Tosohatchee's numerous streams, freshwater marshes
and swamps, pine flatwoods, and hammocks are part of a mosaic of
publicly-owned land within the St. Johns River Watershed.
Over the past 100 years, changes in the hydrology
(amount and timing of water flow across the landscape), coupled
with fire suppression, commercial timbering operations, and cattle
grazing, have altered environmental conditions and changed the
composition of some of the plant communities. Despite these
changes, Tosohatchee has continued to attract and sustain many
resident and migratory wildlife species and offers visitors a
glimpse of wild Florida along the St. Johns River.
Restoration and management
Plant and animal communities at Tosohatchee have
been shaped by alternating cycles of fire and flood. Past human
activities - canal construction, logging, road or utility easement
construction, and the exclusion of fire - changed the landscape.
Through a contract with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI),
FWC will map both the current and the historic plant communities.
This information will be used to guide habitat management and
To correct hydrological changes, which diverted
water from the WMA and reduced water retention times and levels,
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will
continue to restore historic flows. These techniques include
filling some ditches and canals, constructing culverts and bridges
or low-water crossings on roads, and working with adjacent
landowners to improve the quality and quantity of water moving
through Tosohatchee's habitats. Freshwater marshes overgrown with
cabbage palms, wax myrtles, and other shrubs, which became
established during artificially dry conditions, are mechanically
removed just prior to burning. Pine stands that have become too
dense due to over-planting or fire exclusion are selectively
thinned and then burned to reduce accumulated debris and eliminate
encroaching hardwoods. Because the WMA is quite wet in the summer,
prescribed burns are conducted in spring and early summer when
conditions permit. Native groundcovers, important to wildlife, will
grow vigorously in these burned areas when summer rains begin.
Nonnative invasive plants such as Chinese tallow,
cogon grass, Brazilian pepper, and wild taro, are removed using
environmentally-safe chemicals and careful use of heavy
Feral hogs exist at moderate to high densities.
This nonnative species causes great harm to native wildlife
populations and vegetation when it uproots plants in search of
food. The population is controlled through hunting.