Escambia County’s Natural History
Escambia is the 18th largest county in the state of Florida and home to one of the state’s larger estuarine systems; Pensacola Bay. Of the 876 mi2 of area in the county, 662 mi2 is dry ground and 213 mi2 is water. The elongated shape of the county is about 48 miles long north and south; and 20 miles wide at its widest point. It is bordered by the 35 mile long Perdido River to the west, which is also the border between Florida and Alabama. It is believed to have been named for the Spanish term for “lost” – “Perdido”. On the eastern border is theEscambia River; whose Florida section is 54 miles. This is the fourth largest river in the state of Florida and begins near Union Springs, Alabama. The origin of the name “Escambia” is unknown but believed to be a Native American term.
The land mass within the county harbors a variety of ecosystems such as pine forests, hardwood hammocks, sand hills, palmetto flatwoods, and bogs. The majority of it is privately owned and what is public primarily belongs to the state of Florida. The wet areas include swamps, marshes, floodplains, bayous, and the 144 mi2 Pensacola Bay system; which includes Pensacola andEscambia Bays in this county. It is bordered to the south by the Gulf of Mexico.
This area, along with most of the Florida panhandle, is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. This is due to the fact the area is a transition zone between the subtropical systems of peninsula part of the state and the more temperate systems from the piedmont area of central Alabama and Georgia. Most of the major rivers in the state discharge into the Gulf of Mexico in the panhandle area. This provides a highway for species to disperse and breed with subtropical ones from south Florida producing, in many cases, endemic flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. Enjoy reading about the unique places and creatures found in our county.
More about Northwest Florida – http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw269