Emmer’s Sorrento Tracts
Rapid Ecological Project Assessment
Matrix Score: 4.73 of 9.44
Size: 71 Acres
Number of parcels: 3
Number of owners: 1
Number of Buildings: 0
The 71-acre Emmer’s Sorrento
Tracts (EST) Project is located in an urbanized area of northwest
Protecting Water Resources:
According to the Florida
Geological Survey Open File Report 21, approximately 81% of the Emmer’s
Sorrento Tracts project is located within the confined aquifer zone of
According to the St. John’s River
Water Management District’s Aquifer Recharge Map for
Of the 71 total acres of land within the Emmer’s Sorrento Tracts project, approximately 29% of the total acreage is either defined wetlands, areas containing hydric soils, or is areas that fall within the FEMA 100 and 500 year floodplain.
The Emmer’s Sorrento Tracts project is located on the upper northeast arm of Hogtown Creek. The wetlands on the property provide temporary storage of water during periods of high rainfall. Water flows southeast into Hogtown Creek which then flows in a southwest direction into Hogtown Prairie and then into Haile Sink where it enters the Floridan aquifer.
Protecting Natural Communities and Landscapes:
Old Field degraded area
The above list of natural communities is based on a site
visit conducted by the City of
natural community is mesic flatwoods, comprising approximately 56 acres located
in the central, south and eastern portions of the site. Approximately ten of the 56 acres are of
moderate to high quality sandhill, and are more xeric in nature than the rest
of the property. This habitat contains a sparse overstory of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and slash pine (Pinus elliottii), and groundcover consisting
of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens),
wiregrass (Aristida beyrichiana),
gallberry (Ilex glabra), shiny
blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites), and
dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa). The property contains sandhill
communities. These are becoming
increasingly rare in the
swamp occupies ±
5 acres of the project site. This
natural community is dominated by cypress (Taxodium
ascendens), swamp tupelo (Nyssa
sylvatica var. biflora), red
maple (Acer rubrum), loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), and red bay (Persea borbonia), with an understory of
fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), royal
fern (Osmunda regalis), netted chain
fern (Woodwardia areolata), and
Approximately 11 acres of the site are highly degraded and is not a functioning natural community. There is an extremely high density of invasive, non-native plant species and soil disturbance in the form of mounds and old cement dumpsites is found throughout this portion of the Project.
The property is just south of the headwaters of Hogtown Creek and a portion of this seepage stream runs through the eastern edge of the site (Map 2). The streambed of the creek is very narrow at this locality. Floodplain forest associated with this seepage stream is limited in this area. A canopy of relatively mature mixed hardwoods such as pignut hickory (Carya glabra), swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) and sugarberry (Celtis laevigata) form a narrow band following the stream formation. A dense understory of blue stem palmetto (Sabal minor) occurs in this area.
None of the EST Project site is
within the Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN). The Florida Ecological
Greenways Network is a decision support model to help identify the best
opportunities to protect ecological connectivity statewide. It was developed by the
There are no Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas within the EST Project area. Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas were developed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC). They are private lands containing habitats critical to the continued survival of populations of inadequately protected plants and animals, Cox et al. 2000. These lands are essential to providing some of state’s rarest animals, plants, and natural communities with the land base necessary to sustain populations into the future, Cox et al., 1994.
Twelve percent of the site is within the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) Priority 5 Habitat Conservation Priorities. FNAI’s Habitat Conservation Priorities prioritize places on the landscape that would protect both the greatest number of rare species and those species with the greatest conservation need, Florida Natural Areas Inventory, June 2001.
No portion of the EST Project is
delineated as an Under-represented Natural Community by FNAI. FNAI Under-represented
Natural Communities are those natural community types that were inadequately
represented on conservation lands in
The Emmer’s Sorrento Project is a
small, fragmented parcel located in a very urbanized portion of
PROTECTING PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES:
Common Name Endemic/ Large Fed/State FCREPA/FNAI Observed
Home-Range Status Designation
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake -/- -/- -/S3 SM
X= Endemic, L=species with large home ranges according to the Closing the Gaps in Florida’s Wildlife Habitat System, S= observed by Alachua Co. EPD staff and/or an LCB subcommittee member, SM= documented on the Species Models maps created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, F= Focal species used for the most detailed analyses in the Closing the Gaps in Florida’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation System, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, 1994, N= Florida Natural Areas Inventory Element Occurrence, P= potential for species based on habitat types, K=documented in the Alachua County Ecological Inventory Project.
