Important Bird Areas

Babcock-Webb Ecosystem

Florida

Fred C. Babcock-Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area (Charlotte County), conservation easements on former Babcock Ranch , Yucca Pens Preserve (Lee County), Hall Ranch Florida Forever Project (Charlotte County).

Ornithological Summary

significant populations of Endangered, Threatened, and Watch List species; complete avian diversity of slash pine flatwoods species; and significant natural habitats

Fred C. Babcock?Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area supports significant populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Bachman's Sparrows, and other flatwoods species. The Babcock Ranch FF Project site supports populations of Swallow-tailed Kites, Short-tailed Hawks, Crested Caracaras, ?Florida? Sandhill Cranes, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Florida Scrub-Jays +(DEP 2002). Only a rudimentary bird list is available.

Conservation Issues

A vast (91,361 acres; 36,973 hectares) cattle ranch just east of the Wildlife Management Area was selected as a potential state acquisition project in December 2001. If successful, this acquisition will create a huge, protected area in southwestern Florida, that would extend contiguously from Charlotte Harbor to Lake Okeechobee (with the inclusion of public lands outside this IBA). The ranch owners wish to retain 27,801 acres (11,251 hectares), and are considering developing 19,890 acres (8049 hectares). Nonetheless, the FF Project boundary includes the entire ranch, with about half of the site listed as ?essential parcels? +(DEP 2002). ? 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 open condition to support Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and other fire-dependant species. ? The area used as a bombing range during World War II still contains ?several hundred? bomb craters, and may still contain high explosive bombs +().

Ownership

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Fred C. Babcock?Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area) and private owners (remaining acreage of the Babcock Ranch FF Project, Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods CARL?FF Project, and the Hall Ranch CARL?FF Project)

Habitat

*slash pine flatwoods, temperate hammock, dry prairie, fields, freshwater marsh, cattail marsh, lacustrine

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