Area 1

Water Conservation Area 1 (WCA-1), also known as the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refugee, includes 227 square miles of Everglades wetland habitat. This area represents one of the last remnants of northern Everglades habitat. WCA-1 is part of the historic Everglades system that once stretched from the south shore of Lake Okeechobee 90 miles south to the mangrove estuaries of Florida Bay. A labyrinth of small tree islands set in a matrix of wet prairies, sawgrass ridges and aquatic slough communities comprising about 98 percent of the refuge characterizes its interior. The western and southern portions of the refuge open up to large expanses of sawgrass prairie, interspersed with prairie, slough, and tree island communities more typical of other portions of the Everglades. The refuge also contains a 400-acre cypress swamp.

Management Objectives of the Refuge

To provide optimum habitat and wildlife protection for endangered and threatened species native to the Everglades.

To provide wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl.

To provide habitat for a natural diversity of wildlife species.

To provide opportunities for environmental education, interpretation, and wildlife-oriented activities.

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