The above data lists the
Royal fern was the only listed plant found on the property; however extensive listed species surveys were not conducted. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory Elements of Occurrence data (2001) does not indicate any FNAI tracked species and the FFWCC 2001 bald eagle nest data shows no bald eagle nests on or near the EST site.
Several invasive, non-native plant species were found on the site, mostly concentrated in high densities within the 11 acre disturbed area. These include Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum), air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera), glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum), mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
The EST property is not within one of the Regional Biodiversity Hotspot areas. The purpose of the Regional Biodiversity Hot Spots maps, developed by FFWCC, is to “convey more detailed information on the known locations of as many components of biological diversity as possible, regardless of whether or not they fall within proposed Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas, to help meet the need for conservation information at regional and local levels”, Cox et al., 1994.
Vigilant management is necessary to control the spread of invasive, non-native plants which are already in high densities throughout a large portion of the site. In addition, a significant portion of the natural communities are degraded due to lack of prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is necessary to control the hardwood encroachment that is evident by a subcanopy of laurel and water oak and to maintain the remnant wiregrass and other groundcover species. Prescribed fire at this site would be difficult to implement due to the surrounding urban land use. In addition, hydrological restoration may be necessary to enhance the basin swamp natural community. This type of restoration would be difficult to achieve due to the sites isolation within a very urbanized area and the inability to flood adjacent properties.
Achieving Social and Human Values:
The EST site is a not listed as a Natural
Resource-based Recreation Area, Knight, et al. 2000, nor as a priority
Ecological Greenway. The Natural
Resource-based Recreation map was
developed by FNAI in collaboration with DEP, FFWCC and the Florida Division of
Forestry. The recreation potential of a
site depends on available road access, presence of a water body or beach,
proximity to urban areas, and size of the site.
“These criteria were applied to Potential Natural Areas delineated by
FNAI using aerial photography and revised using the 1995 Water Management
District land cover data. Sites were ranked by recreation potential.” Knight,
et al. 2000. In addition, the EST
Project is not included in the Emerald Necklace Land Conservation Initiative -
“a publicly accessible, connected, and protected network of trails, greenways,
open space, and waterfronts surrounding the
The EST Project is an easily
accessible urban natural area located in a residential area. This site would provide
an opportunity for local residents to explore nature and may provide some
environmental interpretation opportunities for nearby schools. At a minimum, the site provides needed urban
greenspace within a developed area of
Economic & Acquisition
2003, the EST parcels received development and plat approval for a single
family residential development called
For comparison to other ACF projects, the ACPA’s 2002 Just Value or land value for the entire project is $754,400 or $10,583.61/acre. The total value is the same as the Just value because there are no buildings or infrastructure on the site. These figures are for comparative purposes between nominated properties, and are not an accurate reflection of the true cost of the property if acquired by the Alachua County Forever Program.
Parcel 07891-000-000 and 07891-001-000 would be considered keystone parcels for this project. Parcel 7891-002-000 is not considered a keystone parcel because it is so degraded and has little to no environmental integrity when considered on its own.
Aucott, W. 1988. Water Resources Investigation Report 88-4057. USGS.
Cox, J., R. Kautz, M. MacLaughlin, and T. Gilbert.
1994. Closing the Gaps in
Cox, J. and R. Kautz. 2000. Habitat Conservation Needs of
Rare and Imperiled Wildlife in
Hoctor, T.S., J. Teisinger, M.G. Carr., P.C, Zwick. 2002.
Identification of Critical Linkages Within the
Knight, G., A. Knight, and J. Oetting. 2000. Florida Forever
Conservation Needs Assessment Summary Report to the Florida Forever Advisory