The Florida Freshwater Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) scientists work with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) land managers to monitor the wildlife at DuPuis. These research and monitoring projects are lead by FWC Biologist, Valerie Sparling at DuPuis:
Red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCW), a federally-endangered species, were last observed at DuPuis in 1989. The FWC, in conjunction with the South Florida Water Management District and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a plan to reintroduce RCWs to the area. Since 2006, there have been 92 RCWs relocated from public lands in Florida and Georgia to DuPuis. An average of 45% of these woodpeckers has stayed in the area at least one year.
In addition, we have seen the number of breeding pairs and young produced increase. The graph shows this population growth from 2006 - 15. The 2015 breeding season was our most successful, with 12 breeding pairs producing 17 fledglings. During the breeding season, clusters are monitored for nests, nestlings are banded, and fledging success determined. The FWC and SFWMD conduct habitat management activities to enhance RCW habitat.
The successful relocation of RCWs at DuPuis has established an important new population in southeastern Florida as part of the Federal Recovery plan. The only other community of RCWs in southeastern Florida is at the Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Valerie thinks that it has been very rewarding to be part of the effort to successfully reintroduce RCW’s to DuPuis and watch their population grow.