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FWC drawdown of Hickory Mound Impoundment to improve habitat

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists are planning a drawdown – lowering the water level – of the Hickory Mound Impoundment this week.

The impoundment area is in the Hickory Mound Unit of the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area in Taylor County.

According to Sharon Hester, a biologist at the Big Bend Field Office in Perry, the purpose of the drawdown is to allow the area to dry out so a prescribed burn can be conducted.

“The main objectives of this burn are to improve wildlife habitat by reducing residual emergent vegetation, creating openings, discouraging less desirable plants, and encouraging growth of desirable plants,” Hester said.  “Prescribed burning increases the abundance of food plants, increasing flowering and seed production, as well as creating openings, all of which benefit a wide array of native wildlife species.”

The prescribed burn is scheduled to occur within the next month.

FWC drawdown of Hickory Mound Impoundment to improve habitat

“As soon as the prescribed burn is completed, we’ll bring the water level back up immediately afterward,” Hester said.

The impoundment will continue to be open to the public as usual, but the shallow water will make it more difficult to crab and fish in many areas on the interior side of the dike.

“Wildlife viewing opportunities will still be abundant during this drawdown,” Hester said.  “However, the water will still be deep enough to fish during the appropriate tides on the outside of the dike.”

While these management actions may impact some recreational opportunities during the short-term, the long term benefits will greatly improve wildlife habitat and future recreation opportunities at the Hickory Mound Impoundment.