Yellow River: Welannee
Protecting Critical ecosystems in the Florida Panhandle
Spanning 7,200 acres in Okaloosa County, our Welannee Watershed Forest project will complete the protection of most of both sides of the upper Yellow River. A conservation easement on this property will protect land along the Yellow River from the Georgia state line south to Pensacola Bay. The first phase of this project ranked first for funding by the USDA Forest Legacy Program due to its incredible conservation value. It is already being managed under a very active prescribed fire regime, with the longleaf burned on a two-year rotation and other upland areas burned on a three-year rotation.
In addition to providing timber resources as loblolly pine is harvested, it is being restored to longleaf pine habitat that will improve game management in the region. As a service to the community, the owner hosts Operation Outdoor Freedom hunts for our country’s Wounded Warriors, as well as youth wildlife hunts in accordance with a plan developed with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Yellow River is critical to the ecosystems in the Florida Panhandle. Protection of this project contributes to its long-term scenic values for recreation and water quality. It also benefits important freshwater species like the Gulf sturgeon. It also provides critical connections to other protected lands forming a regional conservation corridor. The southern boundary of the property borders the Yellow River Water Management Area, owned by the Northwest Florida Water Management District, north of Eglin Air Force Base. The northern boundary extends to the Conecuh National Forest.