Rapid Ecological Project Assessment
Matrix Score: 6.29
Size: 98 acres
Number of parcels: 1
Number of owners: 1
Number of Buildings: 0
The 98-acre Hogtown
Woods (HOG) Project is located in southwest
Hogtown Creek is situated to the east of the Project site, and runs through a Hogtown Creek Greenway conservation area. The HOG property contains a small portion of the 1,782-acre Hogtown Prairie-Sugarfoot Project from the Alachua County Ecological Inventory Project (KBN Study) (KBN 1996). The purpose of the KBN Study was to identify, inventory, map, describe, and evaluate the most significant natural biological communities, both upland and wetland, that remain in private ownership in Alachua County and make recommendations for protecting these natural resources, KBN 1996. The Hogtown Prairie-Sugarfoot project was ranked 3rd of 47 projects evaluated in the county, and categorized as high, KBN, 1996. However the KBN project encompassed a much larger project area than this ACF project, much of which has already been acquired for conservation.
The KBN Study summarized the
Hogtown Prairie-Sugarfoot Hammock as containing, “a part of Sugarfoot Hammock,
which is one of the most outstanding hammocks in the county (what is left of it). It also contains the lower Hogtown Creek
floodplain which has magnificent mature hardwood forest of different kinds,
some prairie, a lake and perhaps the finest example of slough in north
Much of the original KBN project
was preserved when the City of
Protecting Water Resources:
According to the Florida Geologic Survey Open File Report 21, 100 % of the Hogtown Woods project is located within the perforated aquifer zone (Macesich 1988). Sediments underlying the perforated zone may contain substantial thickness of clays, but are perforated by numerous karst features, which allow direct hydrologic access to the aquifer.
According to the St. Johns River
Water Management District’s Aquifer Recharge Map for
Of the 98 total acres of land within the Hogtown Woods project, approximately 61% of the total acreage is either designated wetlands, areas that contain hydric soils, or are areas that fall within the FEMA 100 and 500 year floodplain.
The Hogtown Woods project is directly adjacent to the Hogtown Creek drainage basin. It is located at the point where the creek flows into Hogtown Prairie. Water within the project boundary drains into the floodplain associated with the creek. Water then flows into the prairie where it drains into Haile Sink which has direct connectivity to the Floridan Aquifer. According to the KBN Study, “the Hogtown Creek watershed is on an area underlain by the Hawthorn Formation. At Hogtown Prairie, this formation is near its southwestern most edge where it is thin and easily breached by sinkhole activity (KBN 1996).
Protecting Natural Communities and Landscapes:
Calcarious Mesic Hammock
Old field successional pine
The above list of natural communities is from the KBN Report (KBN 1996). The ecological quality of the natural communities is excellent. Surrounding development is impacting the HOG Project, including the introduction of invasive plant species and detrimental human activities, such as unauthorized ATV usage.
The calcareous mesic hammock is
dominated by deciduous species such a sugarberry, shumard oak, box elder, winged
elm sweetgum, and pignut hickory (Water and Air 2000). There is not much information on the nine-acre
section north of
The Project site is adjacent or in close proximity to approximately 900 acres of Hogtown Creek Greenway properties that are managed as conservation areas. These conservation areas are located in an urban matrix which includes dense residential development and an interstate highway (I-75) which bisects the conservation areas and prevents an adequate ecological corridor for most species. However, the connection between this area east of I-75 and the other conservation areas to the west is tenuous due to the barrier created by I-75 (Map 1).
The project site is not listed in
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
HOG Project does not fall within a Strategic Habitat Conservation 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).
Approximately 91% 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).
