Help plan the future of Aucilla Wildlife Management Area

May 7, 2015

News Release

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291

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A 10-year plan for the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area will be presented at a public hearing beginning at 7 p.m. May 12 at the Jefferson County Courthouse Annex, 435 W. Walnut Street, Monticello.

The public is invited to attend, ask questions and comment.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff will present the draft land management plan for the Aucilla WMA. For more information on the upcoming public hearing, go to MyFWC.com/Conservation and select “Terrestrial Programs” then “Management Plans.”

The Aucilla WMA includes the spring-fed Wacissa River and the Aucilla River with its dark tannic waters that tunnel underground in some areas, and both are state-designated paddling trails. This WMA is located inland of Apalachee Bay at the junction of Highway 98 and State Road 59 and spans portions of both Jefferson and Taylor counties.

People come to the Aucilla WMA for outdoor recreation, including freshwater fishing, boating and paddling, hiking, hunting, wildlife viewing, photography, primitive camping and biking. The WMA includes a portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail and sites on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

The Catesby’s lily, eastern indigo snake, wood stork, little blue heron, northern river otter, swallow-tailed kite, limpkin and American alligator are among the many native species living here. Swamps along the Wacissa River within the Aucilla WMA, including the Western Sloughs, also provide natural filtering of water flowing into the Wacissa and Aucilla Rivers and the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Aucilla WMA includes the Wacissa and Aucilla Rivers, along with dozens of pristine freshwater creeks and springs. This WMA also is managed to ensure the conservation of fish and wildlife resources, natural and cultural resources, and for quality fish and wildlife-based public outdoor recreation,” said Rebecca Shelton, FWC land conservation planner. “This draft plan will provide guidance on how we intend to do that.”

All lands purchased with public funds must have a management plan that ensures the property will be managed in a manner that is consistent with the intended purposes of the purchase.

Hunting and fishing regulations are not included in this plan or meeting; those are addressed through a separate public process.

To obtain a copy of the draft land management prospectus for the Aucilla WMA, call Dylan Imlah at 850-487-7063 or email Dylan.Imlah@MyFWC.com.

For more information and background on management plans and their goals, visit MyFWC.com/Conservation and select “Terrestrial Conservation Programs” then “Management Plans.”

For more on the Aucilla WMA, go to MyFWC.com and select “Wildlife Viewing” then “Wildlife Management Areas.”

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