Important Bird Areas

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge


Along the Gulf of Mexico in southern Wakulla County, extreme southern Jefferson County, and extreme northwestern Taylor County, south of U.S. Highway 98. Parts are contiguous with the Apalachicola and Tates Hell Forests IBA to the west and northwest and the Big Bend Ecosystem IBA to the east.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1931 to provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl. It consists of four units: Aucilla River, Panacea, St. Marks, and Wakulla. The Refuge receives 250,000 recreationists and 1000 hunters annually.

The refuge protects over 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. ? The St. Marks Lighthouse was built in 1831 and remains in use today.

Ornithological Summary

The Refuge supports a great variety of aquatic birds, including wading birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Coastal hammocks and upland forests are important for Neotropical migrants.

Conservation Issues

human disturbance, offsite development, altered hydrology

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at the Refuge are ?demographically and geographically connected? to others on nearby public lands such as Ochlockonee River State Park and Apalachicola National Forest. Refuge biologists are assisting with monitoring all Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in the region. They 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.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


*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