- Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge is separated into three land masses by two creeks. Okaktuppa Creek divides the North End from the Middle Swamp and Turkey Creek separates the Middle Swamp from the South End.
Choctaw NWR was established on land that was purchased as part of a Corps of Engineers water development project called the Coffeeville Lock and Dam in the mid 1950's. The Department of the Interior acquired the management rights from the Corps and began refuge management practices during January, 1964.
Approximately 1,802 acres of the refuge lies in lakes, sloughs and creeks. Only 151 acres of the refuge is located in openings. The remaining 2,265 acres is composed of typical bottomland hardwood associated with the Tombigbee River Basin.
The Tupelo Gum Natural Area (SAF 103), located in the Middle Swamp, is the only area set aside as a unique part of the refuge. It was established in 1976 and consists of 30 acres of black gum and 5 acres of bald cypress.
The Choctaw NWR also includes eight perpetual conservation easements, scattered in Sumter, Conecuh, and Monroe counties of Alabama , which total an additional 236 acres.
The refuge was established as a protected wintering area for waterfowl and wood duck reproduction. Natural sloughs, creeks and lakes, in conjunction with bottomland hardwoods and pine ridges, create a mixture of wildlife habitat. This habitat diversity produces an abundance of wildlife.
Deer, turkey, raccoon, rabbit, squirrel and wood duck thrive in the bottomland hardwoods. Endangered or threatened species such as American alligators, bald eagles and wood storks also have an abundance of wetland habitat available.
- Fern Cave NWR is located two miles north of Paint Rock, Alabama. The Refuge borders Paint Rock River on the south and consists of upland hardwoods and limestone rock out crops.
From November until March wintering waterfowl are present. As the waterfowl depart in the spring, wading bird use increases. The sloughs, creeks and lakes also provide excellent habitat for game fish, and aquatic mammals such as river otter, beaver, nutria and mink.
The cave has five hidden entrances and is critical habitat for endangered gray and Indiana bats. Over a million gray bats hibernate in Fern Cave, as do several hundred endangered Indiana bats. Fern Cave also has the threatened American hart's tongue fern at one of its entrances.- Wheeler Refuge supports the southernmost and Alabama's only significant concentration of wintering Canada geese. It also serves as winter habitat for the State's largest duck population.
Located in an urban area Wheeler Refuge has a large public use and environmental education program.