Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Crocodile Lake, United States
MARINE PROTECTED AREA
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The Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, located in north Key Largo, less than 40 miles (60 km) south of Miami off SR 905 (Card Sound Road). The 6,686 acre (27.1 km²) refuge (located in Monroe County, Florida) opened during the year of 1980, under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. It was established in order to protect critical breeding and nesting habitat for the threatened American crocodile and other wildlife. This area also includes 650 acres (2.6 km2) of open water in and around the refuge. In addition to being one of only three breeding populations of the American crocodile, the refuge is home to many different habitat species including the tropical hardwood hammock, mangrove forest, and salt marsh. It is administered as part of the National Key Deer Refuge which is also located in southern Florida.
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge was supposed to be a residential development in the area; however, in the boating access area, dredge-spoil piled up, and as a result of the canal, it became a very important nesting area for the remaining 1400 threatened American crocodiles along with other fauna. In 1975, the American crocodiles had numbered only around 200 in population; however, as of March 20, 2007, the federal government downlisted the American crocodile from endangered to threatened, though the capturing and hunting of the crocodile is still forbidden. The American crocodiles, once ranging in great numbers, had been hunted for exporting its hide and skin. The government labeled the decreased population due to this hunting and also, to loss of habitat in the area. Among the many endangered species, the tropical hardwood hammock is being protected at the refuge (see Hardwood hammock renewal below). The Key Largo Woodrat, Key Largo Cotton Mouse, Schaus Swallowtail butterfly, Stock Island Treesnail and the Eastern Indigo Snake are also diminishing species who need the hammocks to provide the essential necessities for them. Due to certain types of development in the area, these forests' size and population of hammocks depleted, causing the population of those animals who reside in the habitat to also decline in population. Along with refuge manager Steven Klett, Project Leader Phil Frank is currently overseeing several projects and activities which have been designed to help restore the fauna and vegetation to the area. The refuge has been closed to the public because female crocodiles who give birth will leave the nest with even just one disturbance to her young or area.
The main objective of the refuge is to protect some endangered and threatened species, especially the American crocodile. The enhancement of the habitats in the area is for the benefit of the fauna found in south Florida. Some of the activities include the following:
On April 13, 2007, local volunteers Joanne Potts and Clay DeGayner discovered a Burmese python inside Crocodile Lake NWR (see photo below). The 12-pound snake was uncovered from a device used to track a Key Largo Woodrat. The digested woodrat's radio transmitter lead the researchers to the python, which experts claim is the first exotic species found on the islands. “There's a good chance we never would have found him,” said Scott Hardin, exotic-species coordinator for the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “This was always my concern, what would happen when an exotic species like the python intersects with an endangered species. Here it's happened, and it has the potential to be a serious problem.” Hardin later assumed the seven and a half foot snake was either an escaped or released pet by someone who realized the python "[had] become a burden". Walter Meshaka, senior curator for the State Museum of Pennsylvania, stated that pythons are very good swimmers and, therefore, it seemed reasonable to assume it had swam from the Everglades into the Key Largo area refuge. Hardin is attempting to calculate if there are anymore pythons in the refuge and, if there are, he plans to either control or eradicate them.
Crocodile Lake Refuge Sign.
Access To Nesting Areas.
Creating Nesting Sites For Crocodiles.
Disturbed Man-Made Channels.
Final Nesting Site For Crocodiles.
Finished Home Structure for Key Largo Woodrat.
Removing Exotic Vegetation from the Area.
Removing Other Exotics.
Structuring Home for Woodrats among the Hardwood Hammocks.
Volunteers Help with Levy Restoration.
Burmese python found in refuge.
Soldier Key • Ragged Keys • Boca Chita Key • Sands Key • Elliott Key • Adams Key • Caesar's Rock • Meig's Key • Rubicon Keys • Reid Key • Porgy Key • Totten Key • Old Rhodes Key • City of Islandia
Key Largo (island) • Key Largo (CDP) • North Key Largo (CDP) • Tavernier (CDP) • Plantation Key (island) • Plantation Key (former CDP) • Windley Key • Upper Matecumbe Key • Tea Table Key • Indian Key • Lignumvitae Key • Lower Matecumbe Key • Village of Islamorada
Craig Key • Fiesta Key • Long Key • City of Layton • Conch Key • Little Conch Key • Duck Key (island) • Duck Key (CDP) • Grassy Key • Crawl Key • Long Point Key • Fat Deer Key • Key Vaca • City of Marathon • City of Key Colony Beach • Boot Key • Knight's Key
Pigeon Key • Money Key • Little Duck Key • Missouri Key • Ohio Key • Sunshine Key • Bahia Honda Key • Spanish Harbor Key • Scout Key (West Summerland Key) • No Name Key • Big Pine Key (CDP) • Little Torch Key • Middle Torch Key • Big Torch Key • Ramrod Key • Summerland Key • Knockemdown Key • Cudjoe Key (CDP) • Sugarloaf Key • Park Key • Lower Sugarloaf Key • Saddlebunch Keys • Shark Key • Geiger Key • Big Coppitt Key (island) • Big Coppitt Key (CDP) • East Rockland Key • Rockland Key • Boca Chica Key • Raccoon Key • Stock Island (island) • Stock Island (CDP) • Key West (island) • Key West (city) • Sigsbee Park • Fleming Key • Sunset Key • Wisteria Island
