Audubon Florida News

Florida Audubon Society Completes Acquisition of Newest Sanctuary in the Chassahowitzka Marsh

posted on December 16, 2015 in Coastal Conservation,Land Conservation,Wildlife

John Emory Cason SanctuaryThe U.S. Family Foundation has completed a transaction deeding 80 acres of pristine coastal marsh and hammock habitat in Citrus County to the Florida Audubon Society.

Located just southwest of the community of Homosassa and immediately north of the boundary of Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, the new Audubon property will be known as the “John Emory Cason, Jr. Bird Sanctuary” in honor of its former owner.

John Emory Cason Jr, who passed away in 2012, was a lifelong resident of Inverness, Florida and an avid outdoorsman and well-known local farmer. Cason had a wish that his coastal property be preserved forever as a sanctuary in the hands of an owner who would guarantee its permanent protection.

The location of the property is far out in the marsh west of U.S. 19 and has no road access, not even walkable access from adjacent roads – the closest being S. Rooks Drive in Homosassa. Other than reaching the sanctuary via airboat or kayak, the only visitors this new sanctuary will see are the birds themselves, and there will be plenty of them.

Over 200 species of coastal birds have been documented by the staff at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. A copy of the bird checklist can be downloaded here.

Roseate SpoonbillsCharles Lee, who manages sanctuary properties for the Florida Audubon Society, Inc., commented, “This is one of the most diverse and compellingly beautiful tracts of coastal marsh and hammock I have seen. It has wide open marshes and some pockets of open water against a backdrop of towering sabal palms at the edge of the hardwood hammock. There are Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks in the marsh and a wide variety of birds of prey, such as Bald Eagles, Coopers Hawks, Red Shouldered Hawks, and several species of owls that patrol the edge of the forest and marsh looking for their next meal. It is truly an extraordinary place”.

The Florida Audubon Society, Inc accepts the donation of sanctuary properties that meet its standards for ecological value and fit within the organization’s management capabilities. As the government programs that purchase and conserve land have become less reliable, Audubon seeks wildlife sanctuary donations from individuals who want to preserve their land. The donation of land and the donation of cash and securities are tax deductible.

For more information, please contact Audubon’s Charles Lee at

1 Comment

  1. Are there Whooping Cranes visiting subject property?

    Comment by Tom Wasilewski — December 16, 2015 @ 12:08 pm

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