photo Teucrium canadense
South Florida Water Management District
Teucrium canadense,
common names include Canada germander and wild basil

In geologic terms, the Everglades is young, only having formed within the last 5000 years. Rich black soil began forming and accumulating wherever sawgrass became the dominant vegetation. The black color is from charcoal from frequent lightning-caused fires.

Sawgrass marsh is the most prevalent natural community in Rotenberger WMA.  Tree islands, sloughs, wet prairies and cattail marsh are also found in the area. Drainage and hydrological isolation have led to the degradation of the area's tree islands and other natural communities.


See Major Natural Communities.




In July 2001, water from Stormwater Treatment Area 5 (STA 5) began to be discharged into the Rotenberger WMA to restore a more natural water regime. STA 5 is part of 35,000 acres of engineered wetlands designed to capture and thus reduce phosphorus in the runoff from the vast sugarcane fields south of Lake Okeechobee. Both the Commission and South Florida Water Management District conduct vegetation monitoring to determine the effects of the increased flows on the natural communities and work together to improve hydrology in the area.

photo prescribed burn

The Commission has been conducting tree island restoration activities in Rotenberger WMA since the early 1990s.  These activities include removing man-made structures and exotic vegetation and planting native tree and shrub species.  Exotic vegetation treatment is also on-going in the area.  These activities, combined with prescribed burning result in improved wildlife habitat.

FWC Facts:
Sandhill cranes stand almost 4 feet tall, and their call has a distinctive bugling or rattling sound.

Learn More at AskFWC