The Barley Barber Swamp is a 400-acre freshwater cypress swamp preserve, located in western Martin County. FPL purchased the swamp and surrounding lands in 1972 and site evaluation studies conducted in 1973 identified the swamp as worthy of preservation.
An area of ancient cypress trees, slow moving, coffee-colored water and a variety of plants and wildlife, the Barley Barber Swamp is a slough (pronounced "slew") or strand, which follows an east-west trend. A slough is a shallow basin or cut in the surface soils. Its low relief and the high water table permit the retention of surface water throughout much of the year, satisfying the survival requirements of cypress trees and other swamp vegetation.
How was it created?
The area east of Lake Okeechobee originally consisted of a series of large interconnected wetlands. On topographic maps, part of this area is referred to as the Barley Barber Swamp. The remaining swamp is a small part of this once larger wetland. It is located within the coastal lowlands, an area characterized by well-drained sand hills and numerous small flatlands where rainfall normally sinks directly into the sandy soils. The few permanently wet soils are found where low topography coincides with high water tables. The Barley Barber Swamp is such an area.
Why is it worth preserving?
The uniqueness and beauty of the swamp, its remote location and its value as a wildlife habitat make it an area of special concern and worth saving. These characteristics, plus an outstanding strand of bald cypress have attracted breeding populations of wood storks (wood ibis), an endangered species. Refer to Wildlife in the Swamp for information on the inhabitants of the swamp.
The swamp is not accessible to the general public.