The Department of Natural Resources announced the closing of the final phase of land purchased for the Sansavilla Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in a ribbon cutting ceremony today. The ceremony took place at 1:00 PM on site with a program of speakers representing many of the partners on the project: The Conservation Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in addition to DNR Commissioner Mark Williams and Director Chuck Williams of the Georgia Forestry Commission.
Sansavilla WMA is a 19,500-acre area located in Wayne and Glynn counties. The area has been a part of the Wildlife Management Area system for more than forty years as a leased property. Its popularity stems from fishing opportunities, wildlife watching spots, canoeing, boating, and hunting for deer, turkey, and small game species. The property also includes a boat ramp for access to the Altamaha River.
The property is home to multiple wildlife species and at least seventeen federally or state-listed endangered, threatened, or species of concern. Notably, this site is considered a high priority area for the revitalization of the gopher tortoise, a species where widespread efforts are in place to preclude a federal Endangered Species Act listing. The diverse habitats, in addition to 2,600 acres of high priority Longleaf Ecosystem Restoration areas, show the value of protecting the property for the Department of Natural Resources and its partners. Georgia DNR purchased the property from The Conservation Fund with assistance from The Nature Conservancy in several phases. The purchase was funded through donations from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Knobloch Family Foundation, and grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service “Forest Legacy” program in addition to state bond dollars. Furthermore, with funding from the Department of Defense's Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program, the United States Marine Corps purchased a restricted use easement to buffer the Townsend Bombing Range. The total cost was $36,000,000.