On May 5 I joined a group paddling on the Wacissa River and Slave Canal. This group was organized by the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy to highlight the need to conserve about 2000 acres of hardwood swamp situated between the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area. This parcel is with the missing link between the St. Marks NWR and Aucilla WMA and is one of largest remaining tracts of unprotected bottomland hardwood forests along Florida’s Big Bend Gulf Coast. It provides significant habitat for wading birds, fish, amphibians, and many other species including manatee and black bear. It also contains one the oldest sites of human habitation in North America and many middens (mounds).
Defenders is working to protect a wildlife habitat network stretching throughout the Florida state. This tract encompassing the Aucilla and Wacissa Rivers is part of the wildlife habitat network in northwest Florida extending from the Suwannee River, along the Big Bend coast and across the panhandle to the Perdido River on the Florida-Alabama state line.