The Altamaha River Corridor is bounded by the Alapaha River and follows the Lower Ocmulgee River, Lower Oconee and the mighty Altamaha River. Within this corridor are 11 Georgia counties: Telfair, Appling, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Long, McIntosh, Montgomery, Wheeler, Tattnall, Toombs and Wayne. The corridor stretches from the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve in Telfair County to Fort Stewart. This corridor contains extremely important habitat within the Longleaf Pine natural communities that support rare and endangered species such as Eastern Indigo Snakes and Gopher Tortoises.
The ARC ecosystem once covered approximately 70 million acres across the southeast within the Longleaf Pine range. The ARC is defined as a significant geographic area because of the amount of Longleaf habitat that remains on the landscape. It is either geographically isolated or has succumbed to changes in land-use practices such as fire exclusion, short-rotational forestry, urbanization, agricultural land conversion and commercial harvesting of Longleaf Pine.
Aeolian sands (sandhills) are located on the eastern and northeastern banks of the river systems throughout the ARC. This natural community serves as an important habitat for Eastern Indigo Snakes because they provide critical overwintering sites in this part of their range.
The third largest watershed on the east coast, the Altamaha River Corridor has been recognized as one of the “75 Last Great Places in the World” by The Nature Conservancy.
The Altamaha River Corridor (ARC) is the focal landscape of our Longleaf Savannas Initiative and contains the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve (OISP). This area has extensive sandhills and tracts of Longleaf Pine used by Eastern Indigo Snakes, Gopher Tortoises, and Spotted Turtles. In fact, the ARC is part of the Altamaha-Ocmulgee-Ohoopee River Corridors Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area that is considered one of the most important habitats in the range of these species. The OISP is in the western portion of the ARC and is comprised of approximately 48,704 acres. Of the 48,704, 2,607 acres are owned by The Orianne Society and a further 46,097 acres are managed through conservation partners or cooperating private landowners.
Throughout this landscape, The Orianne Society is committed to increasing our conservation footprint through the combination of additional land protection and partnering with private landowners to protect and restore their properties. Land management activities focus on prescribed burning (essential for maintaining the Longleaf Pine ecosystem and open sandhills), planting of Longleaf Pine seedlings, and restoration of appropriate ground cover. These activities promote Gopher Tortoise populations and the burrows that species such as Indigo Snakes and Diamondback Rattlesnakes rely upon. In addition to land management, we are conducting field research on imperiled reptiles and amphibians in the region, including monitoring the population status of priority species.