Mule Keys (with Mule Key • Crawfish Key • Archer Key • Joe Ingram Key • Big Mullet Key • Barracouta Key • Cottrell Key • Man Key • Little Mullet Key • Ballast Key • Woman Key • Boca Grande Key) • Marquesas Keys • Dry Tortugas • Tortugas Bank
Florida Bay • Dry Tortugas National Park • Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary • National Key Deer Refuge • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park • Biscayne Bay • Biscayne National Park • Key West National Wildlife Refuge • Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge • Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Monroe County • Conch Republic • Overseas Highway • Overseas Railroad • Card Sound Bridge • Seven Mile Bridge • Bahia Honda Rail Bridge • Theater of the Sea • Hurricane Wilma • Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 • Key Deer • Key lime pie • Florida Keys Keynoter • Florida Keys Reef Tract • Key West Citizen
Biscayne National Park • Dry Tortugas National Park • Everglades National Park
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument • Fort Matanzas National Monument • De Soto National Memorial • Fort Caroline National Memorial
Apalachicola • Choctawhatchee • Ocala • Osceola
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary • Big Cypress National Preserve • Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve •Canaveral National Seashore • Gulf Islands National Seashore •Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve • Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve • Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Amelia Island • Anastasia • Avalon • Bahia Honda • Bald Point • Big Lagoon • Big Talbot Island • Bill Baggs Cape Florida • Bulow Creek • Caladesi Island • Camp Helen • Cayo Costa • Collier-Seminole • Curry Hammock • Delnor-Wiggins Pass • Devil's Millhopper • Don Pedro Island • Eden Gardens • Egmont Key • Falling Waters • Faver-Dykes • Florida Caverns • Fort Clinch • Fort Cooper • Fort George Island • Fort Pierce Inlet • Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou • Gasparilla Island • George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier • Highlands Hammock • Hontoon Island • Hugh Taylor Birch • John D. MacArthur Beach • John Pennekamp Coral Reef • John U. Lloyd Beach • Jonathan Dickinson • Little Talbot Island • Long Key • Lovers Key / Carl E. Johnson • Mike Roess Gold Head Branch • Navarre Beach • North Peninsula • O'Leno • Oscar Scherer • Ravine Gardens • River Bluff Picnic Site • Sebastian Inlet • Skyway Fishing Pier • St. George Island • St. Joseph Peninsula • Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center • Stump Pass Beach • Tomoka • Torreya • Windley Key Fossil Reef
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens • Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock • Lignumvitae Key • Washington Oaks State Gardens
Deer Lake • Lake Griffin • Lake June in Winter Scrub • Lake Kissimmee • Lake Louisa • Lake Manatee • Lake Talquin • Alafia River • Blackwater River • Econfina River • Guana River • Hillsborough River • Little Manatee River • Myakka River • Ochlockonee River • Silver River • Suwannee River • Blue Spring • De Leon Springs • Edward Ball Wakulla Springs • Fanning Springs • Homosassa Springs Wildlife • Ichetucknee Springs • Lafayette Blue Springs • Madison Blue Springs • Manatee Springs • Peacock Springs • Rainbow Springs • Troy Springs • Weeki Wachee Springs • Wekiwa Springs • Werner-Boyce Salt Springs
Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek • Dead Lakes • Dunns Creek • Gamble Rogers Memorial • Grayton Beach • Henderson Beach • Honeymoon Island • Oleta River • Perdido Key • Ponce de Leon Springs • St. Andrews • Three Rivers
Cedar Key Museum • Constitution Convention Museum • Forest Capital Museum • John Gorrie State Museum • Ybor City Museum • The Barnacle • Bulow Plantation Ruins • Dade Battlefield • DeSoto Site • Dudley Farm • Fort Foster • Fort Mose • Fort Zachary Taylor • Gamble Plantation • Indian Key • Koreshan • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Homestead • Natural Bridge Battlefield • Olustee Battlefield • Orman House • Paynes Creek • San Marcos de Apalache • Yellow Bluff Fort • Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins • Crystal River • Lake Jackson Mounds • Letchworth Mounds • Madira Bickel Mound • Mound Key • San Pedro Underwater
Anclote Key • Cedar Key Scrub • Charlotte Harbor • Crystal River • Estero Bay • Fakahatchee Strand • Grassy Lake • Hal Scott • Kissimmee Prairie • Lower Wekiva River • Paynes Prairie • Pumpkin Hill Creek • River Rise • Rock Springs Run • San Felasco Hammock • Savannas • Seabranch • St. Lucie Inlet • St. Sebastian River • Tarkiln Bayou • Topsail Hill • Tosohatchee • Waccasassa Bay • Yellow River Marsh
Gainesville-Hawthorne • General James A. Van Fleet • Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail • Withlacoochee
Belmore • Big Shoals Public Lands • Blackwater River • Carl Duval Moore • Cary • Cottage Hill • Deep Creek • Etoniah Creek • Four Creeks • Goethe • Holopaw • Indian Lake • Jennings • John Bethea • Lake George • Lake Talquin • Lake Wales Ridge • Little Big Econ • Matanzas • Myakka • Okaloacoochee Slough • Picayune Strand • Pine Log • Point Washington • Ralph E. Simmons Memorial • Ross Prairie • Seminole • Tate's Hell • Tiger Bay • Twin Rivers • Wakulla • Watson Island • Welaka • Withlacoochee
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