhere. Egmont
Key: 97 ac (39 ha), including some beaches, are set aside as a wildlife sanctuary where human
intrusion is prohibited year-round. Australian-pines have been removed. Passage Key: Under
control of Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, nearly 100 mi (160 km) to the north.
Trespassing is frequent, and although enforcement is necessary during the nesting season, it occurs
infrequently. The island continues to erode, and in 2001, most of its breeding birds moved to Egmont
Key. Pinellas Refuge: Patrol is minimal. In 2000, cordgrass was planted to stabilize eroding
shorelines. Raccoons are regularly removed, but some remain, and these have contributed to the
decline in the number of breeding Brown Pelicans. Some control of exotic plants is needed. Shell
Key is used heavily by boaters; managing the preserve for its natural resources while allowing public
access and day-use will be a challenge. A draft management plan designates 82 ac (33 ha; 46%) of the
island for public use and 98 ac (39 ha; 54%) closed to human access. Breeding success of
shorebirds and larids has been monitored by St. Petersburg Audubon members and FWC staff, and
will continue under coordination of Pinellas County Environmental Lands Division staff. Some
Australian-pines exist on Shell Key and these will be gradually removed and replaced with native
trees. In 2001, raccoons invaded the island and caused a near-total collapse of breeding shorebirds
and larids; only 21 pairs of birds attempted to nest.
NOMINATED BY: Paul Blair (St. Petersburg Audubon), Ann and Rich Paul, and Bill Pranty (Audubon),
and Jerry Shrewsbury (St. Petersburg Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Hugh Fagan and Cathy Flegel (Pinellas County Parks and Recreation Department) and
Lyn Atherton (FOS).

61. MYAKKA RIVER WATERSHED


Myakka River State Park (37,124 ac; 15,024 ha), Myakka State Forest (8593 ac; 3449 ha), Pinelands
Reserve (6151 ac; 2489 ha), T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve (24,565 ac; 9941 ha), and
the Myakka River Watershed SOR project (28,774 ac [11,644 ha], with 3993 ac [1615 ha]
acquired)
DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties
105,146 ac (42,552), with 80,365 ac (32,523 ha) acquired

LOCATION: East of Interstate 75 in se. Manatee County, much of Sarasota County, and w. DeSoto
County. Near the Oscar Scherer State Park IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: A large area of public and private lands surrounding the Myakka River, from Upper
Myakka Lake to within 10 mi (16 km) of Charlotte Harbor. The centerpiece is Myakka River State
Park, established in 1936 as one of Floridas first conservation areas. In recent years, extensive
acreage around the park has been protected to buffer it from massive regional development. All other
sites are recent acquisitions, with limited avian data available. T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial
Reserve serves as a county wellfield, providing 57 million gal (1926 million l) of water per day,
while Pinelands Reserve contains a county landfill. No information was provided for Myakka State
Forest or the Myakka River Watershed SOR Project.

143

OWNERSHIP: DOF (Myakka State Forest), DEP (Myakka River State Park), Southwest Florida WMD
(Myakka River State Park and Myakka River Watershed SOR Project), Sarasota County Resource
Management (Pinelands Reserve and T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve), and private owners
(conservation easements and remaining acreage of the Myakka River Watershed SOR Project).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *dry prairie, *freshwater marsh, *riverine,
*lacustrine, longleaf pine flatwoods, xeric oak scrub, fields, non-native pasture, hardwood swamp,
bayhead, sawgrass marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *county landfill (Pinelands Reserve), *wellfield (T. Mabry
Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of FCREPA and Watch List species; significant numbers of
wading birds and wintering Sandhill Cranes; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant numbers of wading birds, and contains breeding species typical of
pine flatwoods,. Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are not known to occur currently (there are historical
reports in the state park), but the amount of pine flatwoods suggests that relocation may be an option.
Extensive acreage of dry prairie habitat at Myakka River State Park may be suitable for translocating
Florida Grasshopper Sparrows. Overall native richness is 250 species.
Myakka River State Park
SPECIES
Wading birds
Greater Sandhill Crane
Swallow-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite
Osprey
Bachmans Sparrow
Native richness

DATES
May 1996
Dec 1996
Apr 1999
FebApr 2000
May 2000
MayJul 2000
Feb 2000 list

NUMBERS
500 birds
333 birds
11 pairs
1 nest
25 nests
30 singing males
246 species

STATUS
(NB)
1% (W)
2% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
(B)

Crane data from the 1996 Myakka River CBC; all other data from Belinda Perry (DEP).
Pinelands Reserve
SPECIES
Wading birds

DATES
12 Oct 2000

NUMBERS
486 birds

STATUS
(NB)

Data from Jeffrey Weber (Sarasota County Resource Management).


T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve
SPECIES
Wading birds
Native richness

DATES
89 Mar 1986
Feb 1999 checklist

NUMBERS
729 birds
137 species

STATUS
(NB)
mostly 19971998 surveys

Wading bird data from Collopy and Jelks (1989), provided by Jeffrey Weber (Sarasota County Resource
Management), checklist based on surveys by members of Venice Area Audubon.

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The Myakka River is designated as a Wild and Scenic River and an Outstanding Florida
Water. Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and largest units in Floridas state park
system, and is part of an extremely significant large, intact natural area. Acquisition began in 1936,
and the Civilian Conservation Corps developed the parks facilities. Twelve of the 13 original CCC
buildings remain in use, and are considered historically significant. Pinelands Reserve supports five
listed plants and six listed animals. T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve supports 20 listed

144

plants and 30 listed animals, including rare observations of Florida manatee and Florida panther.
Cultural and historical sites also are present.
THREATS: *development, *exotic plants, *feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Myakka River State Park: Approximately 12,000 ac (4856 ha) are burned
annually to maintain fire-dependent communities. Invasive exotics such as feral hogs, hydrilla,
cogongrass, tropical soda apple, Japanese climbing fern, air-potato, Brazilian pepper, and punktree
are treated or removed. Hydrologic improvements planned include dechannelizing Clay Gulley,
minimizing damming of water by the main park road, and possibly removing the weir and dike below
Upper Myakka Lake. At least five groups of Florida Scrub-Jays will be maintained. Pinelands
Reserve: Approximately 2000 ac (800 ha) of flatwoods, dry prairie, and marshes are burned
annually. Some areas (200 ac; 80 ha) have been roller-chopped to reduce palmetto height and density.
Invasive exotics, primarily feral hogs, Brazilian pepper, Australian punk tree, cogongrass, West
Indian marsh grass, and tropical soda apple, are removed. Restoration of Old Cow Slough has
benefited wading birds and waterfowl. T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve: Approximately
8000 ac (3237 ha) of flatwoods, dry prairie, and marshes are burned annually. A timber management
program was recently implemented to thin overgrown flatwoods. Invasive exotics (primarily feral
hogs, Brazilian pepper, Australian punk tree, cogongrass, West Indian marsh grass, and tropical soda
apple) are removed. Restoration of Deer Prairie Slough is expected to greatly enhance foraging
habitats for wading birds and waterfowl.
NOMINATED BY: Belinda Perry (DEP) and Jeffrey Weber (Sarasota County Resource Management).
REVIEWED BY: Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD).

62. NORTH LIDO BEACHPALMER POINT


North Lido Beach (77 ac; 31 ha) and Palmer Point Park (30 ac; 12 ha)
Sarasota County
107 ac (43 ha)

LOCATION: Along the Gulf of Mexico in w-cen. Sarasota County, occupying the n. end of Lido Key, the
n. tip of Casey Key, and the s. tip of Siesta Key.
DESCRIPTION: Two small coastal county parks on barrier islands connected to the mainland by bridges
and causeways. The numbers of recreationists are not known.
OWNERSHIP: Sarasota Parks and Recreation Department (North Lido Beach), City of Sarasota, managed
by Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department (Palmer Point Park).
HABITATS: *estuarine, *coastal strand, *mangrove forest, maritime hammock, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of breeding Snowy Plovers and significant populations of
wintering shorebirds and larids.
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Shorebirds
Least Tern

DATES
summer 1991
summer 1992
Jan 1999
summer 1992

NUMBERS
9 pairs
5 pairs
425 birds
50 pairs

Data from Jeffrey Weber (Sarasota County Resource Management); plover data from FWC.

STATUS
4% (B)
2% (B)
(W)
1% (B)

145

OTHER RESOURCES: Sea turtles nest at both sites. Palmer Point Park supports listed plants such as
beach creeper (Ernodea littoralis) and inkberry (Scaevola plumieri).
THREATS: *development, *exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Neither site was documented to contain plovers during the 1989 statewide
survey (Gore and Chase 1989); the sites apparently were overlooked. North Lido Beach: The
beach is actively patrolled for sea turtle nests during the summer.
Exotic plants (primarily
Australian-pines) are controlled. Palmer Point Park: Staff rope off bird nesting areas and actively
monitor activities. Exotic plants, including Australian-pines, have been removed. In some cases,
areas have been replanted with native maritime hammock species.
Annual surveys at North Lido Beach should be implemented to ensure that the Snowy Plover breeding
areas are protected, and to monitor breeding productivity.
NOMINATED BY: Jeffrey Weber (Sarasota County Resource Management).

63. ORLANDO WETLANDS PARK


Orange County
1650 ac (667 ha)

LOCATION: In the town of Christmas in ne. Orange County. Contiguous with the Upper St. Johns River
Basin IBA to the east and south, and west of the St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge IBA.
DESCRIPTION: The worlds first large-scale wastewater natural polishing facility. Seventeen marsh
cells filter nitrogen and phosphorus from highly treated wastewater before its discharge 1740 days
later into the St. Johns River. Water quality is statistically equal to that in the St. Johns River both
upstream and downstream of the discharge point (EPA 1993). Up to 40 million gal (151 million l) of
water can be treated daily. The site was a cattle ranch when purchased in 1984 and historically was
St. Johns River floodplain marsh. Since acquisition, more than 2 million native aquatic plants and
200,000 native trees have been planted. A 410-ac (165-ha) deep marsh composed mostly of cattail
and giant bulrush (Scirpus californicus), accomplishes nutrient removal. A 380-ac (153-ha) mixed
marsh of more than 60 herbaceous species provides additional nutrient removal and wildlife habitat.
A 400-ac (161-ha) hardwood swamp serves primarily as wildlife habitat. The park receives 10,000
recreationists annually and 200 hunters during the winter. Pets, swimming, boating, fishing, camping,
horses, and open fires are prohibited. Motorized vehicles also are prohibited except for group tours.
OWNERSHIP: City of Orlando.
HABITATS: *freshwater marsh, *cattail marsh, *hardwood swamp, lacustrine, fields.
LAND USE: *wastewater filtering facility, conservation, environmental education, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Special Concern, and FCREPA species,
significant numbers of wading birds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of roosting wading birds, and lesser numbers of breeding
wading birds, wintering waterfowl, and wintering and migrant shorebirds. The park also contains one
of the few native-substrate breeding colonies of Purple Martins in Florida, nesting in cabbage palm
snags. In 1996, one pair of Snail Kites bred here, their northernmost breeding location since the
1930s.
SPECIES
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron

DATES
Jan 1999
Jan 1999

NUMBERS
878 birds
249 birds

STATUS
(NB)
1% (NB)

146

Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Purple Martin
Wading birds
Native richness

Jan 1999
Jan 1999
Jan 1999
Aug 2001
9 May 1999
Jan 1999
1994 list

125 birds
1123 birds
251 birds
200 birds
dozens of birds
2827 birds
170 species

(NB)
2% (NB)
7% (NB)
1% (NB)
native-substrate colony (B)
(NB)

Kite data from Sees and Freeman (1998), 1999 martin observation of Cheri Pierce, native richness compiled in part
from observations in Florida Field Naturalist, other data from Mark Sees (City of Orlando); see also Sees (1999).

OTHER RESOURCES: Other listed species include indigo snake, Shermans fox squirrel, black bear,
and 16 plants.
THREATS: exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Previous owners maintain a waterfowl hunting lease on the property until
2035; the park is closed to public access during the hunting season. Feral hogs and exotic plants,
primarily Peruvian primrosewillow (Ludwigia peruviana) and common water-hyacinth, are
removed. Water quality is monitored continuously.
NOMINATED BY: Mark Sees (City of Orlando).

64. OSCAR SCHERER STATE PARK


Sarasota County
1384 ac (560 ha)

LOCATION: In the town of Osprey in sw. Sarasota County. Near the Myakka River Watershed IBA to the
east.
DESCRIPTION: An oasis of natural habitats in a rapidly growing part of sw. Florida. The park receives
130,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods and scrubby flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *riverine, xeric oak
scrub, non-native pasture, mangrove forest, freshwater marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats; long-term
research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant population of Florida Scrub-Jays that has been color-banded and
studied since 1990.
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay
Long-term research
Native richness

DATES
Mar 2000
since 1990
1997 checklist

NUMBERS
36 groups

STATUS
1% (R)
Florida Scrub-Jay demographic study

166 species

Data from Michael DelGrosso (DEP); see also Thaxton and Hingtgen (1996).

OTHER RESOURCES: A herbarium collection is onsite. Shell scatter sites are evidence of earlier human
settlement.
THREATS: *offsite development, *feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Overgrown scrubby flatwoods were restored using mechanical means and
prescribed fire. By 1999, this restoration effort had created 19 new scrub-jay territories. The scrub-jay

147

population is censused monthly.


Management activities include mechanical treatment and
prescribed fire.
Feral hogs and exotic plants such as cogongrass,
St. Augustinegrass
(Stenotaphrum secundatum), rosary pea, punktree, and Brazilian pepper are removed. Hydrologic
improvements are proposed for South Creek.
NOMINATED BY: Michael DelGrosso (DEP).

65. OSCEOLA FLATWOODS AND PRAIRIES


Publicly owned sites are Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area (32,394 ac; 13,109 ha), Three Lakes
Wildlife Management Area (59,490 ac; 25,057 ha), and Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management
Area (10,894 ac; 4408 ha). Private lands are sought for acquisition or conservation easements under
the Big Bend SwampHolopaw Ranch CARLFF Project (54,425 ac [22,025 ha], unacquired),
Osceola Pine Savannas CARLFF Project (24,189 ac; 9789 ha remaining) and Ranch Reserve
CARLFF Project (35,300 ac [14,285 ha], with perpetual conservation easements obtained on
11,768 ac [4762 ha]).
Osceola County
216,692 ac (87,695 ha), with 102,778 ac (41,594 ha) acquired, and perpetual conservation easements
obtained on an additional 11,768 ac (4762 ha)

LOCATION: Much of the area south of U.S. Highway 441 in cen. and s. Osceola County. Contiguous with
the Kissimmee Lake and River IBA to the west, and near the Upper St. Johns River Basin IBA to the
east.
DESCRIPTION: Several large conservation areas linked by private ranches encompassing a vast rural area
in the cen. Peninsula. Nearly half of this IBA is in public ownership, while protection of the
remainder is sought via perpetual conservation easements. Public properties are managed primarily
for hunting. Data for this IBA are largely limited to Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area and
ranchland accessible along public roadways.
OWNERSHIP: FWC (Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area), St. Johns River WMD (Bull Creek
Wildlife Management Area and Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Area; managed by FWC), and
private owners (remaining acreage of the Osceola Pine Savannas CARLFF Project, and ranches
sought for conservation easements under the Big Bend SwampHolopaw Ranch and Ranch Reserve
CARLFF projects; to be monitored by St. Johns River WMD).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *dry prairie, *non-native pasture, *cypress
swamp, *depressional marsh, pine plantation, sandhills, xeric oak scrub, scrubby flatwoods, sand pine
scrub, citrus groves, hardwood swamp, bayhead, cattail marsh, riverine, lacustrine, sod farm.
LAND USE: *conservation, *hunting (16,000 hunter-days at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area),
*cattle grazing, recreation, timber production, agriculture (citrus and sod production).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; complete avian richness of dry prairies and longleaf pine flatwoods; significant natural
habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports all species associated with pine flatwoods and dry prairies, most notably
significant populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Florida Grasshopper Sparrows. One of
the densest nesting concentrations of Bald Eagles in North America occurs in the region. Crested
Caracaras probably occur in greater numbers than data suggest. A little-known xeric oak scrub and
scrubby flatwoods ridge runs southeast through this IBA, south beyond the boundary to areas south
and east of Yeehaw Junction. A few Florida Scrub-Jay groups are known to occur in scattered patches
along this ridge, and other groups probably await discovery. The Whooping Crane reintroduction
program, which began in 1992 and was discontinued in 2007, was concentrated on this area.

148

Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area


SPECIES
Florida Sandhill Crane
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
Bachmans Sparrow
Long-term research

DATES
20002001
1999
19992000
2001
19921993
20002001
1996
20002001
since 1991

NUMBERS
15 pairs
2 nests
10 nests
52 clusters
4 groups
common
94 singing males
common

STATUS
1% (R)
>1% (B)
<1% (B)
4% (R)
<1% (R); discovered in 1992
(R)
~20% (R)
(R)
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
monitoring

Eagle GIS database from Julia Dodge (FWC), 1999 woodpecker data from USFWS (2000), scrub-jay data from
Pranty (1996a), Grasshopper Sparrow data from Delany et al. (1999), all other data from Tylan Dean (USFWS).
Northeast shore of Lake Marian
SPECIES
Bald Eagle

DATES
19992000

NUMBERS
13 nests

STATUS
nearly 1% (B)

GIS coverage from Julia Dodge (FWC).


Other sites, separate or in combination
SPECIES
Glossy Ibis
Crested Caracara

DATES
20002001
19992001

NUMBERS
35 birds
2 pairs

STATUS
1% (NB)
1% (R); likely underestimate

Data from Tylan Dean (USFWS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Several listed plants occur at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, along with numerous
American Indian mounds and one historic cracker house.
THREATS: *development, human disturbance, exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Residential and commercial developments severely threaten this IBA,
especially its n. portion. State agencies need to expedite protection, primarily through perpetual
conservation easements. Prescribed burns on public properties maintain high-quality habitats that
support numerous species. This IBA supports what probably is the least-known population of Florida
Scrub-Jays in Florida. Surveys and color-banding studies should be undertaken, and additional public
acquisition of scrublands should be considered. The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow population at
Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area has been monitored annually since 1991. Red-cockaded
Woodpeckers at Three Lakes are color-banded and the population is monitored.
Private properties along the ne. shore of Lake Marian (adjacent to Three Lakes Wildlife Management
Area but not currently sought for acquisition) were added to this IBA on the basis of the significant
number of Bald Eagle nests supported; protection of this area through public purchase or perpetual
conservation easement should be investigated.
NOMINATED BY: Tylan Dean (USFWS) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).

149

66. PELICAN ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Indian River County
5440 ac (2201 ha), with 5175 ac (2090 ha) acquired

LOCATION: East of Sebastian in ne. Indian River County.


DESCRIPTION: A few small keys in the Indian River Lagoon, adjacent uplands on the barrier island, and
much open water encompassing the nations first national wildlife refuge, established in 1903. The
refuge receives 40,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, *maritime hammock, *disturbed uplands, tidal marsh, estuarine, coastal
strand.
LAND USE: *conservation, environmental education, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Special Concern species; significant
numbers of wading birds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Since 1858, has supported a colonial waterbird rookery that contains significant
populations of several species.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Reddish Egret
White Ibis
Wood Stork
Wading birds

DATES
19952000
12 Dec 2001
19952000
12 Dec 2001
12 Dec 2001
19952001
19952001
12 Dec 2001

NUMBERS
mean of 84 pairs
442 birds
mean of 4 pairs
20 birds
449 birds
mean of 146 pairs
mean of 224 pairs
943 birds

STATUS
nearly 2% (B)
(NB)
1% (B)
(NB)
(NB)
2% (B)
<1% (B)
(NB)

Data from Mark Graham (USFWS).

