Important Bird Areas

Upper St. Johns River Basin

Florida

Blue Cypress Conservation Area, 20062 ha
Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area, 2588 ha
Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area, 8333 ha
River Lakes Conservation Area, 13933 ha
Seminole Ranch Conservation Area, 14750 ha
Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area, 22108 ha

Along the St. Johns River from southwestern Indian River County northward through Brevard, eastern Orange, southeastern Seminole, and southern Volusia counties, with a very small portion in northeastern Osceola County. The river basin lies generally west of Interstate 95 and is bounded on the south by Florida's Turnpike and on the north by State Road 46. Contiguous with the William Beardall Tosohatchee State Reserve IBA to the west, and the Brevard Scrub Ecosystem and St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge IBAs to the east.

This vast area protects over 80 miles (128 km) of river, floodplain marshes, and adjacent uplands along the upper St. Johns River, which flows north 320 miles (512 km) and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville. All sites are conservation areas owned and managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, and, from south to north are: Fort Drum Marsh, Blue Cypress, Three Forks Marsh, River Lakes, Canaveral Marshes, and Seminole Ranch. Combined, the conservation areas 15001700 hunters annually; the number of other recreationists is not known.

Ornithological Summary

This IBA supports large numbers of breeding wading birds, and huge numbers of foraging individuals. It also attracts large numbers of wintering waterfowl, and also is important to raptors such as Snail Kites and Swallow-tailed Kites.

Conservation Issues

exotic plants, habitat succession, runoff

The Upper St. Johns River Basin encompasses several conservation areas of the St. Johns River Water Management District. Each has its own management plan that is updated periodically. Management goals are to provide for water resource conservation, restoration and enhancement of water recharge areas and wetlands, water quality improvement, and enhanced public access and recreation. ? Exotic plants include hydrilla, common water-hyacinth, and cogongrass. The District has an intensive control program to keep these and other invasive plants at a maintenance control level. ? The District has an aggressive prescribed fire program aimed in part at maintaining or restoring habitats to their historic fire regimes. ? The District also maintains an extensive network of water quality sampling sites throughout the basin, and is striving to improve water quality.

Habitat

*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