Description - This refuge is located in southeast Mississippi. The refuge was established for the protection and recovery of the endangered Mississippi sandhill crane and the restoration of its unique habitat, wet pine savanna.
- The refuge was established for the protection and recovery of the endangered Mississippi sandhill crane and the restoration of its unique habitat, wet pine savanna (pitcher plant bogs). It is estimated that 95-97% of this habitat has been altered and the refuge serves as a key remnant ecosystem representative.
The pine savanna has a rich herbaceous flora and includes some of the highest plant diversities, particularly carnivorous plants, in N.A. The non-migratory Mississippi sandhill crane population has increased from 30-35 cranes in the mid-70s to the current 110-130.
Major management programs include prescribed fire, mechanical and hand-removal of trees, hydrological restoration, release of captive cranes, predator control, food plots for cranes, public education, and a comprehensive monitoring program of the crane population. Fire management program supports interagency suppression in wildland-urban interface.
Recreation - There are a number of wildlife-oriented recreational activities to do on the refuge such as hiking, photography, and education. The refuge's visitor center is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and has brochures, video-viewing, and dioramas to illustrate the refuge story. A three-quarter mile nature trail adjacent to the Visitor Center winds its way through pine savanna, tidal marsh, and pine scrub.
Climate - Mississippi lies mainly in the subtropics. The climate is mild with the coldest months experiencing low temperatures near 40 degrees F. Summer temperatures frequently reach 100 degrees F, with coastal breezes providing cooling relief. Humidity is highest in August and September reaching an average close to 90%. The highest rainfall comes during the spring months, but December and January are wet, too. Expect temperatures in the northeastern region to be somewhat cooler than the rest of the state.
The refuge is located in Jackson County in extreme southeast Mississippi, about three miles north of Gautier, Mississippi. It is less than a one-hour drive west from Mobile, Alabama, and about a two-hour drive east from New Orleans. The headquarters and visitor center is located one half mile north of Interstate I-10, at Exit 61, off the Gautier-Vancleave Road.