OTHER RESOURCES: The establishment of the refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt began a federal
land-acquisition program that now protects more than 93 million ac (37.2 million ha) in more than
500 refuges throughout the country. Pelican Island is a designated National Historic Landmark.
THREATS: *offsite development, *human disturbance, exotic plants, erosion.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: From 1903 until 2000, the refuge was patrolled by one man and one boat
(USFWS 1999a). However, with increased attention paid to the nations first refuge on the eve of its
centennial, the staff has been increased to four full-time employees. Pelican Island has eroded more
than 50% since 1943, primarily from waves generated by increasing boat traffic. Recently, oyster
shell reefs have been created and cordgrass has been planted to stabilize the island. A wave break
may be created to further reduce erosion. Public access to Pelican Island is forbidden. Exotic
plants are controlled as necessary. 250 ac (111 ha) of private lands (predominantly citrus groves)
adjacent to the refuge were recently acquired, and these will be restored to natural communities.
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is now linked directly with Archie Carr National Wildlife
Refuge to the east. Additionally, public acquisition is sought for 15 ac (6 ha) on the mainland along
the Indian River that were formerly owned Paul Kroegel, who drew attention to the plight of Pelican
Island in 1903. If purchased by USFWS, Kroegels house will be restored and converted to a visitor
center. The number of birds breeding at Pelican Island has declined dramatically over the past 100

150

years. Brown Pelicans declined from 5000 pairs in 1910 to 80 in 1999. Wading birds did not breed on
the island until 1941, when 1354 pairs bred; this number had declined to 236 pairs by 1999.
NOMINATED BY: Mark Graham (USFWS).

67. ST. JOHNS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Brevard County
6254 ac (2530 ha)

LOCATION: West of Interstate 95 in cen. Brevard County. Contiguous with the Upper St. Johns River
IBA to the west, near the Brevard Scrub Ecosystem IBA to the north and south, and near the William
Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: Two separate sites of inland salt marsh fed from saline upwellings in the e. floodplain of
the St. Johns River. Established in 1971 in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the extinction of the
Dusky Seaside Sparrow, most of the refuge remains closed to the public, but some compatible
wildlife-oriented uses are planned.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS.
HABITATS: *inland salt marsh, temperate hammock, sawgrass marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of FCREPA species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant population of Black Rails, one of only two known inland breeding
sites in the state.
SPECIES
Black Rail

DATES
19932000

NUMBERS
30 birds

STATUS
(B)

Data from Mike Legare; see also Legare et al. (1999).

OTHER RESOURCES: Preserves large expanses of brackish marsh.


THREATS: *habitat succession, exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Purchased between 19701976 to protect the w. population of Dusky Seaside
Sparrows. Despite these and other efforts, the sparrow became extinct in the wild in 1981 and in
captivity in 1987. USFWS failed to properly manage the property after acquisition: a drainage ditch
was not filled in and fire lanes were not built. Between 1970 and 1977, six wildfires burned the
refuge, and the sparrow population plummeted from 143 males to only 11. By 1979, only nine
sparrows, all males, remained (Walters 1992); see also Sharp (1970), Delany et al. (1981), and Kale
(1996). The primary management objective is to restore the marsh to its original condition through
prescribed fire and marsh restoration. Exotic plants are controlled
NOMINATED BY: Mike Legare (Dynamac Corporation).

68. ST. SEBASTIAN RIVER PRESERVE STATE PARK


Brevard and Indian River counties
21,500 ac (8750 ha)

151

LOCATION: Along Interstate 95 in s. Brevard County and n. Indian River County. Contiguous with the
Brevard Scrub Ecosystem IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: An extremely diverse site roughly 7 mi (11.2 km) north to south and the same distance
east to west, along the w. shore of St. Sebastian River. The park receives 20,000 recreationists
annually.
OWNERSHIP: St. Johns River WMD and DEP.
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, sandhills,
temperate hammock, sand pine scrub, bayhead, mangrove forest, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh,
riverine, lacustrine, non-native pasture, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species and Watch List species; complete avian
richness of longleaf pine flatwoods; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports all species of fire-maintained longleaf pine flatwoods, including a nearly
significant population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Also supports a significant population of
Florida Scrub-Jays. Numbers of both species likely will increase with habitat management.
SPECIES
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay
Bachmans Sparrow
Native richness

DATES
1999
4 Jul 2000
10 May 1997
Jul 2002 list

NUMBERS
10 clusters
51 groups
88 birds
193 species

STATUS
nearly <1% (R)
1% (R)
<50% of park surveyed (R)

Woodpecker data from DeLotelle and Leonard (2000), scrub-jay data from David Breininger (Dynamac
Corporation), other data from David Simpson (DEP).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The park is important for Florida manatees; the population along Floridas Atlantic coast is
estimated at 7001200 individuals, and as many as 100 have been observed in the river. The park
protects 8 mi (12.8 km) of river frontage. A study of indigo snakes using radio telemetry is
underway. Several cultural and archaeological sites are present. Dogs and hunting are prohibited.
THREATS: exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The largest upland preserve in the region, containing a diversity of natural
communities, mostly in good to excellent condition. Cattle (200 animals) graze 900 ac (364 ha) of
pasture; this lease will be discontinued when the habitat is restored. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker
population is being increased through cavity augmentation. The flatwoods are under an intensive
prescribed-fire management plan. About half of the Florida Scrub-Jay habitat is in good to optimal
condition, with the remainder overgrown from fire exclusion. An aggressive scrub habitat restoration
plan is in place. The Florida Scrub-Jay population is being color-banded and monitored. Feral hogs
and exotic plants such as Brazilian pepper, Australian punk tree, cogongrass, air potato, and smallleaf climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) are removed.
NOMINATED BY: David Simpson (DEP).

69. SARASOTA AND ROBERTS BAYS


Cortez Key Bird Sanctuary (5 ac; 2 ha), Roberts Bay colony (1 acre; 0.4 ha), and adjacent foraging
areas
Manatee and Sarasota counties
6 ac (2.4 ha)

152

LOCATION: Off the mainland in sw. Manatee County and nw. Sarasota County.
DESCRIPTION: Small keys in Sarasota Bay and Roberts Bay, about 16 mi (25 km) apart, linked by
estuarine foraging habitats.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, tidal marsh, estuarine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Special Concern species; exceptional
richness of colonial waterbirds.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant colonial waterbird rookeries. Cortez Key serves as a roost for large
numbers of Magnificent Frigatebirds.
Cortez Key
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Reddish Egret
Roseate Spoonbill
Colonial waterbird richness

DATES
19992001
8 May 2000
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 146 pairs
250 birds
mean of 2 pairs
mean of 5 pairs
13 species annually

STATUS
1% (B)
5% (NB)
<1% (B)
1% (B)
(B)

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 189 pairs
mean of 236 pairs
mean of 41 pairs

STATUS
2% (B)
1% (B)
(B)

Roberts Bay
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *human disturbance, *raccoons, *erosion, *discarded monofilament fishing line, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Cortez Key: The island is posted and patrolled to control human access.
Raccoons and monofilament fishing line are removed regularly. Vegetation has been planted to
control erosion, but current efforts are not sufficient. A proposal to add oyster shells to stabilize
shorelines is being considered. Roberts Bay: The islands are posted and monitored by Audubon
staff. Discussion of shoreline stabilization and island enhancement is underway.
NOMINATED BY: Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

70. TURKEY CREEK SANCTUARY


Brevard County
138 ac (55 ha)

LOCATION: On the mainland about 2 mi (3.6 km) from the Indian River in s. Brevard County.
DESCRIPTION: A small park surrounded by residential development. The sanctuary receives 25,000
recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: City of Palm Bay and Audubon.
HABITATS: *temperate hammock, sand pine scrub, fields, riverine.
LAND USE: *recreation, conservation, environmental education.
IBA CATEGORIES: exceptional richness of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.

153

AVIAN DATA: Supports an exceptional richness of Neotropical migrants, especially wood-warblers,


primarily during fall.
SPECIES
Red-eyed Vireo
American Redstart
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Ovenbird
Wood-warbler richness
Indigo Bunting
Native richness

DATES
9 Sep 2001
18 May 2001
18 May 2001
16 Sep 2000
16 Sep 2000
29 Sep 2001
12 Sep 2001
26 Apr 2000
2001 list
21 Oct 2001
undated list

NUMBERS
30 birds
40 birds
20 birds
25 birds
30 birds
15 birds
10 birds
20 birds
33 species
20 birds
142 species

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

Data from Shirley and William Hills (Indian River Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Includes the Margaret Hames Nature Center, an environmental educational center
with natural history exhibits.
THREATS: exotic plants, habitat succession.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Proximity to residential development confounds prescribed-burning efforts;
mechanical treatment is used as a substitute Exotic plants are controlled as needed.
NOMINATED BY: Shirley and William Hills (Indian River Audubon).

71. UPPER ST. JOHNS RIVER BASIN


Blue Cypress Conservation Area (49,573 ac; 20,062 ha), Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area
(6395 ac; 2588 ha), Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area (20,592 ac; 8333 ha), River Lakes
Conservation Area (34,429 ac; 13,933 ha), Seminole Ranch Conservation Area (36,448 ac; 14,750
ha), and Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area (54,630 ac; 22,108 ha)
Brevard, Indian River, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties
202,067 ac (81,776 ha)

LOCATION: Along the St. Johns River in s. Volusia County, se. Seminole County, e. Orange County, w.
Brevard County, ne. Osceola County, and sw. Indian River County. Contiguous with the William
Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve IBA to the west, and with the Brevard Scrub Ecosystem and St.
Johns National Wildlife Refuge IBAs to the east.
DESCRIPTION: A vast area protecting more than 80 mi (128 km) of river, floodplain marshes, and
adjacent uplands along the upper St. Johns River. All sites are conservation areas, and listed
geographically from the north, are: Seminole Ranch, Canaveral Marshes, River Lakes, Three Forks
Marsh, Blue Cypress, and Fort Drum Marsh. Combined, the areas receive 15001700 hunters
annually; the number of other recreationists is not known.
OWNERSHIP: St. Johns River WMD.
HABITATS: *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, *freshwater marsh, *sawgrass marsh, *riverine,
*lacustrine, pine flatwoods, temperate hammock, dry prairie, fields, non-native pasture, bayhead,
cattail marsh, artificial (borrow pits, levees, and ditches).
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *hunting, timber production, cattle grazing.

154

IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and
Watch List species; significant numbers of aquatic birds, wading birds, and raptors; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports huge numbers of wading birds and large numbers of wintering waterfowl and
raptors.
SPECIES
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Wood Stork
Small dark herons
Wading birds
Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Crested Caracara
Tree Swallow
Bobolink
Native richness

DATES
Aug 1999
1998
Aug 1999
1998
Aug 1999
1998
Aug 1999
1998
Jun 1998
Aug 1999
29 Nov 1999
29 Nov 1999
19992000
JulAug 2000
summer 1999
1997
1998
19992000
winter 19992000
19 Sep 1998
9 Sep 1999
Aug 2002 list

NUMBERS
547 birds
1410 pairs
12,007 birds
2790 pairs
487 birds
760 pairs
4133 birds
1860 pairs
6256 pairs
44,313 birds
1000 birds
3000 birds
16 nests
200 birds
3 birds
26 nests
129 birds
8 birds
10,000 birds
421 birds
250 birds
225 species

STATUS
(NB)
7% (B)
30% (NB)
(B)
2% (NB)
13% (B)
>33%? (NB)
(B)
(B)
(NB)
sw. of Palm Bay (W)
sw. of Palm Bay (W)
1% (B); underestimate
13% (NB)
(R)
6% (B)
12% (NB)
1% (R)
(W)
Seminole Ranch (M)
sw. of Palm Bay (M)

Wading bird data from Sewell (2000), Swallow-tailed Kite data from Meyer (1998), Snail Kite data from Dreitz et
al. (1999), Seminole Ranch data from St. Johns River WMD, other data from Sean Rowe (St. Johns River WMD).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Contains numerous shellfish middens and other archaeological sites, suggesting that a large
pre-Columbian Indian population inhabited the area.
THREATS: exotic plants, habitat succession, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Management goals are to provide for water-resource conservation, restoration
of water-recharge areas and wetlands, water-quality improvement, and public access. Exotic plants,
including hydrilla, common water-hyacinth, and cogongrass, are controlled.
An aggressive
prescribed fire program maintains or restores habitats to their historic fire regimes. An extensive
network of water-quality sampling sites throughout the basin helps to improve water quality.
NOMINATED BY: Sean Rowe (St. Johns River WMD).

72. VOLUSIA COUNTY COLONY ISLANDS


New Smyrna Colony (14 ac; 5 ha) and Port Orange colony (1.9 ac; 0.7 ha)
Volusia County
16 ac (6 ha)

LOCATION: Between the two bridges of State Road A1A over the Halifax River in ne. Volusia County.

155

DESCRIPTION: Two small natural islands that contain significant colonial waterbird colonies.
OWNERSHIP: unknown; possibly State of Florida.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, estuarine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORY: significant populations of Special Concern species; significant natural habitats.
BIRD DATA: Supports two of the most important Brown Pelican colonies along the Atlantic coast, as well
as significant numbers of wading birds. The Port Orange colony and adjacent islands support
significant numbers of American Oystercatchers.
New Smyrna Colony
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis

DATES
20002001
20002001
20002001
20002001

NUMBERS
mean of 263 pairs
mean of 40 pairs
mean of 43 pairs
mean of 142 pairs

STATUS
3%; (B)
(B)
(B)
<1%; (B)

DATES
19992001
19992001
20002001

NUMBERS
mean of 546 pairs
mean of 73 pairs
mean of 8 pairs

STATUS
6% (B)
(B)
+ adjacent bars and
islands; 2% (B)

Port Orange Colony


SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret
American Oystercatcher

Data from Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: human disturbance, discarded monofilament fishing line, erosion.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The islands are not posted against human intrusion; the severity of human
disturbance is not known. Monofilament fishing line should be removed periodically. There is
minor threat of erosion to the s. end of the New Smyrna colony.
NOMINATED BY: Ann and Rich Paul (Audubon).

73. WEKIVAOCALA GREENWAY


Royal Trails development (3500 ac; 1416 ha) and WekivaOcala Greenway CARLFF Project
(68,904 ac [27,885 ha], with 25,812 ac [15,060 ha] acquired as Seminole State Forest)
Lake and Volusia counties
72,000 ac (29,138 ha), with 37,215 ac [15,060 ha] acquired

LOCATION: Between Ocala National Forest and the Wekiva River in e. Lake County and w. Volusia
County. Contiguous with the Ocala National ForestLake George IBA to the north and the Wekiva
Basin GEOpark IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: The critical link between two regionally significant conservations lands. Most of this IBA
is part of the WekivaOcala Greenway CARLFF Project, which was initiated in 1992. The Royal
Trails development, which is mostly undeveloped and not sought for public acquisition, supported
dozens of Florida Scrub-Jay groups in 1993, and adjacent areas were estimated to contain dozens of
additional groups. State acquisition efforts have protected more than 37,000 ac (14,973 ha) of the

156

CARLFF Project, much of it scrub. Privately owned acreage is added to Seminole State Forest as
acquired publicly.
OWNERSHIP: DOF (Seminole State Forest) and private owners (Royal Trails and remaining acreage of
the WekivaOcala Greenway CARLFF Project).
HABITATS: *pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *sand pine scrub, fields, non-native pasture, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *private property (proposed for development), recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a regionally significant population of Florida Scrub-Jays.
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
AprMay 1993
Aug and Nov 1997

NUMBERS
30 groups + dozens of
others predicted
3 groups

STATUS
nearly 1% (R); Royal Trails area only
<1% (R); Seminole State Forest

Data from Pranty (1996a) and Blanchard et al. (1999).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Helps protect a regional population of black bears.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Royal Trails: State acquisition efforts have targeted nearly 70,000 ac (28,000
ha) in the region, but have excluded Royal Trails a large, mostly undeveloped subdivision. Most of
Royal Trails and properties to the north burned in 1989, and the area was prime oak scrub within a
few years. More than 100 Florida Scrub-Jays were estimated to occur in the n. portion of Royal Trails
and properties to the north, and this number may have been a substantial underestimate. (Current
numbers probably are much lower in the absence of habitat management). The Florida Scrub-Jay
population at Seminole State Forest has declined precipitously due to habitat succession
(Blanchard et al. 1999). The forest contains 4900 ac (1983 ha) of scrub, and therefore could support
well more than 100 groups of scrub-jays, but only three groups were found in 1999 (Blanchard et al.
1999). One of the sites recently acquired as part of Seminole State Forest was a site along the south
side of SR-42. In 1993, six Florida Scrub-Jay groups were found in a small part of this site, in a 0.5mi (0.8-km) stretch of SR-42 and Fullerville Road (Lake County #36 in Pranty 1996a). Between May
1993, when the site was surveyed, and December 1998, when the site was acquired by the state, the
property was cleared and converted to pasture. This (probably non-permitted) clearing of scrub
occupied by Florida Scrub-Jays clearly demonstrates the extreme risk that development poses to both
scrub and scrub-jays.
Unless habitats in much of the area have been destroyed since 1993, the feasibility of adding to the
WekivaOcala Greenway CARLFF Project significant areas of Royal Trails and adjacent lands to
the north should be investigated. Habitat restoration to supports a significant population of Florida
Scrub-Jays needs to be the primary management priority for Seminole State Forest.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).

74. WEKIWA BASIN GEOPARK


Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park (17,517 ac; 7089 ha), Rock Springs Run State Reserve
(13,993 ac; 5662 ha), and Wekiwa Springs State Park (7940 ac; 3213 ha)
Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties
39,450 ac (15,965 ha)

157

LOCATION: South of State Road 44 in e. Lake County, w. Volusia County, and n. Orange County.
Contiguous with the WekivaOcala Greenway IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: A large natural area essential for preservation of the local black bear population. Together
with the WekivaOcala Greenway IBA, it forms a critical link to the Ocala National ForestLake
George IBA to the north. The GEOpark receives 300,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *floodplain swamp, *riverine, sandhills,
xeric oak scrub, sand pine scrub, non-native pasture, bayhead, freshwater marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, hunting (Rock Springs Run State Reserve).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Watch List species; significant numbers and richness of
Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports populations of pine flatwoods and sandhills species. Forests are used by a large
number of Neotropical migrant species. More than 14,000 birds were banded at a MAPS (Monitoring
Avian Productivity and Survival) station between 1995 and 2000.
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Vireos
Thrushes
Wood-warblers
Bachmans Sparrow
Landbirds
Native richness

DATES
spring 1995
fall 1995 to fall 2000
fall 1995 to fall 2000
fall 1995 to fall 2000
spring 1998
fall 1995 to fall 2000
1998 checklist, updated

NUMBERS
87 pairs
800 birds of 6 species banded
1000 birds of 6 species banded
5200 birds of 33 species banded
50 singing males
14,141 birds of 101 species banded
220 species

STATUS
1% (B)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(R)
mostly (M)

Data from Parks Small (DEP).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Contains 19 natural communities that support 50 listed plants and animals, including two
species of snails that are endemic to Wekiwa Springs State Park: Wekiwa hydrobe (Aphaostracon
monas) and Wekiwa siltsnail (Cincinnatia wekiwae). The snails have not been surveyed since the
1970s. Some plants in the park are more closely related to habitats in the Appalachian Mountains
than to those in cen. Florida. Black bears occur on all three properties, and preservation of this
population was the primary reason for the WekivaOcala Greenway CARLFF Project. A recent
radio-monitoring study documented that the Wekiva Basin contains the highest density of bears in
the stateand also the greatest number of road-kills. This situation will worsen when highways such
as State Road 46 are widened. More than 25 American Indian middens have been documented. A
cemetery at the former town of Markham, dating from the late 1800s, also is onsite. In 2000, the
Wekiva River and its tributaries were designated a National Wild and Scenic River, one of only two
rivers in Florida so designated, and the only river in the state designated in its entirety. Wekiwa
Springs discharges 40 million gal (151 million l) of water per day and is a second-magnitude spring.
THREATS: *offsite development, *altered hydrology, human disturbance, exotic plants, habitat
succession, cowbird brood parasitism, feral hogs, feral dogs, feral cats.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: A prescribed burning program has been very successful at restoring and
maintaining habitats, but increased acreage needing burning and a shortage of trained staff are
increasing problems. Sandhills are burned every 15 years, hydric flatwoods every 26 years, mesic
flatwoods every 38 years, and sand pine scrub every 30 years. Cypresses along the creeks and
rivers logged in the early 20th century have not regenerated; replanting in selected areas is being
considered. Water quality is good, and is monitored quarterly to assess any impacts from off-site
development. Development has reduced water quantity at Rock Springs Run State Reserve from 19

158

ft3 (0.7 m3) per second in 1969 to 13 ft3 (0.48 m3) per second in 1982. Habitats that previously were
floodplain forest have changed to hydric hammock, and some wetlands are now dry most of the year.
Development has severely impacted Lake Prevatt, which now receives much more water than
historically, and none of this is treated prior to release. Exotic plants are a problem in some areas,
especially wild taro along Rock Springs Run, air-potato throughout, and camphortree at Rock Springs
Run State Reserve. A recent effort to remove feral hogs was quite successful. Feral cats and feral
dogs should be removed immediately. Burrowing Owls are rare within the GEOpark but are found
nearby. Owls produced by captive (rehabilitated) pairs are released 10 mi (16 km) to the west. Rock
Springs Run State Reserve contains extensive areas of pasture, and introduction should be
considered. Other pasture areas are being restored. About 5730 ac (2318 ha) of private property
have been identified as additions to the GEOpark.
NOMINATED BY: Parks Small (DEP).

75. WILLIAM BEARDALL TOSOHATCHEE STATE RESERVE


Brevard and Orange counties
30,691 ac (12,420 ha)

LOCATION: Mostly west of the St. Johns River in e. Orange County and a small part of w. Brevard
County. Contiguous with the Upper St. Johns River Basin IBA to the north and south, and with the St.
Johns National Wildlife Refuge IBA to the east.
DESCRIPTION: A large parcel of flatwoods, hammocks, and marshes along the w. side of the St. Johns
River. Formerly a cattle ranch, the property was purchased in 1977 to protect its aquatic resources.
OWNERSHIP: DEP.
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *cypress swamp, *tidal marsh, *riverine,
bayhead, cattail marsh, sawgrass marsh, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and Special Concern species; significant
numbers of wading birds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports large numbers of foraging wading birds, and species of slash pine flatwoods.
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers formerly occurred, and reintroduction may be an option.
SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Wading birds
Crested Caracara
Black Skimmer
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Summer Tanager
Native richness

DATES
Jun 1996
Apr 1999
Mar 1996
Aug 1996
Feb 1996
Feb 1996
annual
May 1996
Mar 1979
Apr 1996
undated list

NUMBERS
291 birds
199 birds
222 birds
162 birds
2823 birds
3506 birds
12 pairs
107 birds
1 bird
22 birds
182 species

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
1% (R)
(NB)
Extirpated; last known report
(B)

Data from surveys conducted by Tosohatchee staff and Orange Audubon members, from Shane Belson (DEP).

159

OTHER RESOURCES: Contains 15 natural communities, most significantly the St. Johns River, which
runs for 19 mi (30 km) along its e. boundary, and the Tootoosahatchee, Jim, and Taylor creek systems
that cross the reserve and empty into the river.
THREATS: development, human disturbance, exotic plants, cowbird brood parasitism.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The management goal is to restore and maintain habitats in their original
condition, primarily via prescribed fire. Since public acquisition, 14 mi (22 km) of canals have been
filled, and 6000 ac (2428 ha) of pasture have been restored to wetlands. Exotic plants are controlled
as needed.
NOMINATED BY: Shane Belson (DEP).

76. WITHLACOOCHEEPANASOFFKEEBIG SCRUB


Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area (11,000 ac; 4451 ha), Flying Eagle
SOR site (11,410 ac; 4617 ha), Half Moon Wildlife Management Area (9520 ac; 3852 ha),
Hlpata Tastanaki Preserve (8148 ac; 3297 ha), Jumper Creek Tract of Withlacoochee State
Forest (10,068 ac; 4047 ha), Lake Panasoffkee SOR Tract (10,340 ac; 4184 ha), Panasoffkee
Outlet SOR Tract (800 ac; 323 ha), Potts Preserve (9341 ac; 3780 ha), Ross Prairie State Forest
(3521 ac [1424 ha] acquired), and the Two-Mile Prairie Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest
(157,479 total 2980 ac; 1206 ha). Sites sought for public acquisition are Gum Slough SOR project
(16,000 ac [6475 ha], with 9843 ac [3983 ha] acquired, mostly via perpetual conservation easement)
and the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem CARLFF Project (7919 ac [3204 ha] remaining; acreage will be
added to Ross Prairie State Forest).
Citrus, Marion, and Sumter counties
101,047 ac (40,893 ha), including 77,128 ac (31,213 ha) acquired or protected via perpetual conservation
easement

LOCATION: Mostly along the Withlacoochee River in e. Citrus County, sw. Marion County, and nw.
Sumter County. Lake Panasoffkee Preserve, a few miles (km) to the east, protects the e. shoreline of
Lake Panasoffkee. Near the Withlacoochee State Forest IBA to the west.
DESCRIPTION: An eclectic mix of several existing or proposed conservation areas combined to create an
IBA for the Florida Scrub-Jay. Limited information is available. Visitation is 1000 recreationists for
Hlpata Tastanaki Preserve and 100 recreationists and 50 hunters for Ross Prairie State Forest.
OWNERSHIP: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USFS, and Florida Office of Greenways and Trails (Cross
Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area), DOF (Ross Prairie State Forest and
Withlacoochee State Forest), FWC (Half Moon Wildlife Management Area), Southwest Florida
WMD (Flying Eagle SOR Tract, Gum Slough, Hlpata Tastanaki Preserve, Lake Panasoffkee
Preserve, Panasoffkee Outlet SOR Tract, Potts Preserve, and Two-Mile Prairie State Forest), and
private owners (remaining acreage of the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem CARLFF Project and the Gum
Slough SOR Project).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *freshwater marsh, *riverine, pine plantation, sandhills, temperate
hammock, xeric oak scrub, sand pine scrub, fields, non-native pasture, cypress swamp, hardwood
swamp, cattail marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *hunting, *timber production, recreation, cattle grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant population of Florida Scrub-Jays. Not much else is known about
avian use of the sites, as most are recent state acquisitions.
SPECIES

DATES

NUMBERS

STATUS

160

Swallow-tailed Kite
Florida Scrub-Jay

Jul 1999
19921993, 2000

140 birds
~67 groups

9% (NB)
1% (R)

Kite data by Tim Breen (FWC) from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute), scrub-jay data from
Pranty (1996a), Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD), and Gary Beecham (DOF).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Protects more than 25 mi (40 km) along the Withlacoochee River (mostly the e. shore), and
much of Lake Tsala Apopka, an expansive wetland system.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, *human disturbance, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Most of the oak scrub on these sites is overgrown, and probably is negatively
impacting the Florida Scrub-Jay population. At Half Moon Wildlife Management Area, 17 groups
were found in 1992 (Jester and Sermons 1992, Pranty 1996a), but only 10 remained by 2002. The
scrub-jays at Half Moon are color-banded and under study. Similarly, at Potts Preserve, scrub-jays
declined to only a single group in 2002, despite extensive habitat management. At Hlpata Tastanaki
Preserve, on the other hand, the number of scrub-jay groups has increased from one group in 1996 to
10 groups estimated in 2002, as previously clearcut longleaf pineturkey oak sandhill and semi-native
pastures succeed to oak scrub. Frequent fire and mechanical treatments maintain and increase scrubjay habitats. Airboat operators have caused damage to portions of Potts Preserve, and have even
removed boardwalks and bridges of the Florida Trail.
NOMINATED BY: Nancy Dwyer (FWC) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Robin Boughton (DOF) and Mary Barnwell (Southwest Florida WMD).

77. WITHLACOOCHEE STATE FOREST (Citrus and Croom tracts)


Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties
64,072 ac (25,929 ha) in these two tracts; 157,479 total ac (59,852 ha) in the Forest

LOCATION: North and east of Brooksville in s-cen. Citrus County, n. and e. Hernando County, and w.
Sumter County. Near the Green Swamp Ecosystem IBA to the east.
DESCRIPTION: Three of seven primary units of Withlacoochee State Forest, mostly separated by private
lands and development. All primary tracts are part of IBAs (see below). Acquisition began in 1936.
All tracts receive a total of 300,000 recreationists and several thousand hunters annually.
OWNERSHIP: DOF.
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *sandhills, pine plantation, xeric oak scrub, sand pine scrub, dry
prairie, non-native pasture, hardwood swamp, freshwater marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *timber production, conservation, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and Watch List species; complete avian
richness of longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports a significant population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and contains all species
of longleaf pine flatwoods and sandhills.
SPECIES
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Bachmans Sparrow
Data from Vince Morris (DOF).

DATES
2000
2000
2000

NUMBERS
46 clusters, 29 nests
common
common

STATUS
3% (R)
(R)
(R)

161

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Other upland animals include pine snake and Shermans fox squirrel. The forest protects
one of the largest patches of sandhills in Florida. Historic cemeteries are present.
THREATS: *habitat succession, exotic plants, feral hogs, offsite development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Prescribed fire frequency is insufficient for maintaining pine flatwoods in an
open condition. The Suncoast Parkway bisects the forest, which may prevent or hamper movement
of some species (e.g., black bears). There is potential for contradictory management goals (e.g.,
timber production vs. wildlife habitat).
NOMINATED BY: Vince Morris (DOF).
The Homosassa Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest is part of the ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee IBA,
the Richloam Tract is part of the Green Swamp IBA, and the Jumper Creek and Two-Mile Prairie
tracts are part of the WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig Scrub IBA.

162

SOUTHERN PENINSULA

78. ABC Islands not on map


79. BabcockWebb Ecosystem
80. Big Cypress Swamp Watershed
81. Big Marco Pass Shoal not on map
82. Biscayne Bay
83. Cayo CostaPine Island
84. Corkscrew Swamp Watershed
85. Everglades National park
86. Fisheating Creek Watershed
87. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife
Refuge

88. Lake Okeechobee


89. Little Estero lagoon not on map
90. Loxahatchee River and Slough
91. Northern Everglades
92. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research
Reserve
93. Sanibel Lighthouse Park
94. Southern Atlantic Migrant Stopover
95. Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife
Refuge

163

78. ABC ISLANDS


Collier County
5 ac (2 ha)

LOCATION: Near Marco Island in sw. Collier County.


DESCRIPTION: Three small mangrove islands designated by FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida.
HABITAT: *mangrove forest.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species; significant
numbers of wading birds; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant breeding populations of Brown Pelicans and wading birds, and a roost
for Magnificent Frigatebirds and wading birds. Between 1974 and 1997, Ted Below conducted 705
island roost counts, and continues to monitor the rookery.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wading birds
Long-term research

DATES
19831998
19791998
19831998
19831998
19791998
3 Jun 1999
19791998
19791998
19791998
19831998
19741997

NUMBERS
mean of 344 nests
mean of 245 birds
mean of 122 nests
mean of 218 nests
mean of 853 birds
342 nests
mean of 6202 birds
mean of 183 birds
mean of 8710 birds
mean of 1081 nests

STATUS
4% (B)
5% (NB)
1% (B)
(B)
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(B)
705 surveys

Data from Ted Below (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *human disturbance, * discarded monofilament fishing line.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Disturbance from boaters and fishermen is severe. Operators of tour boats,
including 30-passenger airboats, disturb the birds in order to give a good show; airboats have
actually blown into the rookery to cause the birds to take flight. Fishermen anchor near shore and
often leave monofilament fishing line in the mangroves.
NOMINATED BY: Ted Below (Audubon).

79. BABCOCKWEBB ECOSYSTEM


Fred C. BabcockCecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area (69,727 ac; 28,218 ha), Babcock Ranch
FF Project (91,361 ac; 36,973 ha, unacquired), Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods CARLFF Project
(8020 ac; 3245 ha remaining), Hall Ranch CARLFF Project (6484 ac; 2624 ha, unacquired)
Charlotte and Lee counties
175,592 ac (71,062 ha), with 69,727 ac (28,218 ha) acquired

164

LOCATION: Primarily east of Punta Gorda in cen. and e. Charlotte County and nw. Lee County.
DESCRIPTION: The largest contiguous area of flatwoods, prairies, and wetlands remaining in sw. Florida,
the second fastest-growing region in the United States. The core area is state-owned land, but huge
areas of ranchland are proposed for protection. During World War II, 8720 ac (3528 ha) of the
wildlife management area and 5000 ac (2023 ha) of private lands were leased to the War Department
to establish the Fort Myers Bombing and Gunnery Range. Information for this IBA is mostly limited
to Fred C. BabcockCecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area. Babcock Ranch is a huge private
ranch adjacent to the wildlife management area to the east.
OWNERSHIP: FWC (Fred C. BabcockCecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area) and private owners
(remaining acreage of the Babcock Ranch, Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods, and Hall Ranch CARLFF
projects).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, temperate hammock, dry prairie, fields, freshwater marsh, cattail
marsh, lacustrine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *hunting, *potential development, *grazing, ecotourism, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and Watch List species; complete
avian richness of slash pine flatwoods species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed
Nuthatches, Bachmans Sparrows, and other flatwoods species. Babcock Ranch supports populations
of Swallow-tailed Kites, Short-tailed Hawks, Crested Caracaras, Florida Sandhill Cranes, Redcockaded Woodpeckers, and Florida Scrub-Jays (DEP 2002).
Fred C. BabcockCecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Florida Sandhill Crane
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Bachmans Sparrow

DATES
winter 19992000
2000
1999
1999
1999

NUMBERS
125 birds
40 pairs
27 clusters
2000 birds estimated
500 pairs estimated

STATUS
1% (NB)
2% (B)
2% (R)
(R)
(R)

Red-cockaded Woodpecker data from USFWS (2000), all other data from Mike Webber (FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods CARLFF Project has acquired much (11,341 of 19,361 ac;
4589 of 7835 ha) of the old-growth flatwoods lying just southwest of Fred C. BabcockCecil M.
Webb Management Area. This acreage, now called the Yucca Pens Unit, contains a population of the
globally-imperiled pretty false pawpaw (Deeringothamnus rugelli var. pulchellus).
Florida
panthers and black bears are known to use the area.
THREATS: *development.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: If purchased, Babcock Ranch would create a huge, protected area in sw. Florida
from Charlotte Harbor to Lake Okeechobee, a distance of more than 60 mi (96 km). The wildlife
management area is managed for populations of Northern Bobwhites and other game species. Water
levels are controlled and exotic vegetation is removed. Prescribed fires are used to maintain pine
flatwoods in an open condition to support Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and other fire-dependant
species. The area used as a bombing range still contains several hundred bomb craters, and may
contain unexploded ordnance.
Virtually this entire IBA is Priority One habitat for the Florida panther, and efforts to publicly acquire
privately owned properties should be accelerated.
NOMINATED BY: Charlie Ewell (FOS) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).

165

2010 UPDATE: In 2006, the State of Florida purchased 73,541 ac (29,760 ha) of Babcock Ranch for $350
million; it is now known as Babcock Ranch Preserve. The remaining 17,814 ac (7209 ha) were
retained by the owners and will be developed into a city purportedly to be run entirely by solar power.

80. BIG CYPRESS SWAMP WATERSHED


Big Cypress National Preserve (729,000 ac; 295,026 ha), CollierSeminole State Park (7279 ac; 2604
ha), Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park (69,088 ac; 27,959 ha), Florida Panther National
Wildlife Refuge (26,000 ac; 10,522 ha), and Picayune Strand State Forest (69,975 ac; 6448 ha).
Adjacent private lands are sought for acquisition under the Belle Meade CARLFF Project (9407 ac
[3807 ha] remaining), Fakahatchee Strand CARLFF Project (17,398 ac [7040 ha] remaining),
and Save Our Everglades CARLFF Project (35,139 ac [14,220 ha] remaining)
Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties
908,403 ac (367,630 ha), with 846,459 ac (342,561 ha) acquired

LOCATION: All of e. Collier County, nw. Miami-Dade County, and ne. Monroe County. Contiguous with
the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve IBA and the Ten Thousand Islands National
Wildlife Refuge IBA to the south, and the Everglades National Park IBA to the southeast.
DESCRIPTION: A vast and extremely diverse area northwest of, and contiguous with, Everglades National
Park, essential for the preservation of the Florida panther and numerous other species. Florida Panther
National Wildlife Refuge is closed to hunting and most visitor use. Annual visitation to Big Cypress
National Preserve is 500,000 recreationists and 15,000 hunters, and 65,000 recreationists to Collier
Seminole State Park. Only Big Cypress National Preserve was formally nominated.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge), USNPS (Big Cypress National
Preserve), DOF (Picayune Strand State Forest), DEP (CollierSeminole State Park and Fakahatchee
Strand Preserve State Park), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Belle Meade, Fakahatchee
Strand, and Save Our Everglades CARLFF projects).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp,
*freshwater marsh, tropical hammock, mangrove forest, cattail marsh, tidal marsh, riverine,
lacustrine, estuary, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, hunting, oil production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Special Concern, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; significant numbers of wading birds; complete avian richness of slash pine flatwoods;
significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve support the entire world
population of Cape Sable Seaside Sparrows. Sparrow numbers at the preserve have been reduced to
perhaps 10% of their numbers in the early 1980s. The preserve also supports the fourth largest Redcockaded Woodpecker population in Florida, and the population at Picayune Strand State Forest is
being restored. The preserve served as the donor population for the recent reintroduction of Brownheaded Nuthatches into Everglades National Park.
Big Cypress National Preserve
SPECIES
Least Bittern
Great Egret
White Ibis
Wood Stork

DATES
annual
May 1996
annual
May 1996

NUMBERS
common
200 nests
400 birds
500 nests

STATUS
(R)
1% (B)
(NB)
9% (B)

166

Swallow-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Limpkin
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

Long-term research
Native richness

annual
May 1993
19921994
resident
2002
resident
1992
1993, 19952001
since 1979
2002 list

100 pairs
1 nest
mean of 34
birds
common
50 clusters
common
2608 birds
mean of 312
birds

16% (B)
>1% (B)
3% (R)
(R)
4% (R)
39% (R)
9% (R)
Red-cockaded Woodpecker demography

177 species

Snail Kite data from Anonymous (1999); checklist data from Pumilio et al. (1997); all other data from Deborah
Jansen (USNPS). See also USFWS (2000).
Picayune Strand State Forest
SPECIES
Red-cockaded Woodpecker

DATES
2000

NUMBERS
4 males (3 females released)

STATUS
<1% currently (R)

Data from Shoun (2000).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. It provides critical habitat for the Florida panther, supporting one-third of the remaining
population. Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the largest conservation areas in Florida and
contains a great diversity of habitats. It contains significant Calusa, Miccosukee, and Seminole Indian
cultural sites. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is the largest unit in the state park system.
It contains the largest stand of the Endangered Florida royal palm (Roystonea regia), and supports
the greatest richness of orchids in North America. Picayune Strand State Forest contains hundreds
of ac (and ha) of old-growth (100300 year-old) slash pine flatwoods.
THREATS: *human disturbance (Off-Road Vehicles), *exotic plants, *altered hydrology, *feral hogs,
habitat succession.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Big Cypress National Preserve: In the early 1970s, an international airport
and massive city were planned for Big Cypress Swamp, but this plan was scrapped when it was
documented that the development would destroy Everglades National Park. Big Cypress Swamp later
was protected by the Federal Government, but a runway 3 mi (4.8 km) in length already had been
constructed. This DadeCollier Jetport continues to be used by airline pilots for practicing take-offs
and landings; it is not part of the national preserve. Altered quality and quantity of water flow has
affected natural communities. In 2001, the Bush Administration attempted to greatly expand oil and
gas extraction, but then under pressure from environmentalists proposed buying back all mineral
rights, at a cost of $120 million. Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use has damaged large portions of the
preserve; an estimated 23,000 mi (36,800 km) of trails exist. An ORV management plan will limit
ORVs to a maximum of 400 mi (640 km) of existing trails. An active program to control exotic
plants is underway. Prescribed fires are used to restore and maintain fire-dependent communities.
Picayune Strand State Forest contained only four Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (all males) in 2000.
Three females from Apalachicola National Forest were released to rejuvenate the population. Based
on the amount of old-growth habitat available, 2530 woodpecker clusters may eventually be
established.
NOMINATED BY: Deborah Jansen (Big Cypress National Preserve) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: CollierSeminole State Park biologist (DEP).

167

81. BIG MARCO PASS SHOAL


Collier County
3 ac (1.2 ha)

LOCATION: Marco Island in sw. Collier County.


