What We Do
The refuge relies on a variety of tools to manage and maintain habitats across the refuge’s landscape. Prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, water level manipulations and invasive exotic plant control are regularly required to maintain and enhance habitat for the refuge’s wild inhabitants.
Prescribed fire helps enhance and maintain native vegetative communities that are dependent upon or positively influenced by fire and for the benefit of wildlife. Regular and timely prescribed fire maintains appropriate habitat , reduces woody encroachment in fresh and brackish water wetlands, and promotes nutrient cycling. Regular prescribed fire also reduces the build-up of excessive fuels, minimizing the risk of catastrophic wildfires which can be detrimental to both wildlife and humans.
While many habitat management goals can be achieved through the use of prescribed fire, mechanical treatments (including hand felling, roller chopping, and tree shearing) can be utilized to aid restoration of upland habitats that have become overgrown due to historic fire exclusion.
Seasonal water level manipulation is utilized to manage many of the refuge’s 51 impoundments. These manipulations can provide benefits to wading birds, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds and other wildlife. At the same time, water level management aids in mosquito control for both the Kennedy Space Center and the surrounding communities.
An important part of refuge management is the control invasive exotic vegetation. Control can be achieved through a combination of careful herbicide application, bio-control and prescribed fire.
Management and Conservation
Law enforcement is an integral part of managing the National Wildlife Refuge System. Refuge law enforcement officers are responsible for upholding federal laws and regulations that protect natural resources, the public, and employees. In addition to the protection of the refuge, Officers protect refuge visitors and employees. They also strive to assist visitors in understanding refuge laws, regulations, and the reasons for them.