Important Bird Areas

Corkscrew Swamp Watershed

Florida

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

In southeastern Lee County and northwestern Collier County, from County Road 850 south in a narrow band through Camp Keatis Swamp west of State Road 29 to Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. Contiguous with the Big Cypress Swamp Watershed IBA to the south.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the most significant natural areas in Florida, containing the largest virgin cypress swamp remaining in North America. The Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Project was designed to further protect the Sanctuary by purchasing surrounding habitats, including a direct link to conservation areas to the south. Corkscrew Swamp receives 100,000 recreationists annually and contains an environmental education center for about 6000 schoolchildren each year. Data for the CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area were taken from the management plan.

Ownership: National Audubon Society (Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary), South Florida Water Management District (acquired acreage of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed CARLFF Project), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed CARLFF Project)

Nominator: Andrew Mackie, formerly of Audubon of Florida, and Bill Pranty, Audubon of Florida
State coordinator: Bill Pranty

Ornithological Summary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary contains what often is the nation's largest Wood Stork rookery, although nesting success (which is dependent on local water levels) is extremely variable. The colony has been monitored annually since 1958. The Sanctuary also supports a diversity of Neotropical migrants, large numbers of wintering landbirds, and the third-largest Swallow-tailed Kite roost in the United States. Diversity of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is 218 native species; CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area added only one exotic species to the overall list.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: Wood Stork, 1997-2001 - mean of 478 nests (range of 0-31% (B))
Wood Warbler Diversity - 34 species
Long-term Research, since 1958 - Wood Stork monitoring
Diversity - 218 natives, 4 exotics

CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area:
Wading Birds:
Mar 1995 - 912 observed, 6100 estimated (NB)
Aug 1995 - 1482 observed, 9900 estimated (NB)
Mar 1996 - 756 observed, 5000 estimated (NB)
Aug 1996 - 1501 observed, 10,000 estimated (NB)
Mar 1997 - 1232 observed, 8200 estimated (NB)

Diversity, 2001 list - 110 natives, 2 exotics

Conservation Issues

Thanks to the efforts of the staff and volunteers at Audubon?s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary many of the environmental and wildlife threats are adverted or minimized. The Corkscrew Watershed however has experienced severe modification over the years. Recent efforts focused on restoration of the Everglades, back to its natural waterflow, will help mitigate some of the human disturbance the area has received over the years.

If acquisition efforts of the CARL project are successful, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and adjacent lands will be linked directly with conservation areas to the south, such as Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. This would provide for additional habitat protection for the birds, as well as other rare and endangered wildlife.

Ownership

National Audubon Society (Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary), South Florida Water Management District (acquired acreage of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed CARL?FF Project), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed CARL?FF Project)

Habitat

*slash pine flatwoods, *cypress swamp, *sawgrass marsh, temperate hammock, agricultural fields, freshwater marsh, lacustrine, artificial

Land Use

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: *conservation, environmental education. Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed CARL?FF Project: *conservation, recreation, hunting, grazing.