DESCRIPTION: Sandflats about 0.6 mi (1 km) in length along the nw. shore of Marco Island. The island is
a former mangrove forest converted to a 2000-ac (800-ha) residential development beginning in the
1960s. Big Marco Pass Shoal is designated by FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area. This site is also
known as Tigertail Beach.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida (sovereign lands).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, estuarine.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and Watch List
species; significant numbers of shorebirds and larids; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Critically important for wintering Piping Plovers, other shorebirds, and breeding and
roosting larids. It has been designated by USFWS as critical wintering habitat for Piping Plovers. Ted
Below conducted 798 twice-weekly shorebird and larid surveys of Marco Island, 19922002..
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
Red Knot
Shorebirds
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern

DATES
1972present
JanFeb 2001
19741999
JanFeb 2001
1999 surveys
1999 surveys
1999 surveys
1999 surveys

NUMBERS
mean of 3 nests
17 birds
mean of 15 nests
41 birds
mean of 103 birds
mean of 2000 birds
mean of 404 birds
mean of 517 birds

Black Skimmer
Long-term research

summer 1999
19922002

567 nests

STATUS
1% (B)
4% (W)
7% (B)
8% (W)
(W)
(W)
(NB)
(NB); total of 3816 birds is
by far the record count
35% (B)
798 surveys

Data from Ted Below (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: *development, *human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Beach use is heavy, but mostly is limited to the inner beach. The outer beach
and flats most used by shorebirds are seldom visited by humans.
NOMINATED BY: Ted Below (Audubon).

82. BISCAYNE BAY


Bird Key (1 acre; 0.4 ha), Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park (412 ac; 166 ha), Biscayne National
Park (172,924 ac [69,982 ha], with 9100 ac [3683 ha] of uplands), The Deering Estate at Cutler
(440 ac; 178 ha), and Matheson Hammock Park (629 ac; 254 ha)
Miami-Dade County
174,406 ac (70,582 ha), with about 9982 ac (4039 ha) of uplands

168

LOCATION: Along the coast in e. Miami-Dade County. Bird Key is located in Biscayne Bay near the
Intracoastal Waterway. Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park comprises the s. end of Key Biscayne.
Biscayne National Park occupies a substantial portion of the coast between Kendall and Turkey
Point. About 95% consists of waters of Biscayne Bay. The Deering Estate at Cutler is adjacent to
the n. mainland boundary of Biscayne National Park. It also includes Chicken Key, about 0.8 mi (1.3
km) offshore. Matheson Hammock Park is on the mainland bordering Biscayne Bay. Nearly
adjacent to the Florida Keys Ecosystem IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: Several publicly owned sites along and inside Biscayne Bay, one of the dominant coastal
features of se. Florida. Uplands in the n. part are heavily developed, while those farther south are
mostly undeveloped. Barrier islands in s. Biscayne Bay are protected within the national park. Bird
Key is a small mangrove key in the n. part of Biscayne Bay, within the Flight Control Area of Miami
International Airport. Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park is being replanted largely with native
species to restore six natural communities. It receives 900,000 recreationists annually. Biscayne
National Park includes a narrow fringe along the mainland, along with 44 keys that form a northsouth chain about 18 mi (29 km) in length. These keys include the northernmost Florida Keys and are
generally in pristine condition. The largest keys are Old Rhodes Key (adjacent to Upper Key Largo)
and Elliott Key, which is more than 7 mi (11.2 km) in length. The national park boundary extends
offshore 1014 mi (1622.4 km). It receives 500,000 recreationists annually, of which about 85% are
boaters. The Deering Estate at Cutler is an environmental educational facility. Matheson
Hammock Park is a county park.
OWNERSHIP: USNPS (Biscayne National Park), DEP (Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park), State of
Florida and Miami-Dade County (The Deering Estate at Cutler, managed by Miami-Dade County
Park and Recreation Department and assisted by the Deering Estate Foundation), Miami-Dade
County Parks and Recreation Department (Matheson Hammock Park), private owners (Bird Key).
HABITATS: *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, *open water, *coastal strand, pine rocklands,
estuarine, lacustrine, tidal marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, historic preservation, environmental education.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species;
significant numbers of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Bird Key supports a colonial waterbird rookery and a Magnificent Frigatebird roost. Bill
BaggsCape Florida State Park, Biscayne National Park, and The Deering Estate support
numbers of Neotropical migrants, especially after storms. Overall native richness is 240 species.
Bird Key
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
White Ibis

DATES
1999
1999
1999

NUMBERS
125 pairs
50 birds
500 pairs

STATUS
1% (B)
1% (NB)
2% (B)

Data from Harry Kelton (Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, Inc.).


Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park
SPECIES
Wilsons Plover
Least Tern
Wood-warblers

DATES
13 Aug 2000
7 Aug 1997
1 May 1999

NUMBERS
23 birds
205 birds
1000s of birds

30 Apr 2000

4000 birds

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
mostly Blackpoll and Blackthroated Blue warblers
mostly Black-throated Blue,
Blackpoll, and Cape May warblers,

169

American Redstarts, and Common


Yellowthroats
Native richness

19942001

173 species

Plover data from Robin Diaz, tern data from Elizabeth Golden (DEP), wood-warbler observations by John Boyd,
published in Florida Field Naturalist.
Biscayne National Park
SPECIES
Wading birds
Semipalmated Plover
Shorebirds
Native richness

DATES
23 Dec 1979
17 Dec 1991
17 Dec 1991
Sep 1999 list

NUMBERS
580 birds
212 birds
1094 birds
223 species

STATUS
(NB)
(W)
(W)

December data from Biscayne N.P. CBCs; richness data from the bird checklist.
Deering Estate at Cutler
SPECIES
Native richness

DATES
2002 list

NUMBERS
128 species

STATUS

Checklist from Ernest Lent (Deering Estate at Cutler).

OTHER RESOURCES: Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park contains 16 listed plants and six other
Endangered animals: Schaus swallowtail (Papilio aristodemus), American crocodile (Crocodylus
acutus), green turtle, hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle, and Florida manatee. The Cape Florida
Lighthouse was built in 1846. Biscayne National Park protects the northernmost coral reef in North
America. It preserves 14 continuous mi (22.4 km) of mangrove shoreline, the greatest extent
remaining along the Atlantic coast. The Deering Estate at Cutler preserves several historically
significant buildings, including Charles Deerings Stone House built in 1922. The Richmond
House, built in 1896, is one of the few examples of early frame vernacular architecture remaining in
s. Florida. Human remains date back 10,000 years to the Paleo-Indians; Tequesta Indians occupied
the site later, from 2000 YBP to the late 1700s. The estate preserves more than a mile (1.6 km) of
mangrove and marsh habitats, and supports five Endangered plants.
THREATS: *offsite development, *proposed development, human disturbance, exotic plants, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Bird Key: The landowner has permitted FWC to close the island to protect the
rookery. Bill BaggsCape Florida State Park: Since Hurricane Andrew destroyed most of the
(predominantly exotic) vegetation in 1992, staff have been replanting with native species. Exotic
plants are controlled as needed. Biscayne National Park: Exotic plants are controlled. The
Arsenicker Keys in the s. portion are closed year-round to protect wading bird rookeries. The
Deering Estate at Cutler: Exotic plants are controlled as needed.
NOMINATED BY: Elizabeth Golden (DEP), Harry Kelton (Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, Inc.), and Bill
Pranty and Mark Kraus (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: John Boyd (Tropical Audubon), Alicie Warren-Bradley and Ernest Lent (Deering Estate
at Cutler), and Toby Obenauer (National Park Service).

83. CAYO COSTAPINE ISLAND


Cayo Costa State Park (602 ac [243 ha] of uplands) and Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge (2412
ac; 964 ha)

170

Lee County
3014 ac (1207 ha) of uplands

LOCATION: Barrier islands and keys within Pine Island Sound in nw. Lee County. Near the J.N. Ding
Darling National Wildlife Refuge IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: The state park includes all of Punta Blanca Island and portions of Cayo Costa Island and
North Captiva Island. The park is accessible only by private boat. The refuge consists of 17 keys
between Cayo Costa and Pine Island. Four of the islands (Broken Island, Hemp Key, Pine Island Bird
Key, and Useppa Bird Key) support or have supported colonial waterbird colonies. Most information
for this IBA refers to Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge), DEP (Cayo Costa State Park), and private
owners (Hemp Key).
HABITATS: *coastal strand, *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, estuarine.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, private owners (Hemp Key).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and Special Concern species; significant
numbers of breeding wading birds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Cayo Costa State Park has supported significant populations of Snowy Plovers, while
some keys within Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge support significant breeding populations of
colonial waterbirds.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
White Ibis
Wading birds
Snowy Plover
Least Tern
American Oystercatcher

DATES
20 Jun 1996
29 Jun 1996
29 Jun 1996
29 Jun 1996
29 Jun 1996
29 Jun 1996
20 Jun 1996
1989
1989
1989

NUMBERS
682 pairs
138 pairs
96 pairs
266 pairs
13 pairs
520 pairs
1779 pairs
5 pairs
large colony
1 pair

STATUS
7% (R)
(R)
1% (R)
(R)
3% (R)
3% (R)
(B)
2% (B)
? (B)
<1% (B)

Wading bird data from Rich Paul (Audubon), shorebird data from Gore and Chase (1989).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Hemp Key contains an American Indian mound.
THREATS: discarded monofilament fishing line, raccoons.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Except for Hemp Key, all current rookery islands are posted against human
intrusion. Monofilament fishing line and raccoons should be removed as necessary.
NOMINATED BY: Rich Paul and Bill Pranty (Audubon).

84. CORKSCREW SWAMP WATERSHED


Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (10,895 ac; 4409 ha) and Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed
[CREW] CARLFF Project (61,568 ac [24,916 ha], including 21,493 ac [8698 ha] acquired as
CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area)
Collier and Lee counties
72,463 ac (29,325 ha), with 32,388 ac (13,107 ha) acquired

171

LOCATION: South of County Road 850 in se. Lee County and nw. Collier County. Contiguous with the
Big Cypress Swamp Watershed IBA to the south.
DESCRIPTION: One of the most significant natural areas in Florida, containing the largest virgin cypress
swamp remaining in North America. The CREW Project seeks to purchase surrounding habitats,
including a direct link to conservation areas to the south. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary receives
100,000 recreationists annually and contains an environmental education center attended by about
6000 schoolchildren.
OWNERSHIP: National Audubon Society (Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary), South Florida WMD (acquired
acreage of the CREW CARLFF Project), and private owners (remaining acreage of the CREW
CARLFF Project).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *cypress swamp, *sawgrass marsh, temperate hammock, agricultural
fields, freshwater marsh, lacustrine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, environmental education, recreation, hunting, grazing.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered and FCREPA species; significant numbers of
wading birds; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Contains what often is the nations largest Wood Stork rookery, which has been monitored
since 1958. The sanctuary also supports a richness of Neotropical migrants, large numbers of
wintering landbirds, and the third-largest Swallow-tailed Kite roost in the United States.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
SPECIES
Wood Stork
Swallow-tailed Kite
Wood-warbler richness
Long-term research
Native richness

DATES
19972001 seasons
27 Jul 1996
Jul 2000
undated list
since 1958
undated list

NUMBERS
mean of 478 nests
348 birds
<100 birds
34 species

STATUS
8% (B)
>20% (NB)
6% (NB)
(M)
Wood Stork monitoring

218 species

Stork data from Andrew Mackie (Audubon); kite roost data from Bensen (1992), observations of Robbie Wooster
published in Florida Field Naturalist, and from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute).
CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area
SPECIES
Wading birds
Native richness

DATES
Mar 1997
2001 list

NUMBERS
1232 birds
110 species

STATUS
(NB)

Data from Bozzo et al. (2001).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Some cypresses at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary are more than 600 years old and up to 8 ft
(2.4 m) in diameter. Florida panthers are known to occur onsite. A 2.25-mi (3.6-km) boardwalk
allows visitor access to several habitats, including wet prairie, cypress swamp, and lettuce lakes.
The sanctuary was designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1964 as a Registered Natural
History Landmark. The CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area supports six Endangered plants,
including four orchid species.
THREATS: *development, *human disturbance, *exotic plants, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: If acquisition efforts of the CREW CARLFF Project are successful,
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and adjacent lands will be linked directly with Florida Panther National

172

Wildlife Refuge, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Exotic plants and feral hogs are controlled as necessary.
NOMINATED BY: Andrew Mackie (Audubon) and Bill Pranty (Audubon).

85. EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK


Everglades National Park (1,507,850 ac; 610,226 ha), Frog PondL-31 Transition Lands portion of
the East Everglades CARLFF Project (6853 ac [2773 ha] acquired as Frog Pond Wildlife
Management Area), Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area (30,722 ac; 12,433 ha),
and the 8.5 Square-Mile Area (5440 ac; 2201 ha, some acquired).
Miami-Dade and Monroe counties
1,550,865 ac (627,635 ha), nearly all acquired

LOCATION: The s. tip of the Florida Peninsula in w. Miami-Dade County and virtually all of mainland
Monroe County. The park is roughly 43 mi (70 km) east to west and the same distance north to south,
extending into Florida Bay (including dozens of small keys). Contiguous with the Big Cypress
Swamp Watershed IBA to the north, and near the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
IBA and the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge IBA to the northwest.
DESCRIPTION: The largest conservation area in Florida, and one of the worlds best-known natural
treasures. The national park is an extremely diverse area that receives more than 1,000,000
recreationists annually, one-third from other countries. It and the entire Everglades ecosystem are
targeted for the largest habitat-restoration project in history, expected to cost $8 billion and take 30
years to complete. This IBA includes more than 40,000 ac (16,188 ha) of adjacent marshland
purchased in recent years to improve water flow to the park, and to buffer it from development.
OWNERSHIP: USNPS (Everglades National Park), South Florida WMD (Southern Glades Wildlife and
Environmental Area), FWC (Frog Pond Wildlife Management Area), and private owners (unacquired
acreage of the East Everglades CARLFF Project, and the 8.5 Square-Mile Area).
HABITATS: *sawgrass marsh, *tidal marsh, *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, *estuarine, *cypress
swamp, slash pine flatwoods, bayhead, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, riverine, lacustrine, coastal
strand, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, development (8.5 Square-Mile Area).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA
species; significant numbers of wading birds, raptors, shorebirds, and larids; exceptional richness of
colonial waterbirds, shorebirds, and wintering wood-warblers; exceptional richness; significant
natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: The most species-rich site in Florida, supporting 344 native species. Although reduced by
more than 90% of their historic numbersfrom 265,000 pairs in the 1930s to 18,500 pairs during the
early 2000swading birds remain the most conspicuous birds of the Everglades. A few of the
numerous other species with significant populations are Bald Eagles, wintering American Kestrels
and shorebirds, perhaps half of the states breeding White-crowned Pigeons, and most of the worlds
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrows. The park supports large numbers of breeding Mangrove Cuckoos
and Cuban Yellow Warblers. Wintering wood-warblers are abundant; more than 20 species are
reported annually. Along with those in the Florida Keys, hammocks in Everglades National Park
probably contains the greatest richness of wintering wood-warblers in North America.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Great White Heron
Great Egret

DATES
19972000
19972000
19972000

NUMBERS
mean of 404 pairs
mean of 121 pairs
mean of 1042 pairs

STATUS
4% (B)
13% (B)
6% (B)

173

Tricolored Heron
Roseate Spoonbill
White Ibis
Wood Stork
Wading birds
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Bald Eagle
American Kestrel
Shorebirds

White-crowned Pigeon
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow
Wintering wood-warbler richness
Native richness

19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
Dec 1997
9 Aug 2001
1970

mean of 124 pairs


mean of 40 pairs
mean of 327 pairs
mean of 519 pairs
mean of 2687 pairs
27 nests
140 birds
13 birds

Feb 2000
Feb 2000
winter 19931994

55 pairs
1000 birds
22,600 birds

1991
May 2000
Dec 2000Jan 2001

5055 nests
3500 birds
21 species
344 species

(B)
4% (B)
1% (B)
9% (B)
(B)
1% (B)
9% (NB)
6% of then-current numbers
(R)
5% (B)
(W)
Carl Ross Key (>10,000), the
Lake Ingraham (4892),
NW of Palm Key (5800),
Sandy Key (477), and
Snake Bight Channel
(1463)
59% (B)
possibly 100% (R)
(W)
Most species-rich IBA

Snail Kite data from Sykes (1983), White-crowned Pigeon data from Strong et al. (1991), 1997 wading bird data
from Bass and Oberhoffer (1997) and Browder et al. (1997), Osprey data from Browder et al. (1998), 1998 data
from Bass and Osborne (1998), 19981999 spoonbill data from Lorenz (1999), other 1999 wading bird data from
Bass and Osborne (1999) and Browder et al. (1999), 2000 wading bird data from Bass and Osborne (2000) and
Browder et al. (2000), shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997), kite data from an observation by Bryant Roberts
published in Florida Field Naturalist, wintering wood-warbler richness from the Coot BayEverglades N.P. CBC
and observations of Steve Backes and John Boyd, other data from Oron Bass, Jr. (USNPS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area.
Everglades National Park is one of the nations most valuable conservation areas,
encompassing nearly 2500 mi2 or 620 km2). It is a designated International Biosphere Preserve, a
World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Significance. Dedicated in 1947, it contains 150
mi (240 km) of shoreline, the largest stands of pine rocklands and mangrove forests remaining in
Florida, and dozens of small mangrove keys in Florida Bay. It is the only area in the world where
alligators and crocodiles co-exist.
THREATS: *exotic plants, *altered hydrology, feral hogs.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The hydrology of Everglades National Park has been disrupted for agriculture
and flood-control, which has severely impacted its wildlife and the health of Florida Bay. An $8billion, 30-year restoration project recently began, which is projected to fill in many drainage canals,
reflood marshes cut off from natural water flow, deliver more water, and acquire additional lands.
Funding will be split evenly between the Federal and State governments. It is absolutely critical to the
ecosystems and wildlifeand human residentsof s. Florida that the Everglades restoration projects
be completed. A management plan, including an intensive prescribed-burning program, is in place.
NOMINATED BY: Oron Bass, Jr. (USNPS).

86. FISHEATING CREEK WATERSHED


Fisheating Creek FF Project, with acquired acreage known as Fisheating Creek Wildlife
Management Area
Glades and Highlands counties

174

176,760 ac (71,534 ha), including 18,272 ac (7394 ha) acquired, and perpetual conservation easements
obtained on an additional 41,606 ac (16,837 ha)

LOCATION: The entire length of Fisheating Creek in n. Glades County and se. Highlands County.
Contiguous with the BabcockWebb Ecosystem IBA to the west and with the Lake Okeechobee IBA
to the east, and nearly contiguous with the Lake Wales Ridge IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: A vast area west of Lake Okeechobee that until recently was largely under a single private
ownership, roughly 26 mi (43 km) east to west. The State purchased the entire creek drainage in 1999
for $45 million, and intends to acquire perpetual conservation easements on >116,000 ac (>46,945
ha) of adjacent uplands.
OWNERSHIP: FWC (Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area) and private owners (unacquired
acreage of the Fisheating Creek FF Project, and conservation easements; monitored by FWC).
HABITATS: *longleaf pine flatwoods, *temperate hammock, *dry prairie, *cypress swamp, *riverine,
pine plantation, xeric oak scrub, non-native pasture, hardwood swamp, bayhead, freshwater marsh,
cattail marsh, lacustrine, artificial, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) plantation.
LAND USE: *conservation, *cattle grazing, recreation, hunting, timber production.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; significant numbers of
raptors; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: A Strategic Habitat Conservation Area for the Swallow-tailed Kite and Crested Caracara
(Cox et al. 1994). Contains a significant population of Florida Scrub-Jays. Within the public portion
is the largest staging area for Swallow-tailed Kites in the United States, discovered in 1986. Perhaps
3000 kites use the roost annually, representing about 60% of the North American population.
Florida Grasshopper Sparrows previously occurred, and some areas seem suitable for relocation.
These data refer only to the 41,606 ac (16,642 ha) that comprise the Phase 1 conservation easement lands; totals
for the entire property undoubtedly are higher for most species.
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite
Swallow-tailed Kite
Short-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara
Florida Sandhill Crane
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay

DATES
since 1986

NUMBERS
up to 2200 birds at once

22 Apr22 May 2000


22 Apr22 May 2000
14 May 2000
2627 Apr 2000
1420 Apr 2000
1328 Apr 2000

77 birds; 2530 nests likely


4 birds; 2 probable nest sites
7 pairs
16 nests
3 active clusters
71 groups

STATUS
up to 60% of the U.S.
population (NB)
45% (B)
1% (B)
3% (R)
1% (B)
<1% (R)
nearly 2% (R)

Kite data from Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute), all other data from Enge and Douglass
(2000). See also Millsap (1987).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. It contains large populations of three plants endemic to cen. Florida: Edisons St. Johnswort (Hypericum edisonianum), cutthroatgrass, and nodding pinweed (Lechea cernua). Fisheating
Creek is the only undammed tributary leading into Lake Okeechobee, and flows through largely
natural areas for more than 25 mi (40 km). At least 31 archaeological sites are known, including
many associated with the Fort Center Site Complex of the Belle Glades culture (3002200 YBP).
THREATS: *human disturbance, *habitat succession, exotic plants, feral hogs, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The Swallow-tailed Kite roost is off-limits to prevent disturbance and perhaps
the abandonment of the roost. Florida Scrub-Jay habitat is mostly overgrown from long-term fire
exclusion. Scrub-jay habitat, including scrubs in the easement area, should be restored as soon as
possible.
Reintroduction of Florida Grasshopper Sparrows into suitable (and if necessary,

175

restored) dry prairie habitats should be considered. Invasive exotic plants mostly are limited to the
Hoover Dike along Lake Okeechobee along the e. edge of the site. Water quality in some canals has
been reduced from agricultural runoff.
It is essential that managers of the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area prohibit airboat use
of the creek from early June to early September to protect the Swallow-tailed Kite roost from
disturbance. Airboats perhaps should be banned from the site at all times.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Ken Meyer (Avian Research and Conservation Institute).

