Habitat Restoration

Rivercane restoration will reestablish critical habitat for birds, mammals, butterflies, and other creatures that live in the South River wildlife corridor. Panola Mountain State Park, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, and other connecting greenspaces make up large protected areas that provide refuge for wildlife making the South River’s wildlife corridor a critical safety-net. Habitat restoration does not just benefit one or two animals, but a whole web of life including ours.


Historical accounts along with recent surveys identify at least 23 mammal species, 16 bird species, four reptile species and seven invertebrates that occur within canebrakes. Read more about rivercane.

Common Yellowthroat Warbler

Swainson’s Warbler builds its nests in dense cane thickets is identified at the federal level as a “Bird of Conservation Concern” and listed on Audubon’s Yellow WatchList. The Swainson’s Warbler has experience a rapid decline in Georgia’s Piedmont region due to the elimination of native cane thickets in bottomland habitat.

Swamp Rabbit eats the green stems of cane, an important winter food source. It is restricted to canebrakes along the northern border of its geographic range.

Golden Mouse is attracted to the tangle habitat provided by rivercane and is a source of food for the Canebrake Rattlesnake.

Canebrake Rattlesnake, an endangered species, lives and hunts in canebrakes. Small animals that inhabit the cane are a source of food.

Beaver eats the green stems of cane, an important winter food source.

Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper preferred habitat includes moist dense woods with cane growth.

Six species of butterflies are obligate, meaning they depend on cane habitat - the Creole Pearly-Eye, Southern Pearly-Eye, Southern Swamp Skipper, Cobweb Little Skipper, Cane Little Skipper, and Yellow Little Skipper. These butterflies only lay their eggs on cane.

Canebrakes provide refuge and living quarters for black bears, bobcats, and cougars. White-tailed deer graze on tender cane shoots in early spring.  Squirrels and wild turkeys feed on the seeds of giant cane and Carolina parakeets and passenger pigeons, both now extinct, used to feed on them.

Illustrations by Phil Delestrez