There are no natural areas listed
as an Under-represented Natural Community on the project site. Under-represented
Natural Communities are those
natural community types that were inadequately represented on conservation
Protecting Plant and Animal Species:
Common Name Endemic/ Large Fed/State FCREPA/FNAI Observed
Home-Range Status Designation
Gopher Frog -/- -/SSC T/S3 SM
American Alligator -/- T/SSC -/S4 SM
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake -/- -/- -/S3 SM
Eastern Indigo Snake -/- T/T SSC/S3 SM
Gopher Tortoise -/- -/SSC T/S3 F,K
Peninsula Mole Skink -/- -/- -/- SM
Short-tailed Snake X/- -/T T/S3 SM
Spotted Turtle -/- -/- R/S3? SM
Black-Crowned Night Heron -/- -/- SSC/S3? SM
Great Egret -/- -/- SSC/S4 SM
Little Blue Heron -/- -/SSC SSC/S4 SM
Snowy Egret -/- -/SSC SSC/S3 SM
Southern Bald Eagle -/L T/T T/S3 F,K
Wild Turkey -/L F
Wood Stork -/- E/E E/S2 SM
Bobcat -/L -/- -/- F
Northern Yellow Bat -/- -/- SU/- SM
Sugarfoot Mothfly X/- -/- E?/S? N,K
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 KBN Study and Water and Air
(2000) noted the following listed plants on the HOG site: Godfrey’s privet, angelpod,
and green-fly orchid. The Godfrey’s
privet population on the Hogtown Prairie-Sugarfoot Project was described by the
KBN Study as the, “best population…in the County” (KBN 1996). In addition to these listed plants, the site
contains a diverse macro-invertebrate population for
The FFWCC 2001 data shows one bald eagle nest within half a mile of the HOG Project site.
Forty-five percent of the HOG Project is identified as a Regional Biodiversity Hotspot. 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).
“The most serious exotic plant invasion on this area is by Chinese Privet (Ligustrum lucidum). It is abundant throughout the Hogtown Creek floodplain and is threatening to damage most of the hammock and floodplain forest here. Some other exotics here in lesser numbers are hedge privet (Ligustrum sinensis), Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum), mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), chinaberry (Melia azedarach), and camphor tree (Cinnomomum camphor)” (KBN 1996).
Achieving Social and Human Values:
The Hogtown Woods Project is not listed as a Natural Resource-based Recreation Area (Knight et al. 2000) and is not a Priority Ecological Greenway. The Natural Resource-based Recreation map was developed by FNAI in collaboration with DEP, FFWCC and DOF. 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).
The Hogtown Woods Project is part
of the Emerald Necklace Land Conservation Initiative – “a publicly accessible,
connected, and protected network of trails, greenways, open space, and
waterfronts surrounding the
property provides excellent opportunities for readily accessible, compatible
resource based recreation and contributes to the urban green space of the City
This property, although adjacent to a complex of
managed conservation areas, is located in an urban matrix. This imposes several management challenges
including invasive plant infestations, detrimental human activities and
feral/domestic predation. Currently the
property south of
This area is “in great condition overall” (KBN 1996). Invasive plant control is the most pressing management need on the site. Control of invasive plants will require vigilant management, including application of herbicides and periodic monitoring. Water resources are also an issue on the site because, “the urban runoff component of Hogtown Creek is one major impact on this area. This would be difficult to correct. More retention and detention areas at the top ends of the many branches of the creek system would be the most effective way to moderate this” (KBN 1996).
Economic and Acquisition Issues:
The southern portion of the project, encompassing 89 acres, is currently under development plan review as a 624-unit apartment complex. Final review is pending based on plans to develop a four lane road that will bisect the site.
opportunity to conserve this site, and its excellent quality calcarious mesic
hammock, is to focus attention on the nine acre portion of the property that is
There is one parcel and one owner of the 98-acre Hogtown Woods Project. The Alachua County Property Appraiser (ACPA) does not show any buildings or improvements on their parcel data. The ACPA’s 2002 Just Value or land value for the entire project is $2,235,800 or $22,858.60/ acre. These figures are for comparative purposes between nominated properties, and are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the true cost of the property if acquired by the Alachua County Forever Program.
The HOG Project is located within
the City of
The HOG Project contains several known archaeological sites that would require protection. These sites include: Site AL 258 (Melroy/SW 20th) large Campsite/quarry with Archaic, Deptford, Cades Pond kiln and still; Site AL 463 (Henderson Mound) burial mound dating to Hickory Pond with Archaic tools; and Site AL 2905 (Timberlodge) prehistoric quarry site, lithics and ceramics (Quinn and Associates 1999). Monitoring of these sites for disturbance is necessary for their protection.
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
KBN, A Golder Associates Company. 1996.
Macesich, M. 1988.
Geologic Interpretation of the Aquifer Pollution Potential in
Quinn and Associates, Inc. 1999. A Phase I Cultural Resource Assessment Survey
of the Proposed
2000. Report to the Campus Development
Group about Trees on the Proposed Cabana Grove Development Site.
Water & Air Research, Inc. 2000.
Biological Reconnaissance Survey for Proposed Cabana Grove