87. J.N. DING DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Lee County
6310 ac (2553 ha)

LOCATION: Much of Sanibel Island in w. Lee County. Near the Cayo CostaPine Island IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: Several parcels, of which the largest is the Darling Tract and its famous 5-mi (8-km) long
wildlife drive. The Bailey Tract (100 ac; 40 ha) is just to the south. One of the most popular birding
spots in Florida, it receives more than 750,000 recreationists annually. Sanibel Island is connected to
the mainland by a bridge and causeway. Private portions of the island have been heavily developed.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS.
HABITATS: *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, *estuarine, tidal marsh, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern and FCREPA species; significant numbers
of wading birds and shorebirds; exceptional richness of mangrove forest species; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Most important for wading birds and shorebirds, with lesser numbers of waterfowl.
Neotropical migrants are found in the hammocks during spring and fall.
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
White Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black-necked Stilt
Short-billed Dowitcher
Shorebirds
Mangrove Cuckoo
Gray Kingbird
Black-whiskered Vireo
Florida Prairie Warbler
Native richness

DATES
19982000
7 Feb 2000
AprAug 1998
Apr 2000
15 Aug 2000
Jul 2000
Mar 2000
Mar 2000
winter 19931994
1112 Jul 2002
1112 Jul 2002
1112 Jul 2002
9 May 2000
1112 Jul 2002
1993 list

NUMBERS
mean of 456 pairs
463 birds
135 pairs
10 birds
1442 birds
66 birds
319 birds
1370 birds
1278 birds
8 birds
20 birds
26 birds
12 birds
35 birds
229 species

STATUS
4% (B)
(NB)
(B)
1% (NB)
3% (NB)
2% (NB)
(W)
(W)
(W)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
includes all of Sanibel and
Captiva islands

176

1998 data from Coppen (1998), pelican data from Coppen (1999, 2000), cuckoo data from Charlie Ewell (FOS),
wood-warbler data from Jorge Coppen (USFWS), shorebird data from Sprandel et al. (1997), 2002 data from Brian
Ahern (FOS), other data from Allison Baker (USFWS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Contains extensive acreage of tropical hammock. Other listed animals include
indigo snake, American crocodile, four species of sea turtles, and Florida manatee. A listed plant is
beautiful pawpaw. Cultural resources include Calusa Indian mounds.
THREATS: *exotic plants, discarded monofilament fishing line, runoff.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Exotic plants are kept at maintenance levels. Extensive human use is a
concern, at times disturbing wildlife. Discarded monofilament fishing line kills birds at roosting or
nesting sites. Runoff from the road surface could impact water quality.
NOMINATED BY: J. Allison Baker (USFWS).

88. LAKE OKEECHOBEE


Glades, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee, and Palm Beach counties
470,000 ac (90,209 ha), including >28,250 ac (>11,432 ha) of marshland

LOCATION: In s-cen. Florida, bordered in a clockwise direction by Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm
Beach, and Hendry counties. Contiguous with the Kissimmee Lake and River IBA to the north and
with the Fisheating Creek Watershed IBA to the west. Near the Loxahatchee River and Slough IBA to
the east.
DESCRIPTION: The fourth-largest natural lake wholly within the United States, more than 730 mi 2 (1880
km2). It formed about 6000 years ago. Lake Okeechobee is quite shallow, with its deepest portions
only 20 ft (6 m) deep. Hurricanes in the 1920s swept over the lake, causing it to overflow its banks,
killing more than 2000 people. To prevent this event from recurring, the Herbert Hoover Dike, 35 ft
(10.5 m) tall and 140 mi (224 km) in length, was built around the lake. This dike now separates the
lake from the Everglades, into which it previously drained. Extensive marshes remain inside the dike,
primarily along the lakes w. half. There is even a campground and marina complex built inside the
dike. For several decades, water levels have been manipulated for human uses, and Lake Okeechobee
now serves primarily as a reservoir. Unnatural water levels and unseasonable releases of water into
the Everglades to protect nearby agricultural lands have had devastating effects on the lake, the
Everglades, and associated wildlife. The lake receives about 2,500,000 recreationists and 60,000
waterfowl hunter-days annually.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida; 28,250 ac (11,432 ha) of marshes are designated Audubon Sanctuaries.
HABITATS: *lacustrine, *freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, and sawgrass marsh, willow heads, mudflats.
LAKE USES: *conservation, *water supply (up to 700 million gal per day; 2.6 billion l/day), *recreation,
*fishing, hunting, commercial uses (frogs, alligators, turtles, lotus seeds).
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, FCREPA, and IBA species;
significant numbers of aquatic birds, wading birds, and shorebirds; significant natural habitats; longterm research.
AVIAN DATA: One of the two most critical sites for Snail Kites in Florida, and when water levels are
favorable, important for wading birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Three Brown Pelican nests on a
spoil island in the lake in 1991, and 14 nests there in 1992, represent the first inland breeding
records in Florida (Smith and Goguen 1993).
Statewide estimates were not applied to the wading bird data because of their age, but the numbers clearly are
extremely significant. Numbers represent means of the highest monthly count per year.

177

SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wood Stork
Wading birds
Lesser Scaup
Waterfowl
American Coot
Snail Kite

Bald Eagle
Shorebirds
Black Skimmer
Long-term research
Native richness

DATES
19771981
19771981
19771981
19771981
19771981
19771981
19771981
19771981
19771981
Jul 1990
20 Apr 1999
winters of 19901991 to
20002001
19811982
winters of 19951996 to
20002001
19851994

NUMBERS
mean of 5823 birds
mean of 1352 pairs
mean of 2285 birds
mean of 315 pairs
mean of 9682 birds
mean of 1910 pairs
mean of 612 birds
mean of 80 pairs
mean of 920 birds
50,000 birds
between 7501650 pairs
mean of 70,000 birds

STATUS
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(NB)
aerial surveys (B)
(W)

11,886 birds
mean of 19,000 birds

Fisheating Bay (W)


(W)

mean of 126 birds

1996
19992000

35 nests
10 nests within 1.5 mi (2.4
km) of the lake
100010,000 birds
thousands of birds
1000 birds

22% of then-current
numbers (R)
8% (R)
nearly 1% (B); lake used
extensively for foraging

drought periods
17 Mar 2001
annually in recent years
since the 1940s

mostly yellowlegs
Jaycee Park roost (NB)
wading bird and Snail
Kite monitoring

109 species

Waterfowl data from Johnson and Montalbano (1984); wading bird data from Zaffke (1984), Smith et al. (1995),
and Julia Dodge (FWC); scaup and coot data from annual Midwinter Waterfowl Inventory of FWC, provided by
Paul Gray (Audubon); kite data from Sykes (1983), Anonymous (1999), Victoria Dreitz and Wiley Kitchens (1996
data; University of Florida), and Paul Gray (19992000 data; Audubon); eagle GIS coverage from Julia Dodge
(FWC); shorebird and skimmer data by Paul Gray (Audubon); March 2001 observation by Dave Goodwin (St.
Petersburg Audubon); checklist compiled by Paul Gray, with additions by Dave Goodwin and Bill Pranty.

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Islands along the s. portion of the lake support one of only two known populations of
Okeechobee gourd (Cucurbita okeechobeensis).
THREATS: *exotic plants, *altered hydrology, *runoff, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The lake is managed under a multiple-use concept that includes competing
objectives such as flood control, water supply, protection against salt-water intrusion at wellfields,
production of wildlife resources, recreation, and a water source for the Everglades (David 1994a).
David (1994b) provides a comparison of wading bird use of Lake Okeechobee relative to water
levels. Optimal water depth for wildlife is between 1215 ft (3.64.5 m) above mean sea level
(MSL), a level that was maintained through the 1970s. State agencies maintained extremely high
water levels (above 15 ft [4.5 m] MSL) during the late 1990s, which drowned out more than 50,000
ac (20,000 ha) of marshes and willow stands. This action virtually extirpated all wading birds,
waterfowl, and Snail Kites (e.g., Smith et al. 1995). During the drought of 2001, when Snail Kites
needed nesting and foraging habitats, the South Florida WMD pumped water out of the lake to
supply water to farmland. Agricultural runoff has resulted in large amounts of phosphorus (around
200 parts per billion) entering the lake, which has caused massive algae blooms, the spread of cattails
over preferred vegetation, increased turbidity, changes from a sand-bottom community to a mudbottom community, and other damaging impacts. A management plan has recommended a maximum

178

phosphorus level of about 40 parts per billion. Invasive exotic plants, primarily punktree and
torpedograss (Panicum repens) threaten the lakes ecology. Punktree is actively being removed.
The eradication of torpedograss, using herbicide and fire treatments, is under study. About 15,000 ac
(6000 ha) of the lakes littoral zone are covered by torpedograss.
The agencies responsible for managing Lake Okeechobee claim to manage the lake for its value to
wildlife, but their management practices strongly indicate otherwise.
NOMINATED BY: Paul Gray (Audubon).
2010 UPDATE: Drought conditions in 20062007 dropped water levels to an all-time low of 9 feet (2.7 m)
and reduced the lakes extent to 292,800 ac (118,500 ha). Airboat surveys emphasizing shorebirds
and larids in a small portion of the lake noted daily counts of as many as 20,000 individuals and great
species richness (24 species of shorebirds and 11 of larids), including 10 species and two other
breeding species never before observed (Gray et al. 2009).

89. LITTLE ESTERO LAGOON


Lee County
10 ac (4 ha)

LOCATION: The very s. tip of Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach) in sw. Lee County.
DESCRIPTION: Part of a highly dynamic barrier island, with frequent changes occurring to the outer
beach, dunes, and lagoon inlets. Extensive mudflats are exposed during low tides. Designated by
FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area, the lagoon receives an estimated 36,500 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: City of Fort Myers Beach.
HABITATS: *coastal strand, mangrove forest, estuarine.
LAND USE: *recreation, conservation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, FCREPA, and Watch List species; significant
numbers of shorebirds and larids.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of resident and migratory shorebirds, and breeding and
roosting larids. It is especially important for small plovers.
SPECIES
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
Red Knot
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Native richness

DATES
JanFeb 2001
25 Nov 2000
25 Nov 2000
fall 1999
winter 19992000
25 Nov 2000
JunJul 2000
25 Nov 2000
19972002

NUMBERS
15 birds
50 birds
30 birds
up to 1000 birds
300 birds
200 birds
50 pairs
500 birds
70 species

2001 plover data from Patty Kelly (USFWS), all other data from Charlie Ewell (FOS).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREAT: *human disturbance.

STATUS
3% (W)
(W)
6% (W)
(M)
(W)
(W)
1% (B)
(W)

179

CONSERVATION ISSUES: The upper beach and dunes are posted against human entry during 1 April31
August. However, human intrusion occurs frequently, causing severe disturbance to birds.
NOMINATED BY: Charlie Ewell (FOS).

90. LOXAHATCHEE RIVER AND SLOUGH


Atlantic Coastal Ridge CARLFF Project (9061 ac; 3666 ha remaining), Atlantic Ridge Preserve
State Park (5650 ac; 2286 ha), Grassy Waters Preserve (14,592 [20,000] ac; 5905 ha), Dupuis
Management Area (21,935 ac; 8877 ha), J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area (60,224 ac;
24,372 ha), Jonathan Dickinson State Park (11,480 ac; 4645 ha), Loxahatchee Slough Natural
Area (10,838 ac; 4335 ha), Loxahatchee Slough SOR Tract (1426 ac; 570 ha), Pal-Mar CARL
FF Project (35,409 ac [14,330 ha], 12,737 ac [5154 ha] acquired), and Palm Beach County Solid
Waste Authority Conservation Area (300 ac; 120 ha)
Martin and Palm Beach counties
169,409 ac (68,658 ha), with 139,596 ac (56,493 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean in s. and e. Martin County and n. Palm
Beach County. Near the Lake Okeechobee IBA to the west and the Northern Everglades IBA to the
south.
DESCRIPTION: A highly diverse assemblage of natural areas mostly within the watershed of Loxahatchee
Slough and Loxahatchee River. (Dupuis Preserve, part of the Everglades/Lake Okeechobee
Watershed, is included here because of its proximity). Visitation is 12,000 hunter-days to Corbett
Wildlife Management Area, 2500 recreationists and 2000 hunters to Dupuis Management Area, and
160,000 recreationists to Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Grassy Waters Preserve formerly was
known as the City of West Palm Beach Water Catchment Area. The Conservation Area of the Palm
Beach County Solid Waste Authority surrounds a landfill and incinerator complex that are not
included within the IBA boundaries. Information was not provided for most sites.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park, Jonathan Dickinson State Park), FWC (J.W.
Corbett Wildlife Management Area), South Florida WMD (Dupuis Management Area, Loxahatchee
Slough SOR Tract, acquired portions of Pal-Mar CARLFF Project), Palm Beach County
(Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area), West Palm Beach (Grassy Waters Preserve), and private owners
(remaining acreage of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge and Pal-Mar CARLFF projects).
HABITATS: *slash pine flatwoods, *sawgrass marsh, *freshwater marsh, sand pine scrub, sandhill,
maritime hammock, xeric oak scrub, estuarine, riverine, lacustrine, abandoned shell pits, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *water storage and supply, environmental education, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA
species; significant numbers of wading birds; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: The conservation area has served as a critical refuge for Snail Kites and contains a large
wading bird rookery. The state park supports the largest population of Florida Scrub-Jays in the
region. Pine flatwoods there and at Corbett support Hairy Woodpeckers and Bachmans Sparrows,
species now rare and local in the region. Corbett also supports a nearly significant population of Redcockaded Woodpeckers, which represents the southernmost population in se. Florida. Red-cockaded
Woodpeckers became extirpated from the state park in 1982.
J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area
SPECIES
Red-cockaded Woodpecker

DATES
1999

NUMBERS
8 clusters

STATUS
<1% (R)

180

Data from USFWS (2000).


Jonathan Dickinson State Park
SPECIES
Florida Scrub-Jay
Native richness

DATES
1999
Feb 1998 list

NUMBERS
2530 groups
141 species

STATUS
<1% (R)

Scrub-Jay data from Hank Smith (DEP), richness data from the park bird checklist.
Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority
SPECIES
Anhinga
White Ibis
Wood Stork
Wading birds
Snail Kite

DATES
9 May 2000
9 May 2000
9 May 2000
9 May 2000
12 Jun 1985
1991

NUMBERS
330 nests
962 nests
172 nests
2024 nests
372 birds
11 nests

STATUS
(B)
5% (B)
3% (B)
(B)
37% (NB)
2% (B)

Data from Rumbold and Mihalik (1994) and Mihalik and Sandt (2000).
All sites combined
SPECIES
Bald Eagle

DATES
19992000

NUMBERS
12 nests

STATUS
1% (B)

GIS database from Julia Dodge (FWC); nests distributed as follows: Dupuis (7), Corbett (3), Jonathan Dickinson
(1), and Water Catchment Area (1).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The Loxahatchee River flows through a greater extent of protected areas than any other river
in the region. It was designated as Floridas first National Wild and Scenic River in 1985.
THREATS: *development, *habitat succession, *exotic plants, altered hydrology.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The Treasure Coast is under massive development pressure. The State has
targeted a large area of privately owned land immediately north of Jonathan Dickinson State Park for
public acquisition. So far about 40% of the acreage has been obtained, which is now known as
Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park. The wading bird rookery at the Solid Waste Authority site is
located on small spoil islands in an abandoned pit. All the vegetation is composed of exotic plants,
but these are retained to avoid disturbing the rookery. Exotic plants elsewhere are controlled. Bird
use is monitored regularly. Jonathan Dickinson State Park contains about 2225 ac (900 ha) of
scrub, most of it sand pine scrub that does not support Florida Scrub-Jays. State park staff set a goal
of managing 1100 ac (445 ha) to support 40 Florida Scrub-Jay groups. However, current numbers are
only 6075% of this total. Reduced freshwater flow into the Loxahatchee River has allowed
saltwater to move upstream, resulting in cypress swamps succeeding to mangrove forests. Exotic
plants such as Brazilian pepper and Old World climbing fern are problems in some areas.
NOMINATED BY: Mary Beth Mihalik (Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority) and Bill Pranty
(Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Richard Roberts (DEP) and Valerie Sparling (FWC).

91. NORTHERN EVERGLADES

181

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (145,787 ac; 58,999 ha), East Coast
Buffer (15,164 ac; 6136 ha), Everglades Buffer Strip North (1155 ac; 467 ha), Everglades and
Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area (671,831 ac; 271,890 ha), Holey Land Wildlife
Management Area (35,350 ac; 14,306 ha), Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area (27,810 ac;
11,254 ha), and Talisman property (51,210 ac; 20,724 ha). Private lands are sought for public
acquisition through the East Everglades CARLFF Project (104,615 ac unacquired; 42,337 ha) and
Stormwater Treatment Areas SOR project (47,630 ac; 19,275 ha, with 45,519 ac acquired; 18,421
ha).
Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties
1,100,552 ac (445,393 ha), with 993,916 ac (402,237 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Between the Everglades Agricultural Area and Everglades National Park in s. and w. Palm
Beach County, cen. and w. Broward County, and nw. Miami-Dade County. Contiguous with the
Everglades National Park IBA to the south and the Big Cypress Swamp Watershed IBA to the west.
Near the Loxahatchee River and Slough IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: A vast area of Everglades marsh and agricultural lands targeted for restoration along the
n. border of Everglades National Park. Most areas are accessible only via airboat. Many of the sites
are state-owned Water Conservation Areas managed by FWC as Wildlife Management Areas. Water
Conservation Area 1 is leased to the federal Government as Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National
Wildlife Refuge. The refuge originally was connected to the Loxahatchee River via Loxahatchee
Slough, but this connection has been destroyed by urban development. The refuge receives 305,000
recreationists and 200 hunters annually. No information was provided for any other site.
OWNERSHIP: FWC (Holey Land Wildlife Management Area and Rotenberger Wildlife Management
Area), South Florida WMD (all other publicly owned sites; Everglades and Taylor Wildlife
Management Area is managed by FWC, and Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife
Refuge is managed by USFWS), and private owners (remaining acreage of the East Everglades and
Stormwater Treatment Areas SOR projects).
HABITATS: *wet prairie, *sawgrass marsh, *tree islands, cattail marshes, freshwater impoundments,
cypress swamp, open water, and sloughs.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation, *water storage and supply, research, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Special Concern, and FCREPA species;
significant numbers of wading birds; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Provides critical habitat for nesting and foraging wading birds and Snail Kites. Least
Bitterns are common. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Water Conservation Areas probably
supported most of the White-tailed Kite nests in Florida (3 nests in 1986, four in 1989, and three in
1990; Curnutt and Hoffman 1992).
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
SPECIES
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Wading birds
Snail Kite
Long-term research
Native richness

DATES
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19671980

NUMBERS
mean of 979 nests
mean of 154 nests
mean of 1124 nests
mean of 1124 nests
mean of 2167 nests
mean of 5690 nests
mean of 11 birds

since the 1970s


Sep 1998 list

251 species

STATUS
6% (B)
(B)
15% (B)
(B)
12% (B)
(B)
up to 44% of then-current
numbers (R)
Wading bird and Snail Kite
population monitoring

182

Kite data from Sykes (1983); wading bird data from Bailey and Jewell (1997), Bailey et al. (1998), and Thomas et
al. (1999, 2000).
Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area
SPECIES
Swallow-tailed Kite

DATES
22 Jul 2000

NUMBERS
22 birds

STATUS
>1% (NB)

STATUS
(B)
(R)

19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
19972000
1986, 19891990

NUMBERS
mean of 1095 nests
607 birds (213 adults, 217
juveniles, & 177 unknown)
mean of 3179 nests
mean of 904 nests
mean of 634 nests
mean of 984 nests
mean of 7070 nests
mean of 21 nests
mean of 213 nests
mean of 14,246 nests
10 nests

19851994

mean of 240 birds

Observation by John Boyd (Tropical Audubon).


Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3
SPECIES
Anhinga
Least Bittern
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wood Stork
Wading birds
White-tailed Kite
Snail Kite

DATES
19972000
MayJul 1987

20% (B)
(B)
8% (B)
(B)
40% (B)
2% (B)
3% (B)
most of then-current
numbers (B)
41% of then-current
numbers (R)

Bittern data from Frederick et al. (1990), White-tailed Kite data from Curnutt and Hoffman (1992); Snail Kite data
from Anonymous (1999); wading bird data from Frederick and Battaglia (1997), Frederick and Fontaine (1998), and
Frederick et al. (2000).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge represents the last remaining parcel
of the Northern Everglades system and contains a 400 ac (160 ha) remnant cypress swamp. It
supports 25 species of dragonflies and 23 species of butterflies.
THREATS: *exotic plants, *altered hydrology.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: In 1999, some legislators proposed breaking the lease of Arthur R. Marshall
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge with the Federal Government and selling the refuge to
agricultural interests (!), but the legislation thankfully failed to pass.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).

92. ROOKERY BAY NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE


Collier County
110,000 ac (44,517 ha) there is boundary overlap with Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

183

LOCATION: Surrounding Marco Island in sw. Collier County. Contiguous with the Everglades National
Park and Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge IBAs to the east, and near the Big Cypress
Ecosystem IBA to the north.
DESCRIPTION: A large area of saline and wetland habitats. It includes the Rookery Bay Colony, which
consists of two small keys designated by FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area. The reserve includes comanaged submerged lands of Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is being
maintained as a separate IBA. It receives an estimated 100,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida, managed by the Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas. The Ten
Thousand Islands area is co-managed with USFWS. The National Audubon Society and The
Conservancy of Southwest Florida have leased 3700 ac to the State.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, *tidal marsh, *estuarine, *open water, *slash pine flatwoods, *temperate
hammock, tropical hammock, xeric oak scrub, cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh,
sawgrass marsh, riverine, lacustrine, coastal strand, seagrass beds.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, research, environmental education.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; significant numbers of
wading birds and larids; significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Supports significant populations of wading birds, shorebirds, and larids (especially at Cape
Romano), and also mangrove species such as Mangrove Cuckoo, Black-whiskered Vireo, and
Florida Prairie Warbler. Rookery Bay Colony serves as a significant breeding rookery and yearround roost for Brown Pelicans and wading birds. A small patch of xeric oak scrub that was never
known to be occupied naturally by Florida Scrub-Jays served as a translocation experiment beginning
in 1989. Ted Below conducted bi-weekly dusk roost counts of the Rookery Bay Colony islands
during 19822002.
Cape Romano
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
American Oystercatcher
Shorebirds
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Terns and skimmers
Black Skimmer
Long-term research

DATES
19822002
19822002
19822002
19822002
19822002
19822002
19822002
19822002

NUMBERS
mean of 153 birds
mean of 49 birds
mean of 5081 birds
mean of 787 birds
mean of 284 birds
mean of 1071 birds
mean of 71 birds

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB); 207 surveys

DATES
19772002
19772002
19772002
19842002
19772002
19772002
19842002
19772002
19982002
19742002
19742002
19742002
19772002
19842002

NUMBERS
mean of 102 birds
mean of 98 birds
mean of 206 birds
mean of 70 pairs
mean of 155 birds
mean of 115 birds
mean of 78 pairs
mean of 920 birds
mean of 90 birds
mean of 5 birds
mean of 94 birds
mean of 61 birds

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(NB)
(B)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB); 722 surveys
(B); 19 annual censuses

Rookery Bay Colony


SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Wilsons Plover
Red Knot
Least Tern
Long-term research

184

Entire Reserve
SPECIES
Osprey
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Least Tern
Native richness

DATES
19942001
winter 20012002
13 May 2002
1314 May 2002
19992002
May 2002 list

NUMBERS
mean of 33 pairs
12 birds
3 pairs
5 pairs
mean of 359 pairs
224 species

STATUS
2% (B)
(NB)
1% (R)
2% (B)
8% (B)

All long-term data from Ted Below (Audubon); other data from Beverly Anderson (DEP) and Ricardo Zambrano
(FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: Along with Everglades National Park and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife
Refuge, part of the most significant and pristine mangrove ecosystem in the United States. DEP has
designated all tidal waters as Outstanding Florida Waters. Other listed species supported include
golden leather fern (Acrostichum aureum), clamshell orchid (Prosthechea cochleata), Florida
thatch palm (Thrinax radiata), Florida tree snail (Liguus fasciatus), sea turtles, gopher tortoise,
mastiff bat (Eumops glaucinus), and Florida manatee. Calusa Indians inhabited the area in the
1600s, and numerous shell mounds remain. The reserve also contains significant archaeological
material from six post-Civil War homesteads.
THREATS: *offsite development, *human disturbance, *exotic plants, altered hydrology, runoff, feral
hogs, discarded monofilament fishing line.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Increasing development in the Naples area is creating additional disturbance
issues, especially near Marco Island. The larid colony at Cape Romano is closed to public access
during the breeding season, and is monitored weekly. Long-term monitoring stations assess waterquality impacts from offsite developments and agricultural areas. Reserve staff and other agencies
are pursuing acquisition of private inholdings. Large-scale removal programs of exotic plants,
especially Australian-pine, Brazilian pepper, and latherleaf (Colubrina asiatica) are underway.
Native habitats are prescribed burned. At Rookery Bay Colony Islands, wading birds are disturbed
by boaters and recreational fishermen, and the latter often leave monofilament fishing line in the
mangroves.
NOMINATED BY: Beverly Anderson (DEP) and Ted Below (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Terry Doyle (USFWS) and Gary Lytton (DEP).

93. SANIBEL LIGHTHOUSE PARK


Lee County
5 ac (2 ha)

LOCATION: The se. end of Sanibel Island in sw. Lee County.


DESCRIPTION: A small city park.
OWNERSHIP: City of Sanibel Parks and Recreation.
HABITATS: *tropical hammock, mangrove forest, Australian-pine forest, artificial.
LAND USE: *recreation, conservation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant numbers of Neotropical migrants; exceptional richness of wood-warblers.
AVIAN DATA: Supports large numbers of Neotropical migrants, mainly after storms.

185

SPECIES
Common Nighthawk
Blackburnian Warbler
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
16 Sep 2000
1617 Sep 2000
Oct 2002 list
Oct 2002 list

NUMBERS
1000 birds
100 birds
39 species
173 species

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)

Data from Charlie Ewell (FOS).

OTHER RESOURCES: The Sanibel Lighthouse, built in 1884, is the Islands oldest standing structure.
THREATS: human disturbance, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Boardwalks recently installed, along with areas roped-off against human
intrusion, have limited disturbance and damage to beaches and dunes. Some Australian-pines in the
hammock have been herbicided, but those in the parking lot and along the beach remain.
NOMINATED BY: Charlie Ewell (FOS).

94. SOUTHERN ATLANTIC MIGRANT STOPOVER


Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (180 ac; 72 ha), John U. Lloyd Beach State Park (311 ac; 125 ha), and
Spanish River Park (94 ac; 38 ha)
Broward and Palm Beach counties
585 ac (236 ha)

LOCATION: On barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean. Spanish River Park is near Boca Raton in
Palm Beach County, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is immediately east of Fort Lauderdale in
Broward County, and John U. Lloyd Beach State Park is about 5 mi (8 km) farther south.
DESCRIPTION: Three small coastal parks in a massively urbanized region of Florida. The parks may
provide the only significant coastal stopover habitats for Neotropical migrants in Broward and s. Palm
Beach counties. Annual visitation is 265,000 recreationists for Birch, 600,000 for Lloyd, and 17,500
for Spanish River.
OWNERSHIP: DEP (Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and John U. Lloyd Beach State Park), City of Boca
Raton (Spanish River Park).
HABITATS: *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, *freshwater marsh, *coastal strand, fields, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant numbers and richness of Neotropical migrants; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports numbers of Neotropical migrants during spring and fall. The parks also attract
various West Indian landbirds (e.g., Ruddy Quail-Dove, La Sagras Flycatcher, Cuban Pewee,
Bahama Mockingbird, and Western Spindalis); the Bahamas are as few as 65 mi (104 km) away. The
beach at Lloyd State Park is used by shorebirds and larids. Overall native richness is 241 species.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
SPECIES
Red-eyed Vireo
Gray Catbird
Northern Parula
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Ovenbird

DATES
18 Sep 2000
23 Apr 2000
18 Sep 2000
25 Apr 2000
2225 Apr 2000
25 Apr 2000
23 Apr 2000
22 Apr 2000

NUMBERS
100 birds
100s of birds
50 birds
200 birds
100s of birds
75 birds
30 birds
100s of birds

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

186

Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Wood-warblers
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

22 Apr 2000
2225 Apr 2000
30 Aug 2000
2225 Apr 2000
2223 Apr 2000
Mar 2000 list
Mar 2000 list

100s of birds
100s of birds
100 birds
100s of birds
1000s of birds
37 species
207 species

(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

Observations of Susan Epps and Wally George (FOS), some published in Florida Field Naturalist, richness data
from park checklist.
John U. Lloyd Beach State Park
SPECIES
Native richness

DATES

NUMBERS
156 species

STATUS

Checklist compiled by Susan Epps, with contributions by Jocie Baker (FOS).


Spanish River Park
SPECIES
Black-and-white Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Ovenbird
Vireo richness
Wood-warbler richness
Native richness

DATES
17 Oct 1995
6 Apr 1995
5 Sep 1993

NUMBERS
90 birds
20 birds
75 birds
8 species
38 species
182 species

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

All data from Brian Hope (FOS), much of it published in Florida Field Naturalist.

OTHER RESOURCES: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park contains a rare coastal dunelake community with
several listed plant species. Birchs former home houses the park visitor center. John U. Lloyd
Beach State Park: The beach is important for nesting sea turtles.
THREATS: *offsite development, *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *feral cats, habitat succession,
runoff, erosion.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: Exotic plants and feral cats are removed. A
40-ac (16-ha) mangrove restorationenhancement project began in 2001. Storm-water runoff
affecting water quality is a minor concern. John U. Lloyd Beach State Park: Broward County
proposes to claim about 5 ac (2 ha) to expand Port Everglades. The county also wants to add 250
ft (75 m) of sand to the beach, which may severely impact the first reef offshore. The park is
infested with exotic vegetation, mostly Australian-pines and Brazilian pepper. In 1999, Australianpines were removed from the beach, which resulted in rapid recruitment of native vegetation.
Brazilian pepper eradication is ongoing. Spanish River Park: Exotic plants such as Brazilian
pepper and Australian-pines are being removed and areas replanted with native hardwood species.
NOMINATED BY: Steve Bass (Gumbo Limbo Nature Center), Steven Dale (DEP), Susan Epps, and Jim
Higgins (DEP).
REVIEWED BY: Jocie Baker (FOS), Wally George (FOS), and Sidney Leve (DEP).

95. TEN THOUSAND ISLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Collier County

187

35,000 ac (14,164 ha) there is boundary overlap with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research
Reserve

LOCATION: Along the Gulf of Mexico in sw. Collier County. The refuge surrounds CollierSeminole
State Park on three sides, overlays a portion of Cape RomanoTen Thousand Islands State Aquatic
Preserve, and is just west of Everglades National Park. Contiguous with the Big Cypress Swamp
Ecosystem IBA to the north and with the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to the
west, and near the Everglades National Park IBA to the east and southeast.
DESCRIPTION: Hundreds of mostly small mangrove keys and associated estuarine habitats between
Marco Island and Cape Sablethe so-called Ten Thousand Islands region.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, *non-tidal brackish marsh, *estuarine, tropical hammock, freshwater
marsh, cattail marsh, sawgrass marsh, riverine, lacustrine, coastal strand.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, hunting.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA species;
significant numbers of wading birds; complete avian richness of mangrove forest species; significant
natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports very large numbers of wading birds, and undoubtedly significant numbers of
mangrove-breeding species. Cuban Yellow Warblers reach their nw. limit in Florida.
SPECIES
Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron
White Ibis
Wading birds
Least Tern
Royal Tern
Mangrove Cuckoo

Black-whiskered Vireo
Florida Prairie Warbler

Native richness

DATES
7 Oct 2001
10 Aug 2001
JunSep 2000
Aug 2000
summer 2000
5 May 2000
May 2000
MayJun 2001
MayJun 2002
May 2000
MayJun 2001
MayJun 2002
May 2000
MayJun 2001
MayJun 2002
19962002

NUMBERS
813 birds
883 birds
up to 8242 birds
10,224 birds
125 birds
190 birds
64 birds in 88 points
26 birds in 101 points
36 birds in 101 points
103 birds in 88 points
91 birds in 101 points
92 birds in 101 points
53 birds in 88 points
60 birds in 101 points
46 birds in 101 points
187 species

STATUS
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(NB)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)
(B)

Data from Terry Doyle (USFWS).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. Part of the larger Ten Thousand Islands system, one of the largest and most pristine mangrove
systems in the Western Hemisphere. Odum and McIvor (1990) refer to the region as part of the most
significant wilderness area in Florida. The refuge supports 45 listed species, including 12 plants, one
invertebrate, one fish, six reptiles, 21 birds, and five mammals. The Calusa Indians were known to
inhabit the region in the 17th century, and were present when the Spaniards explored the area.
American Indian artifacts are found throughout, primarily in tropical hammocks.
THREATS: *altered hydrology, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The most significant short- and long-term impact is the Southern Golden Gate
Estates Restoration Project, an area of about 60,000 ac (24,000 ha) within the bankrupt Gulf of
America Corporations massive planned development. From 1968 through 1971, the corporation

188

excavated a series of canals that drastically drained the area and changed its ecology. Prior to
development, the area was characterized by seasonal flooding and broad, slow-moving sheet-flow
that served as the headwaters of the Ten Thousand Islands system. Today, 40 mi (64 km) of canals
intercept large volumes of surface and groundwater flows and quickly divert them into Faka Union
Bay, thus over-draining the area and damaging the ecology of the estuary. The Federal and State
governments are buying back hundreds of 5-, 10-, and 20-ac (2-, 4-, and 8-ha) lots to create Picayune
Strand State Forest. The South Florida WMD proposes to restore the hydrology and sheet water flow
to the area by blocking canals, removing roads, and pumping water out of canals, but the plan cannot
begin until all the private lots are purchased. Large-scale removal programs are underway for exotic
plants, especially Brazilian pepper, Australian-pine, and latherleaf. A variety of recreational and
commercial uses (e.g., commercial and sport fishing, crabbing, and waterfowl hunting) occurs, and
may eventually create excessive disturbance.
NOMINATED BY: Terry Doyle (USFWS).

189

FLORIDA KEYS

96. Dry Tortugas National Park off map


97. Florida Keys Hammocks
98. Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge
99. Key West National Wildlife Refuge
100. Pelican Shoal not on map

190

96. DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK


Monroe County
70 land ac (28 ha) and >64,600 marine ac (>26,143 ha)

LOCATION: About 70 mi (112 km) west of Key West in far w. Monroe County.
DESCRIPTION: Five to seven small coral and sand keys between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida
Straits. One of Floridas treasures, the keys were discovered in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon and
named after the abundance of sea turtles (Las Tortugas) nesting there; the Dry was added
subsequently to warn mariners about the lack of fresh water. The Tortugas consist of Bush, East,
Garden, Hospital, Loggerhead, Long, and Middle keys; Bush and Long keys merged with Grade Key
after recent hurricanes. Construction of Fort Jefferson on Garden Key began in 1846 and was
abandoned before its completion in 1866. Loggerhead Key contains a Coast Guard station and
lighthouse. Hospital Key was the site of a temporary hospital during a Yellow Fever outbreak in 1867
but is now a small sand bar of only a few acres (hectares). Only Garden Key and Loggerhead Key are
publicly accessible. The park boundary includes 100 mi2 (256 km2) of ocean surrounding the keys.
Commercial fishing and jet skis are prohibited.
OWNERSHIP: USNPS.
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, *coastal strand, *artificial (mostly parade grounds), tropical hammock.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Special Concern, FCREPA, and IBA species; significant
numbers of larids; significant numbers and richness of Neotropical migrants; exceptional richness;
significant natural habitats; long-term research.
AVIAN DATA: Critical for nesting Masked Boobies, Sooty Terns, and Brown Noddies, their only regular
colony in the continental United States. In 1984, Masked Boobies began nesting on Hospital Key, and
the population had increased to 19 pairs by 1998. By 1990, all breeding frigatebirds moved from the
Marquesas Keys because of disturbance from Navy jets. The Tortugas are the only known nesting site
of Magnificent Frigatebirds in the United States. Supports numerous Neotropical migrants during
spring and fall, and has hosted many West Indian vagrants such as White-tailed Tropicbird, Redfooted Booby, Black Noddy, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Bahama Mockingbird, Yellow-faced Grassquit, and
possibly-wild Red-legged Honeycreeper. An estimated 500,000 Sooty Terns have been banded at the
Tortugas since the early 1950s by the late William B. Robertson, Jr. and collaborators.
SPECIES
Masked Booby
Brown Booby
Magnificent Frigatebird
Sooty Tern
Brown Noddy
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Blackpoll Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Connecticut Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Orchard Oriole
Long-term research
Native richness

DATES
1998
22 Apr 2002
May 2000
1998
1998
23 May 1999
89 Apr 1994
1518 May 1998
28 Apr 1995
1518 May 1998
8 Apr 1994
8 Apr 1994
8 Apr 1994
since the 1950s

NUMBERS
19 pairs
65 birds
100 pairs
20,000 pairs
1000 pairs
200 birds
200 birds
100s of birds
45 birds
30 birds
30 birds
200 birds
50 birds
303 species

STATUS
100% (B)
(NB)
100% (B)
100% (B)
100% (B)
(M)
Florida record count (M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
Sooty Tern study
The 5th most species-rich IBA

191

Masked Booby and tern breeding data from Gary Sprandel (FWC), all other data from observations by Wes Biggs,
Murray Gardler, David Goodwin, Kevin Karlson, Bill Pranty, Glen Woolfenden et al., published in Florida Field
Naturalist.

OTHER RESOURCES: Most of Garden Keys 16 ac (6.4 ha) consist of parade grounds within Fort
Jefferson, the largest fort east of the Mississippi River. The fort is three stories tall, with walls 8 ft
(2.4 m) thick, and was constructed of more than 16 million bricks.
A lighthouse built on
Loggerhead Key in 1858 remains in use.
THREATS: human disturbance, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Based on oil present on feathers of Sooty Terns nesting at Bush Key, oil spills
in Louisiana and the Campeche Bank, Mexico apparently reach the Tortugas in biologically
significant amounts (Robertson and Robertson 1996). Visitation quadrupled between 1984 and
2002, from 18,000 recreationists to 72,000, and most of this occurs between March and July. During
these five months, an estimated 245 people arrive at Garden Key daily. Development of a visitor use
plan is in preparation to avoid overuse.
NOMINATED BY: Oron Bass, Jr. (USNPS).

