Lochloosa Slough Flatwoods
Rapid Ecological Project Assessment
Matrix Score: 7.73 of 9.44
Size: 8,904 acres
Number of parcels: 50
Number of owners: 23
acre Lochloosa Slough Flatwoods (LSL) Project is located in the southeast
corner of unincorporated
Project is a combination of two projects from the Alachua County Ecological Inventory Project (KBN Study), KBN 1996; Lochloosa
The KBN Study summarized the
Lochloosa Slough Project as, “This area contains Lochloosa Slough, an important
and high quality wetland connector between Orange Creek and the large SJRWMD
lands on the south side of
The East Lochloosa Forest Project is summarized in the KBN Study by the following paragraph; “This is commercial forestry land with a lot of mesic flatwoods that is mostly bedded for slash pine plantations, some sandhills planted to slash pine, and a lot of basin swamps and marshes and baygalls. Most of it is wetlands. It has a good diversity of wildlife habitats and it serves as an important connector for large animals such as black bears between the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area and the Orange Creek and Ocklawaha River basins”, KBN, 1996.
Protecting Water Resources:
The Lochloosa Slough Flatwoods
project is located in the perforated area of
Johns River Water Management District’s (SJRWMD) Aquifer Recharge map for
to the KBN Study, “This site provides one of the highest quality and most
important wetland connections in
The Flatwoods area is relatively
flat and is the headwaters for some small creeks. Water flows into
As part of their 2003
Lochloosa Slough is one of the
primary hydrologic connections between
Protecting Natural Communities and Landscapes:
Old Field Pine
The above list of natural communities is from the KBN Report. The ecological quality of the natural communities is good overall.
The Project site is adjacent to the
Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation area and the Orange Creek Restoration
Area. The preservation of this project
would connect these two important conservation areas and protect the most
important entry point into
The project site is within the
Florida Ecological Greenways Network (FEGN), in the priority 3 project area known as “Ocala NF-Lochloosa-Paynes Prairie-Newnans
Lake”. This FEGN project is the highest priority project in
The strategic location of the LSL
Project on the east side of the county within an existing corridor of natural
and silvicultural properties that form a large connected area for wildlife and
natural resource conservation, is the most critical feature of this
project. The area is a mosaic of public
and private lands. Protection of this
corridor is one of the best opportunities to protect and enhance natural
resource values in our county, and more importantly it is of regional
importance as one of several possible corridors that connect
Nearly one hundred percent of the site falls 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.
About 35 % of the project area is
delineated as pine flatwoods, an Under-represented Natural Community. Under-represented Natural Communities are
those natural community types that were inadequately represented on
conservation lands in
PROTECTING PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES:
Common Name Endemic/ Large Fed/State FCREPA/FNAI Observed
Home-Range Status Designation
Eastern Tiger Salamander -/- -/- SU/S3 SM
Gopher Frog -/- -/SSC T/S3 SM
Striped Newt -/- -/- R/S2S3 SM
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake -/- -/- -/S3 SM,K
Peninsula Mole Skink -/- -/- -/- SM
Black-Crowned Night Heron -/- -/- SSC/S3? SM
Little Blue Heron -/- -/SSC SSC/S4 SM,K
Southern Bald Eagle -/L T/T T/S3 F,N,K
Tricolored Heron -/- -/SSC SSC/S4 SM,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.
Listed plants found on the property according to the KBN Study include cinnamon fern and royal fern.
The FFWCC reported three bald eagle nests on the LSL
site and six others within two miles. The cluster of bald eagle nests around
The KBN Study states that “This is
the main avenue of entry for black bears that wander into
Greater than two thirds of the site is within Regional Biodiversity Hotspots. 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.
Exotic plants found on this property include a light infestation of air potato, mimosa and white-flowered spiderwort, in addition to some camphor tree and alligator weed, KBN, 1996.
The site is dominated by active silviculture and wetlands. The primary management tools will be invasive plant control and the reintroduction of prescribed fire into the system. Prescribed burning would be feasible in this area because it is located away from population centers and there are conservation lands immediately to the east and south. Access for management is good.
Achieving Social and Human Values:
Approximately 15% of the LSL Project area falls within a Priority 1 or 2 Natural Resource-based Recreation Area, Knight, et al. 2000, and is a priority 3 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 LSL 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
The project could link recreational opportunities in the LWCA to those found in the Orange Creek Restoration Area.
The property provides opportunities for compatible natural resource based recreation.
Economic & Acquisition:
There are 50 parcels and 23 ownerships in the 8,904 acre Lochloosa Slough Flatwoods Project. The Alachua County Property Appraiser (ACPA) shows seven buildings on their parcel data. One ownership, Plum Creek, makes-up 79% of the total project acreage or 7,004 acres. The ACPA’s 2002 Just Value or land value for the entire project is $8,011,500 or $899.76/ acre. The ACPA’s total value (Just, Miscellaneous and Building) for the project area is $8,342,700 or $936.96/ 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 Plum Creek properties are the keystone parcels in the Lochloosa Slough Flatwoods Project, Map 3. The Priority parcels within the Plum Creek acreage are the following parcels that compose the actual Lochloosa Slough:
20126-000-000 251.09 acres
20167-000-000 447.17 acres
20162-000-000 590.00 acres
20156-000-000 336.00 acres
20227-000-000 208.00 acres.
There is also one parcel owned Colasanta (20127-000-000, 103.94 acres) that contains a small portion of the slough. This parcel should be pursued after the Plum Creek Slough parcels have been secured. Because this area is predominantly in silviculture, it may be wise to pursue a conservation easement on most of the active silviculture property and fee simple in the areas that should be restored to natural habitat.
The LSL project
falls within unincorporated
There are five Division of Historic Resources site file locations either on or within one mile of the LSL project.
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
A. Knight, and J. Oetting. 2000.
Florida Forever Conservation Needs Assessment Summary Report to the Florida
Forever Advisory council.
KBN, A Golder Associates
Macesich, M. 1988. Geologic Interpretation of the Aquifer
Pollution Potential in