Caravelle - Habitat and Management
Nestled between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers, the Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area (CRWMA) is set within a much larger mosaic of public conservation lands that are interspersed with hardwood river swamps, pine flatwoods, punctuated with small depression ponds, hardwood hammocks and scattered pasture lands. Providing floodplain, watershed, and water quality protection for these rivers and the Cross-Florida Barge Canal, CRWMA provides habitat for a variety of imperiled and more common native wildlife species. CRWMA is managed to conserve habitat for an array of imperiled and other native wildlife including the Florida black bear, gopher tortoise, Florida sandhill crane, along with other important natural resources.
Previous owners cleared and ditched portions of Caravelle Ranch in the early 1970s to create improved pastures for cattle grazing. Today wildlife managers are restoring portions of these pastures by planting longleaf pine and removing bahia and other exotic grasses. Prescribed fire is a critical component to restoration efforts. Portions of disturbed pasture sites are used as dove fields, food plots and wildlife openings.
In addition to the management work described here, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rely on a wide range of techniques to ensure that natural areas throughout the state stay healthy for wildlife and inviting to visitors.