97. FLORIDA KEYS HAMMOCKS


Bahia Honda State Park (491 ac; 198 ha), Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (6686 ac; 2705
ha), Curry Hammock State Park (1218 ac; 492 ha), John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
(2350 upland ac; 951 ha), Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park (2339 ac;
946 ha), Long Key State Park (1083 ac; 438 ha), and National Key Deer Refuge (8649 ac; 3500
ha). Sites targeted for public acquisition through the Florida Keys Ecosystem CARLFF Project
(8566 ac [3466 ha], 2531 ac [1024 ha] acquired, with some now known as Florida Keys Wildlife
and Environmental Areas [1809 ac; 732 ha]) are: Big Torch Key, Cudjoe Key, Dove Creek
Hammock, Grassy Key, Green Turtle Hammock, Key Largo Narrows Hammock, Lake San Pedro
Hammock, Largo Sound Hammock, Little Knockemdown Key, Little Torch Key, Lower Matecumbe
Hammock, Middle Torch Key, Newport, North Creek Hammock, North Layton Hammock,
Pennekamp North Hammock, Point Charles Hammock, Ramrod Key, Snake Creek Hammock, Stirrup
Key Hammock, Sugarloaf Key, Summerland Key, Tavernier Creek Hammock, Teatable Hammock,
Vaca Cut, and Wahoo Key. Boot Key (650 ac; 263 ha) is not currently sought for public acquisition.
Monroe County
32,032 ac (12,963 ha), with 25,347 ac (10,257 ha) acquired

LOCATION: Along the Mainline Keys from Key Largo to Saddlebunch Key, a distance of about 100 mi
(160 km) in s. Monroe County. Contiguous with the Biscayne Bay, Everglades National Park, and
Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge IBAs to the north.
DESCRIPTION: Virtually all remaining large fragments of tropical hammock on the Mainline Keys.
Information was provided for only a few sites.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS (Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, National Key Deer Refuge), DEP
(Bahia Honda, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, Curry Hammock State
Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Long Key State Park), FWC (Florida Keys
Wildlife and Environmental Areas), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Florida Keys
Ecosystem CARLFF Project, and Boot Key).
HABITATS: *tropical hammock, *mangrove forest, tidal marsh, coastal strand, estuarine, artificial.
LAND USE: *conservation, *private property (potential development).

192

IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, and FCREPA
species; significant numbers and richness of raptors and Neotropical migrants; complete avian
richness of mangrove forest species and tropical hammock species; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Critical for the survival of White-crowned Pigeons in the United States, which nest on
mangrove keys in Florida Bay and forage in hammocks on the Mainline Keys. Supports numbers of
Neotropical migrants during spring and fall, and significant breeding populations of several other
primarily West Indian birds restricted in North America to s. Florida (e.g., Mangrove Cuckoo, Gray
Kingbird, Black-whiskered Vireo, Florida Prairie Warbler, and Cuban Yellow Warbler). Overall
native richness is 143 species.
Boot Key (single-day migratory counts in mid-October)
SPECIES
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Raptors
Raptor richness
Cliff Swallow

DATES
19891994
19891994
19891994
19891994
19891994
19891994
19891994
9 Oct 1993

NUMBERS
mean of 329 birds
mean of 193 birds
mean of 75 birds
mean of 31 birds
mean of 106 birds
mean of 795 birds
mean of 9 species
750 birds

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
5% (M)
(M)
(M)
Florida record count (M)

Raptor data from Wayne Hoffman (National Audubon Society); see also Hoffman and Darrow (1992); swallow
observation by Wayne Hoffman, P. William Smith, and Bill Pranty et al., published in Florida Field Naturalist.
Boot Key (seasonal roost counts, 15 September15 November 1996 and 5 August14 November 1997)
SPECIES
Osprey
Broad-winged Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
All raptors
Raptor richness

DATES
19961997
19961997
19961997
19961997
19961997
19961997
1996
1997

NUMBERS
mean of 941 birds
mean of 450 birds
mean of 733 birds
mean of 672 birds
mean of 204 birds
mean of 2259 birds
14 species
13 species

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
10%; (M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

Data from Brashear and Stoddard (1998).


Grassy Key (seasonal counts [southbound birds minus those northbound], 15 September15 November 1996
and 5 August14 November 1997)
SPECIES
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Broad-winged Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Swainsons Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
All raptors
Raptor richness

DATES
19961997
1997
19961997
19961997
19961997
1997
19961997
19961997
19961997
19961997
1996
1997

NUMBERS
mean of 1584 birds
260 birds
mean of 473 birds
mean of 2145 birds
mean of 17 birds
75 birds
mean of 1497 birds
mean of 357 birds
mean of 1404 birds
mean of 11,855 birds
15 species
15 species

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
70%; (M)
(M)
(M)
(M)

193

Data from Brashear and Stoddard (1998).


Curry Hammock State Park (seasonal counts of southbound birds 14 September30 October 1999, 15
September13 November 2000, and 15 September13 November 2001)
SPECIES
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Coopers Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Raptors
Raptor richness

DATES
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001
19992001

NUMBERS
mean of 1004 birds
mean of 685 birds
mean of 4328 birds
mean of 533 birds
mean of 3268 birds
mean of 27 birds
mean of 3666 birds
mean of 646 birds
mean of 1623 birds
mean of 16,094 birds
15 species annually, 8 of
these totaling >500
birds each

STATUS
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
(M)
mean of 5% (M)
(M)
(M)
mean of 81% (M)
(M)
(M)

Data from Casey Lott (Hawkwatch International and Audubon); see also Davidow (2001).
Most sites
SPECIES
White-crowned Pigeon
Mangrove Cuckoo
Gray Kingbird
Black-whiskered Vireo
Cuban Yellow Warbler
Florida Prairie Warbler

DATES
annual
annual
annual
annual
annual
annual

NUMBERS
common
uncommon
common
uncommon
uncommon
uncommon

STATUS
(R)
(R)
(B)
(B)
(R)
(R)

Data from Rick Sawicki (Audubon).

OTHER RESOURCES: Cox et al. (1994) designated part of this IBA as a Strategic Habitat Conservation
Area. The floral diversity of tropical hammocks of the Florida Keys far surpasses that of all other
forests in the continental United States. The Florida Keys are a designated Area of Critical State
Concern, supporting at least 24 species of rare plants and 29 rare animals. Endemic mammals include
Key Largo cotton mouse and Key Largo woodrat. Many archaeological and historical sites are
known, such as American Indian burial mounds and middens, and 19th century settlements. The
coral reef outward of the Keys is the third largest reef system in the world, supporting thousands of
species, including 1200 mollusks, 450 fishes, 450 marine worms, and 100 corals (Jaap and Hallock
1990).
THREATS: *development, human disturbance, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The tropical hardwood hammocks and pine rocklands of the Florida Keys are
being destroyed at a rapid rate. If acquired completely, sites of the Florida Keys Ecosystem CARL
FF Project, together with existing conservation areas, will protect all significant, unprotected
hardwood hammocks remaining, as well as the populations of several rare plants and animals they
support. Acquisition of the CARLFF sites also will protect the coral reefs from the effects of
development. Management of publicly acquired tracts will be phased in and will involve removing
exotic plants, preventing further habitat fragmentation, removing trash and debris, posting and some
fencing, and establishing some basic visitor amenities at selected sites.

194

Based on its clear importance to raptors and its habitat significance, efforts should be undertaken to
publicly acquire Boot Key.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty and Rick Sawicki (Audubon).
REVIEWED BY: Casey Lott (Audubon).

98. GREAT WHITE HERON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Monroe County
192,584 ac (77,938 ha), with 6297 ac (2548 ha) of uplands

LOCATION: In the Gulf of Mexico from Marathon to Key West, a distance of 40 mi (64 km), in sw.
Monroe County. Just east of the Key West National Wildlife Refuge IBA, and contiguous with the
Florida Keys Hammocks IBA to the east and south.
DESCRIPTION: Dozens of small keys north of the Mainline Keys. Together with Key West National
Wildlife Refuge, includes all remaining offshore, raccoon-free islands in the Lower Keys available as
breeding, foraging, and roosting sites for wading birds and other species. Nearly one-third is
designated as Federal Wilderness, and the entire refuge is accessible only by boat. Visitation is
estimated at 12,000 recreationists annually.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS.
HABITATS: *marine, *mangrove forest, coastal strand.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened and FCREPA species; significant natural
habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports extremely significant populations of Great White Herons and White-crowned
Pigeons, and probably other species. Probably much more important to birds than suggested by the
limited data below.
SPECIES
Great White Heron
White-crowned Pigeon
Native richness

DATES
19992000
JunJul 2001
1994 checklist

NUMBERS
202 nests
1608 pairs
262 species

STATUS
22% (B)
18% (B)

Data from Tom Wilmers (USFWS). The checklist also includes Big Pine Key, Key West, and Key West National
Wildlife Refuge; some species known to occur solely outside this IBA were deleted.

OTHER RESOURCES: Sea turtles nest on some of the beaches. The islands are surrounded by 300 mi2
(768 km2) of shallow marine habitats such as sand flats, seagrass meadows, and patch coral reefs.
THREATS: exotic plants, human disturbance.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: The refuge has no dedicated personnel; it is managed as a satellite of National
Key Deer Refuge. Management activities include mechanical and chemical control of exotic plants,
wildlife monitoring, and law enforcement.
NOMINATED BY: Tom Wilmers (USFWS).

99. KEY WEST NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

195

Monroe County
208,308 ac (84,302 ha), of which 2109 ac (853 ha) are uplands

LOCATION: In the Gulf of Mexico 0.531 mi (0.850 km) west of Key West in far sw. Monroe County.
DESCRIPTION: Several mangrove keys, including the Marquesas Keys. The refuge was established in
1908 and is designated as Federal Wilderness. One key (Ballast Key) is privately owned. The refuge
receives about 10,000 recreationists annually, many of these trespassers.
OWNERSHIP: USFWS; marine portions are managed with the State, private owners (Ballast Key).
HABITATS: *mangrove forest, tropical hardwood hammock, tidal marsh, coastal strand, non-tidal wash
flats.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation, private.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, FCREPA, and
IBA species; complete avian richness of mangrove forests; significant natural habitats.
AVIAN DATA: Supports large numbers of breeding Great White Herons and White-crowned Pigeons.
Contains the most important site in the Keys for wintering Piping Plovers, and supports several other
wading birds, shorebirds, raptors, and landbirds. The Marquesas Keys formerly supported the only
breeding colony of Magnificent Frigatebirds in the continental United States, but disturbance from
low-flying Navy aircraft caused the birds to move to Dry Tortugas National Park (frigatebirds still
roost locally).
SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great White Heron
Little Blue Heron
Reddish Egret
Osprey
Short-tailed Hawk
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Piping Plover
Laughing Gull
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Least Tern
White-crowned Pigeon
Mangrove Cuckoo
Cuban Yellow Warbler
Native richness

DATES
7 Jan 2001
JunAug 2000
Oct 1999Feb 2000
17 Apr 2000
16 Apr 1992
19891991
single day in Nov 1996
single day in Oct 1997
single day in Oct 1996
20 Feb 1998
Jun 1996
Oct 1996
Jul 1995
Jul 1999
MayAug 2001

NUMBERS
600 birds
800 birds
peak of 265 nests
175 pairs
15 birds
peak of 120 nests
6 birds
43 birds
70 birds
29 birds
200 nests
450 birds
60 birds
525 birds
2000 nesting pairs

19852001
MayAug 2001
1994 checklist

uncommon
uncommon
262 species

STATUS
(NB)
16% (NB); all roosts
31% (B)
2% (B)
1% (NB)
7% (B)
1% (W); Boca Grande Key
(M)
3% (M)
5% (W)
1% (B); Horseshoe Key
(NB)
(NB)
5% (NB)
>20% (B); 7 keys, with >1200
pairs on Barrocouta Key
(R)
(R)

All data from Tom Wilmers (USFWS). The checklist also includes Big Pine Key, Great White Heron National
Wildlife Refuge, and Key West; some species known to occur solely outside this IBA were deleted.

OTHER RESOURCES: Boca Grande Key and the Marquesas Keys contain tropical hardwood hammocks
that support several rare plants. Beaches provide critical nesting habitat for sea turtles.
THREATS: *human disturbance, exotic plants.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: Although the keys are designated as wilderness, beaches on the keys attract
many recreationists, some of whom ignore restrictions designed to protect roosting birds. Disturbance
to shorebirds at Woman Key is a particular concern, as it is the most important site in the Florida
Keys for wintering Piping Plovers. Trespass of closed areas on Boca Grande Key is blatant. Law
enforcement has helped curtail illegal trespass but the remoteness of the site confounds enforcement.

196

Erosion of beaches from boat wakes and storms is a problem, and will be exacerbated by rising sealevels. Exotic plants, especially latherleaf and Brazilian pepper, are threats, but eradication efforts
have largely been successful. Unpermitted commercial use has been a recurring problem.
Ballast Key, an important island for roosting shorebirds and larids, is privately owned and currently
for sale. Attempts to publicly acquire the key should be given priority.
NOMINATED BY: Tom Wilmers (USFWS).

100. PELICAN SHOAL


Monroe County
0.5 acre (0.2 ha)

LOCATION: In the Florida Straits 5 mi (8 km) s-se. of Boca Chica Key in s. Monroe County.
DESCRIPTION: A tiny rubble islet in the coral reef south of the mainline Florida Keys, designated by
FWC as a Critical Wildlife Area.
OWNERSHIP: State of Florida.
HABITAT: *coral rubble islet.
LAND USE: *conservation, recreation.
IBA CATEGORIES: significant populations of Threatened species; significant numbers of larids.
AVIAN DATA: Supports the only native-substrate breeding colony of Roseate Terns in Florida, and the
first (and only) breeding colony of Bridled Terns in North America.
SPECIES
Roseate Tern
Bridled Tern

DATES
19982000
19982000

NUMBERS
mean of 256 nests
mean of 3 nests

STATUS
79% (B)
100% (B)

Data of Ricardo Zambrano and Lara Coburn, compiled by Jeff Gore and Gary Sprandel (all FWC).

OTHER RESOURCES: None known.


THREATS: human disturbance, erosion.
CONSERVATION ISSUES: In 1987, Bridled and Roseate terns were discovered nesting on the shoal, but
the following year, no birds nested. Evidence of extensive human disturbance was found, including
fire pits, shell casings, and shotgun shells (Hoffman et al. 1993). In 1989, the shoal was posted, and
was declared a Critical Wildlife Area in 1990. Human entry is forbidden during 1 April1 September.
NOMINATED BY: Bill Pranty (Audubon).

197

Table 1. Significant (1%) population sizes of Category 1 or Category 2 species or subspecies.


This table includes all birds that are listed by FWC as Endangered (E), Threatened (T), or Species of
Special Concern (SSC). It also includes all birds ranked by the Florida Committee on Rare and
Endangered Plants and Animals (FCREPA), species on the Partners In Flight Watch List or Audubon
WatchList (WL), and three other birds (Magnificent Frigatebird, Greater Sandhill Crane, and Laughing
Gull) included by the Florida IBA Executive Committee for conservation reasons (IBA). State-listed
(i.e., FWC) species are bold-faced. The numbers in Table 1 are taken mostly from the FCREPA bird
volume (Rodgers et al. 1996), but more recent population figures were used when available, such as for
Brown Pelican (20002001; Nesbitt 2001a), Bald Eagle (19982000, from Julia Dodge), American
Oystercatcher (2001, from Nancy Douglass), Snowy and Piping plovers (2001, from Patty Kelly), Redcockaded Woodpecker (mostly 1999; USFWS 2000), and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (1999; Delany
et al. 1999). For larids, the highest single count during 19982001 from IBA data and Gore and Sprandel
(2000) were used. Significant populations could not be determined for birds that lack statewide totals
(marked with a ?). In these cases, nominators were asked to supply as much information about a site as
was available, and only those counts that seemed to be significant were used.
N.B. These data are intriguing in terms of the status of species listed by FWC versus their
statewide totals. For example, Wood Storks are Endangered, even though their population numbers 5500
breeding pairs. On the other hand, Snowy Plovers, which probably number fewer than 150 pairs, are
(only) Threatened, and Short-tailed Hawks, which number perhaps only 500 individuals and virtually are
restricted in the United States to Florida, are not listed at all. It seems clear that revision of the listed
status of several species needs to be re-evaluated based upon current statewide totals. Petitioning FWC
to change the status of several birds in Florida seems to be a worthwhile project for conservation
committees of Audubon and FOS.
STATE
RANKING
SSC
IBA
FCREPA
FCREPA
FCREPA
FCREPA
SSC
SSC
SSC
FCREPA
FCREPA
SSC
FCREPA
SSC
E
WL
FCREPA
FCREPA
FCREPA
E
T
FCREPA
FCREPA
T
T
FCREPA

SPECIES
Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Least Bittern
Great White Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wood Stork
Mottled Duck
Osprey (Monroe County only)
Swallow-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Bald Eagle
Coopers Hawk
Short-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara
Southeastern American Kestrel
Merlin

FLORIDA TOTAL
(SURVEY PERIOD)
8650 pairs (1999)
70 pairs (1993) or 5000 birds
?
850 pairs (early 1990s)
39,000 birds (1980s)
?
17,000 birds (1980s)
?
375 pairs (1990)
?
?
17,100 pairs (1989)
3500 birds (1970s)
1000 pairs (1992)
5523 pairs (1995)
?
1600 pairs (1983; statewide)
610 pairs (1990)
? (<50 pairs)
996 birds (1994)
1043 pairs (1999)
?
500 birds (1980s)
450 birds (1991)
?
?

1% TOTAL
87 pairs
1 pair or 50 birds
?
9 pairs
150 pairs
?
60 pairs
?
4 pairs
?
?
171 pairs
15 pairs
10 pairs
56 pairs
?
16 pairs
7 pairs
1 pair
4 pairs or 10 birds
11 pairs
?
2 pairs or 5 birds
2 pairs or 5 birds
?
?

198

STATE
RANKING
E
WL
FCREPA
SSC
T
IBA
T
FCREPA
T
SSC
FCREPA
WL
WL
WL
IBA
FCREPA
FCREPA
FCREPA
FCREPA
T
T
FCREPA
SSC
SSC
T
FCREPA
SSC
FCREPA
E
WL
WL
FCREPA
T
FCREPA
WL
SSC
FCREPA
FCREPA
WL
E
WL
E
SSC
FCREPA

SPECIES
Peregrine Falcon
Yellow Rail
Black Rail
Limpkin
Florida Sandhill Crane
Greater Sandhill Crane
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
American Avocet
Willet
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Roseate Tern
Least Tern
Sooty Tern
Brown Noddy
Black Skimmer
White-crowned Pigeon
Mangrove Cuckoo
Burrowing Owl
Hairy Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Gray Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Black-whiskered Vireo
Florida Scrub-Jay
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Marsh Wren
Cuban Yellow Warbler
Florida Prairie Warbler
Bachmans Sparrow
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
Henslows Sparrow
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow
(other) Seaside Sparrows
Painted Bunting

FLORIDA TOTAL
(SURVEY PERIOD)
2000 birds (1990s)
?
?
30006000 pairs (1994)
4000 birds (1970s)
25,000 birds (1989)
311 birds (2001)
300 birds (1980s)
450 birds (2001)
391 pairs (2001)
?
?
?
?
23,336 pairs (1999)
55 pairs (19982000)
323 pairs (19982000)
5352 pairs (2000)
531 pairs (2000)
324 pairs (19982000)
10,000 birds (1990s)
80,000 birds (1970s)
2750 pairs (1990s)
1404 pairs (2000)
8500 pairs (1990s)
?
300010,000 pairs (1987)
?
1226 clusters (1999)
?
?
?
3640 groups (1993)
?
?
4000 pairs (1990s)
3000 birds (1990s)
?
?
<1000 birds (mid-1990s)
?
2800 birds (1995)
575011,000 pairs (1980s)
?

1% TOTAL
20 birds
?
?
4 pairs
15 pairs or 40 birds
250 birds
2 pairs or 4 birds
2 pairs or 3 birds
5 birds
4 pairs
?
?
?
?
234 pairs
1 pair
4 pairs
54 pairs
6 pairs
4 pairs
40 pairs or 100 birds
300 pairs or 800 birds
28 pairs
14 pairs
85 pairs
?
65 pairs
?
13 clusters
?
?
?
37 groups
?
?
40 pairs
30 birds
?
4 pairs or 10 birds
?
28 birds
85 pairs
?

