Thomas M. Goodwin WMA is a popular hunting and bird-watching area, as well as the only area managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission exclusively for waterfowl. However, nearly 80 percent of the 290,000 acres of marsh in the upper basin had been diked and drained for agriculture. DU and its partners began development of 3,870 acres of moist-soil habitat, including 1,500 acres of intensively managed impoundments and 2,370 acres managed at a lower intensity as open marsh.
The WMA regularly winters thousands of waterfowl and migratory shorebirds. The lakes and marshes of the upper St. Johns River basin have long been recognized among the best wintering waterfowl habitat in Florida. Historically, peak duck numbers averaged 15,000, with populations occasionally exceeding 30,000.
Ring-necked ducks, northern pintails, American wigeon, blue-winged teal and northern shovelers are among the most abundant wintering species at Thomas M. Goodwin WMA. The upper St. Johns River basin also provides important breeding habitat for mottled ducks, wood ducks and fulvous whistling ducks.
This project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, North American Wetlands Conservation Council and Ducks Unlimited