The Apalachicola River and its associated streams,
marshes, and floodplain forests provide habitat for a variety of
sport and commercial fish populations. Apalachicola Bay produces
over 90 percent of Florida's oysters and is a major nursery for
blue crabs and marine finfishes. Unique and outstanding wildlife
habitat, including that of some rare and endangered species, is
also found in the area.
Some portions of the area have been heavily
disturbed as a result of agriculture and silviculture (tree
farming). Cut-over timber plantations in Franklin County that were
not reforested have some natural pine regeneration and a shrub
layer of titi, myrtle, gallberry, and other native woody species.
The old fields south of Howard Creek in Gulf County have been
invaded by exotics and native species such as titi, wax myrtle, and
gallberry. Apalachicola River WEA is home to several rare
The upland plant communities of the Apalachicola
River WEA were historically pine flatwoods with a much more open
and grassy appearance than they have today. Slash pine and
evergreen shrubs now dominate, the legacy of intensive timbering,
extensive pine plantations, and hydrological alterations.
Commercial thinning, hydrologic restoration, and reintroduction of
a natural fire regime will be required to restore the natural
vegetative communities and to enhance wildlife habitat. Mesic
(moist) flatwoods now planted with slash pine will eventually be
reforested with longleaf pine.
In cooperation with the Florida Forest Service, the
FWC is restoring the forests on selected upland sites. In
cooperation with Northwest
Florida Water Management District and the Corps of Engineers,
FWC is working to re-establish natural water flow. Major hydrologic
restoration has already occurred on the Saul Creek, Bloody Bluff,
Sand Beach, and Quinn tracts.