199

Table 2. The 17 most species-rich IBAs in Florida, arranged in descending numeric order.
All of these IBAs support 250 or more native species.
FLORIDA IBA
Everglades National Park
Eglin Air Force Base
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Cape CanaveralMerritt Island
*Gulf Islands National Seashore
Lower Tampa Bay
+Lake Apopka Restoration Area
Dry Tortugas National Park
Big Bend Ecosystem
Dog IslandLanark Reef
ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee
Greater Apalachicola Bay
Gulf Islands GEOpark
+Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
**Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge
and Key West National Wildlife Refuge
+Northern Everglades
Myakka River Watershed

COUNTIES
Miami-Dade and Monroe
Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton
Jefferson, Taylor, and Wakulla
Brevard and Volusia
Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa
Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas
Lake and Orange
Monroe
Dixie, Levy, and Taylor
Franklin
Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco
Franklin
Pasco and Pinellas
Alachua

SPECIES
344
324
320
313
310
305
304
300
279
274
273
273
268
266

Monroe
Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe
DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota

262
251
250

*Includes the entire seashore (i.e., both the Florida and Mississippi portions).
**The checklist for these refuges combines both sites, so they are combined here, even though each
refuge is its own IBA.
A plus (+) denotes inland sites.

200

Table 3. Approximate statewide totals of listed species supported by IBAs.


For breeding species, only those IBAs supporting breeding populations are included. Generally, only data
gathered since 1999 were used to compute population totals. The Burrowing Owl occupies artificial
habitats (Bowen 2001), so very few birds occur within IBAs. For some species (e.g., Marsh Wrens,
Yellow Warbler, and Seaside Sparrows), sizes of most populations within IBAs are poorly known or
unknown, so most subspecies are not included. For species whose breeding populations are limited to
IBAs (e.g., most larids), the figure of 100% is placed in parentheses next to the percentage obtained by
summing totals from all IBAs. See text for explanation of why some percentages exceed 100%. Recent
Snail Kite data are lacking for most Everglades sites, but virtually all Snail Kites occur within IBAs.
SPECIES

Brown Pelican
Magnificent Frigatebird
Great White Heron
Great Egret
Little Blue Heron
Reddish Egret
White Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Wood Stork
Osprey
Swallow-tailed Kite
Snail Kite
Bald Eagle
Short-tailed Hawk
Crested Caracara
Florida Sandhill Crane
Greater Sandhill Crane
Snowy Plover
Wilsons Plover
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Laughing Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
Roseate Tern
Least Tern
Sooty Tern
Brown Noddy
Black Skimmer
White-crowned Pigeon
Burrowing Owl
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Florida Scrub-Jay
Worthingtons Marsh Wren
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow
MacGillivrays Seaside Sparrow

FLORIDA TOTAL
(TABLE 1)
(PAGES 000000)
8650 pairs
70 pairs
850 pairs
39,000 birds
17,000 birds
375 pairs
17,100 pairs
3500 birds
1000 pairs
5523 pairs
1600 pairs
610 pairs
996 birds
1043 pairs
500 birds
450 birds
4000 birds
25,000 birds
311 birds
300 birds
450 birds
391 birds
23,336 pairs
55 pairs
323 pairs
5352 pairs
531 pairs
324 pairs
10,000 birds
80,000 birds
2750 pairs
1600 pairs
8500 pairs
300010,000 birds
1226 clusters
3640 groups
?
<1000 birds
2800 birds
?

# OF IBAS WITH
SIGNIFICANT
POPULATIONS
18
breeding 1
3
12
8
8
11
4
7
14
13
breeding 7
5
15
2
9
6
6
10
11
12
7
7
3
4
4
4
1
9
1
1
8
3
0
13
10
1
3
1 or 2
1

% OF FLORIDA
TOTAL IN IBAs
63%
breeding 100%
63%
54%
35%
25%
135%
40%
28%
64%
51%
breeding 28%
100%?
30%
6%
23%
7%
30%
57%
41%
71%
36%
124% (100%?)
91%
92% (100%)
97% (100%)
164% (100%)
79%
25%
100%
100%
130%
97%
0%
99%
58%
100%?
>95%
100%
100%?

201

Table 4. Florida IBAs with at least 35% of acreage privately owned, ranked hierarchically.
Lands protected under perpetual conservation easements, even though privately owned, are not included
in the column denoting private acreage, as these lands are protected from further alteration, theoretically
in perpetuity.
FLORIDA IBA
Bright Hour Watershed
Buck Island Ranch
Kanapaha Prairie
Red Hills Ecosystem
Brevard Scrub Ecosystem
Alachua Lakes
Fisheating Creek Ecosystem
Central Pasco
Highlands HammockCharlie
Creek
BabcockWebb
Matanzas Inlet and River
Corkscrew Swamp Watershed
Emeralda Marsh
Red Hills Ecosystem
WekivaOcala Greenway
Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies
St. Joseph Bay
Lake Wales Ridge

COUNTY(IES)
DeSoto
Highlands
Alachua
Gadsden, Jefferson, and Leon
Brevard
Alachua and Marion
Glades and Highlands
Pasco
Hardee and Highlands
Charlotte and Lee
St. Johns
Collier and Lee
Lake and Marion
Gadsden, Jefferson, and Leon
Lake and Volusia
Osceola
Gulf
Highlands, Lake, Osceola, and
Polk

TOTAL
ACRES
47,235
10,300
3520
105,000
33,982
60,948
176,760
52,885
15,243

PRIVATE
ACRES
47,235
10,300
3520
105,000
26,502
41,484
116,882
33,475
9703

%
PRIVATE
100%
100%
100%
100%
77%
69%
66%
63%
63%

175,592
24,985
72,463
15,706
105,000
72,000
216,692
8547
70,294

105,865
14,700
40,075
8617
53,480
34,785
102,146
3263
24,894

60%
58%
55%
54%
50%
48%
47%
38%
35%

2010 UPDATE: 685 ac (227 ha), or 19%, of Kanapaha Prairie were publicly purchased in 2004.

202

Table 5. Site-selection criteria met by each IBA in Florida.


The 15 sub-categories used by the Florida IBA program are: 1a (significant population of Endangered species); 1b (significant population of
Threatened species); 2a (significant population of Species of Special Concern); 2b (significant population of FCREPA species); 2c (significant
population of Watch List species); 2d (significant population of IBA species); 3a (10,000 aquatic birds); 3b (wading birds: 1000 breeding pairs, or
500 roosting or foraging birds); 3c (300 raptors per day); 3d (1000 shorebirds); 3e (larids: 250 breeding pairs, or 1000 terns and skimmers roosting
or foraging); 3f (significant population of others species or groups); 3g (exceptional richness, overall or within a group); 4 (exceptional natural
habitats); and 5 (long-term research).
FLORIDA IBA
ABC Islands
Alachua Lakes
Apalachicola River and Forests
Avon Park Air Force Range
Bombing Range Ridge
BabcockWebb
Bay County Beaches
Big Bend Ecosystem
Big Cypress Swamp Watershed
Big Marco Pass Shoal
Biscayne Bay
Blackwater River State Forest
Brevard Scrub Ecosystem
Buck Island Ranch
Camp BlandingJennings
Cape CanaveralMerritt Island
Central Pasco
ChassahowitzkaWeekiwachee
Citrus County Spoil Islands
Clearwater HarborSt. Joseph Bay
Coastal Pasco
Cockroach BayTerra Ceia
Corkscrew Swamp Watershed
Crystal River Tidal Marshes
Disney Wilderness Preserve
Dog IslandLanark Reef
Dogleg Key
Dry Tortugas National Park
Duval And Nassau Tidal Marshes

COUNTY(IES)
Collier
Alachua and Marion
Franklin, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla

1a

Highlands and Polk


Charlotte and Lee
Bay
Dixie, Levy, and Taylor
Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe
Collier
Miami-Dade
Okaloosa and Santa Rosa
Brevard
Highlands
Clay
Brevard and Volusia
Pasco
Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco
Citrus
Pinellas
Pasco
Hillsborough and Manatee
Collier and Lee
Citrus
Osceola and Polk
Franklin
Pinellas
Monroe
Duval and Nassau

x
x

1b

2a
x

2c

2b
x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x

x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x
x

2d
x

3a

3b
x

3c

3d

3e

x
x

x
x

x
x

3f

3g

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x
x
x

x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x

5
x

x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x

203

IBA Name
Eglin Air Force Base
Emeralda Marsh
Everglades National Park
Fisheating Creek Watershed
Florida Keys Hammocks
Fort George and Talbot Islands
Goethe State Forest
Great White Heron National
Wildlife Refuge
Greater Apalachicola Bay
Green Swamp Ecosystem
Guana River
Gulf Islands GEOpark
Gulf Islands National Seashore and
adjacent areas
Highlands HammockCharlie
Creek
Hillsborough Bay
Huguenot ParkNassau Sound
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park
J.N. Ding Darling National
Wildlife Refuge
Kanapaha Prairie
Key West National Wildlife
Refuge
Kissimmee Lake and River
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State
Park
Lake Apopka Restoration Area
Lake Disston
Lake HancockUpper Peace River
Lake Istokpoga
Lake Lafayette
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Tohopekaliga
Lake Wales Ridge

County(ies)
Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton
Lake and Marion
Miami-Dade and Monroe
Glades and Highlands
Monroe
Duval
Alachua and Levy
Monroe
Franklin
Lake, Pasco, Polk, and Sumter
St. Johns
Pasco and Pinellas

1a
x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x

Escambia, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa


Hardee and Highlands
Hillsborough
Duval
Columbia and Suwannee
Pasco

1b
x

2a

2b

x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x

2c

2d

3a

3b
x
x

3c

3d

3e

x
x
x

3f

x
x

x
x
x

x
x
x
x
x

x
x

Lee
Alachua

Monroe
Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee,
Osceola, and Polk

Okeechobee and Osceola


Lake and Orange
Flagler
Polk
Highlands
Leon
Glades, Hendry, Martin, Okeechobee,
and Palm Beach
Osceola
Highlands, Lake, Osceola, and Polk

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x
x
x
x

x
x
x

x
x

4
x

x
x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x

x
x

3g
x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x

204

IBA Name
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife
Refuge
Little Estero Lagoon
Lower Tampa Bay
Loxahatchee River And Slough
Matanzas Inlet and River
Myakka River Watershed
Northern Atlantic Migrant
Stopover
North Lido BeachPalmer Point
Northern Everglades
Ocala National ForestLake
George
Orlando Wetlands Park
Osceola National Forest
Okefenokee Swamp
Oscar Scherer State Park
Osceola Flatwoods and Prairies
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Pelican Island National Wildlife
Refuge
Pelican Shoal
Pine Island National Wildlife
Refuge
Red Hills Ecosystem
Rookery Bay National Estuarine
Research Reserve
St. Johns National Wildlife
Refuge
St. Joseph Bay
St. Marks National Wildlife
Refuge
St. Sebastian River State Buffer
Preserve
San Felasco Hammock Preserve
State Park
Sanibel Lighthouse Park
Sarasota and Roberts Bays

County(ies)
Volusia
Lee
Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas
Martin and Palm Beach
St. Johns
DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota
Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns, and
Volusia
Sarasota
Broward, Hendry, Miami-Dade, and
Palm Beach
Lake, Marion, Putnam, and Volusia
Orange
Baker and Columbia
Sarasota
Osceola
Alachua
Indian River
Monroe

1a

x
x

1b

x
x
x

2b

2c

x
x

x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x

3a

3b

3c

3d

3e

x
x

x
x

x
x

3f

3g

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x

Brevard
Gulf

Jefferson, Taylor, and Wakulla

Brevard and Indian River

x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x

x
x
x
x

x
x

x
x

Collier

x
x

4
x

Lee
Leon and Liberty

Alachua
Lee
Manatee and Sarasota

2d

x
x

2a

205

IBA Name
Southern Atlantic Migrant
Stopover
Ten Thousand Islands National
Wildlife Refuge
Turkey Creek Sanctuary
Upper St. Johns River Basin
Volusia County Colony Islands
Walton County Beaches
WekivaOcala Greenway
Wekiwa Basin GEOpark
William Beardall Tosohatchee
State Reserve
WithlacoocheePanasoffkeeBig
Scrub
Withlacoochee State Forest

County(ies)

1a

1b

2a

2b

2c

2d

3a

3b

3c

Broward and Palm Beach


Collier
Brevard
Brevard, Indian River, Orange,
Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia
Volusia
Walton
Lake and Volusia
Lake, Orange, and Seminole

x
x

3d

3e

3f

3g

x
x

x
x
x

Brevard and Orange


Citrus, Marion, and Sumter

x
x
x

x
x

x
Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter

x
x

206

APPENDIX 1: SELECTED SITES NOT ACCEPTED AS IBAs


Of the 141 sites nominated as Important Bird Areas in Florida, 128 were accepted as parts of 100 IBAs.
The remaining 13 sites were rejected. Eight of these (not described here) did not support significant
populations of any species or an exceptional richness of species. Two other sites discussed below were
rejected because no avian data accompanied the nomination form; these sites were recent state
acquisitions that had not yet been subject to detailed survey. Both of these sites seem to be good
candidates for future IBAs if significant avian data are gathered. Members of FOS and Audubon should
assist with gathering the necessary data that may allow future designation as IBAs.
Three other sites nominated as potential IBAs were rejected because of conservation concerns.
The Belle Glade Agricultural Fields nomination is described below, while the other two sites will be only
briefly described here. One site was a 445-ac (178-ha) wetlands mitigation bank. One member of the
Executive Committee felt that designating a mitigation bank as an IBA might encourage continued loss of
natural wetlands in the region. The other site was a 95-ac (38-ha) beachfront park that receives more than
3 million recreationists annually. This park supported a colony of 285 pairs of Black Skimmers in 1999
(20% of the statewide total), but no birds bred in 2000, 2001, or 2002. The nesting area was roped off, but
human and dog intrusion was severe and likely contributed to the abandonment of the colony. Thus, the
Committee chose to reject this park as an IBA.
ANDREWS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA (3501 ac; 1416 ha; Levy County) contains one of
the largest remaining tracts of old-growth temperate hammock in Florida. It fronts the Suwannee River
and is less than 7 mi (11 km) north of the Big Bend Ecosystem IBA. Native richness of 73 species could
be increased considerably with surveys targeting Neotropical migrants. OWNERSHIP: FWC.
BELLE GLADE AGRICULTURAL FIELDS (at least several hundred acres; >200 ha?; Palm Beach
County). These fields, formerly Everglades marshland, are part of the Everglades Agricultural Area, to
which birders have some access. When the fields are flooded following harvest, from late summer
through early fall, they support thousands of wading birds and shorebirds. Between 24 July and 10
September 1977, it was estimated that more than 120,000 shorebirds used 2000 ac (809 ha) of flooded
fields, including 58,706 shorebirds on the latter date (Sykes and Hunter 1978. Some daily counts were
staggering: 2480 Wood Storks, 22,500 Lesser Yellowlegs, 12,450 Least Sandpipers and 10,900 other
peeps, and 4800 Short-billed Dowitchers (Sykes and Hunter 1978). During fall 2000, daily counts of
wading birds included 3000 Great Egrets, 915 Snowy Egrets, and 418 Roseate Spoonbills. OWNERSHIP:
private.
This was a unique case for the Executive Committee. On the one hand, the site may be the most
important and predictable inland site in Florida for migrant shorebirds, and some of the daily shorebird
counts are record-high counts for Florida. (According to criteria of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird
Reserve Network, the Belle Glade agricultural fields represent an internationally significant shorebird
stopover site). However, unlike recently acquired farmland at Lake Apopka and Emeralda Marshboth
IBAsthe Belle Glade farmland remains in private ownership and is managed solely for agriculture. The
fields are flooded to prevent subsidence of the muck soil, and to kill nematodes, which feed on the roots
of plants. Use of the fields by wading birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds represents a coincidence. The
Committee was concerned that birds foraging in the fields would be exposed to pesticide contamination.
Therefore, this site was rejected as an IBA.
Large areas of the Everglades Agricultural Area are being purchased to be converted to water
storage areas as part of Everglades restoration. Perhaps some type of shallow-water management
could be devised during summer and fall to benefit foraging wading birds and larids, and especially
migratory shorebirds.

207

ETONIAH CREEK STATE FOREST (9221 ac; 3731 ha acquired, with about 40,000 additional ac;
16,188 ha sought for acquisition; Clay and Putnam counties). A large area of disturbed pine flatwoods
and fire-suppressed sandhills and oak scrub habitats in n-cen. Florida. If acquired in its entirety, it would
add more than 100 mi2 (256 km2) of habitats contiguous with Ocala National Forest to the south. One
group of Florida Scrub-Jays was known to occur (Putnam #1 in Cox 1987, Putnam #4 in Pranty 1996a),
but this group has been extirpated for nearly 30 years. However, many patches of xeric oak scrub
apparently still remain, and these possibly could be managed for the re-introduction of a viable population
of scrub-jays into Putnam County. The sandhills community is badly fire-suppressed and invaded by sand
pines. Forestry staff is restoring frequent fires to the sandhills, removing sand pines in sandhills, and
removing some slash pines to restore stands of longleaf pine. The forest contains pockets of faunal
refugia, such as an Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) swamp along Deep Creek, which is
believed to be several hundred miles (and km) from the nearest known populations in the Panhandle and
north of Florida. Etoniah false rosemary (Conradina etonia), a federally Endangered species described
near Florahome in 1990, was found onsite in 1997 (Kral and McCartney 1991). The EtoniahCross
Florida Greenway CARLFF Project is deemed important for the continued survival of black bears in the
region. Eight archaeological sites are present. OWNERSHIP: DOF (state forest) and private owners
(remaining acreage of the EtoniahCross Florida Greenway CARLFF Project).

208

APPENDIX 2: ENGLISH AND SCIENTIFIC NAMES OF ALL BIRDS


English names of subspecies are in quotation marks
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)
American Wigeon (Anas americana)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula)
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)
Redhead (Aythya americana)
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra)
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster)
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)
Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens)
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great White Heron (Ardea herodias occidentalis)
Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)
White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
Coopers Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)

209

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus)


Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Southeastern American Kestrel (Falco sparverius paulus)
Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)
Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)
Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis)
Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)
King Rail (Rallus elegans)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
American Coot (Fulica americana)
Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)
Greater Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis tabida)
Florida Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis pratensis)
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Wilsons Plover (Charadrius wilsonia)
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)
Willet (Tringa semipalmatus)
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)
White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus)
Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
Wilsons Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus)
Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus)
Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus)
Least Tern (Sternula antillarum)
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)

210

Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)


Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala)
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)
Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina)
Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor)
Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio)
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
Cuban Emerald (Chlorostilbon ricordii)
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens)
Cuban Pewee (Contopus caribaeus)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)
La Sagras Flycatcher (Myiarchus sagrae)
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)
Thick-billed Vireo (Vireo crassirostris)
Least Bells Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus)
Black-capped Vireo (Vireo atricapillus)
Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)
Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo altiloquus)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Florida Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)

211

Purple Martin (Progne subis)


Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla)
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
Marians Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris marianae)
Worthingtons Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris griseus)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)
Gray-cheeked Thrush (Catharus minimus)
Swainsons Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)
Bachmans Warbler (Vermivora bachmanii)
Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera)
Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)
Northern Parula (Parula americana)
Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)
Cuban Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia gundlachii)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica)
Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia)
Cape May Warbler (Dendroica tigrina)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendroica caerulescens)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens)
Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca)
Yellow-throated Warbler (Dendroica dominica)
Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus)
Kirtlands Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii)
Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor)
Florida Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor paludicola)
Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum)
Bay-breasted Warbler (Dendroica castanea)
Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata)
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)

212

Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus)


Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus)
Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)
Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus)
Connecticut Warbler (Oporornis agilis)
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina)
Western Spindalis (Spindalis zena)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Bachmans Sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis)
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus)
Henslows Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
Le Contes Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii)
Nelsons Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni)
Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus)
Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus)
Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis)
Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens)
MacGillivrays Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus macgillivraii)
Scotts Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus scottii)
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Dickcissel (Spiza americana)
Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)
Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)
Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)
Common Redpoll (Acanthiss flammea)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

213

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