|UFDC Home||myUFDC Home | Help|
This item is only available as the following downloads:
Martin B. Main and Ginger M. Allent2 1. This document is Fact Sheet WEC 233, one of the Florida's Environment series of the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: July 2007. Revised October 2007. Reviewed November 2010. Please visit the Edis website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edun. 2. Martin B. Main, associate professor, wildlife extension specialist, and Ginger M. Allen, senior biologist, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee, FL; Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0304. Florida's Environment Series Central west Florida (Fig. 1 ) is a region characterized by numerous spring-fed rivers and streams that flow westward to the Gulf of Mexico. Large swamps and marshes associated with lakes form headwaters to many rivers in the region. Longleaf pine sandhill habitat was historically the region's major forest type, although intensely-managed pine plantations now predominate. Hardwood hammocks occur as scattered "islands" within pine flatwoods. DeSoto County harbors large tracts of dry prairie, scrubby flatwoods, rangeland, and sandhill communities. Central west Florida region with counties. Credits: UF/IFAS Despite rapid growth, conservation lands constitute roughly 20 percent of the central west region (Table 1) and include a variety of natural areas and parks for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing. This document summarizes major rivers, lakes and springs, featured natural areas, and cultural aspects of Florida's central west region. For information on other regions in Florida, refer to "The Florida Environment: An Overview" and the other seven regional profiles available online (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu)
Florida's Environment Central West Region 2 Conservation land acreage in Florida's central west region Citrus 132,960 36% Desoto 40,190 10% Hernando 88,190 29% Hillsborough 97,440 14% Manatee 53,420 11% Pasco 104,930 22% Pinellas 17,800 10% Sarasota 91,370 25% Based on 2006 Florida Natural Areas Inventory Managed Conservation Lands. Florida State University. The Alafia River originates in Polk County wetlands and empties into Hillsborough Bay. The Alafia's water quality ranges from good to poor as it flows through one of the world's richest phosphate deposits. Most of the Anclote River is derived from rainfall. The Anclote River has its beginnings in Pasco County wetlands and flows south to the northern part of Pinellas County. It also has three known bird rookeries. Central west Florida major conservation lands. Credits: UF/IFAS The Little Manatee River is one of the least developed rivers in the Tampa area. From its origin in eastern Manatee and Hillsborough counties, this river flows 40 miles before it empties into Tampa Bay. Calusa and Timucuan Indian sites are abundant along the Manatee River. The highly developed river begins its trek to Tampa Bay in the eastern Manatee County highlands and the flow is disrupted temporarily by the Manatee Dam. The Myakka River flows 66 miles from Manatee County through Florida's largest state park, Myakka River State Park (Fig. 2). It continues its path through Sarasota County and empties into Charlotte Harbor. Like many of the rivers in the central region, the Myakka River is home to endangered manatees. The Heritage Trail region encompasses numerous bays and rivers and bordered by aquatic preserves Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Terra Ceia Bay (Figure 2). The regional coastline is vegetated primarily with salt marsh to the north, and mangrove forests to the south. Jay B. Starkey Wildnerness Park supports pine flatwoods, sandhills, hardwood hammocks, sand pine scrub, freshwater marsh, river swamp, and wet prairie habitats. Nearly 150 species of birds have been reported in the park. Oscar Scherer State Park consists of pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks. The park is particularly well known for its Florida scrub jays. Withlacoochee State Forest contains bottomland hardwoods and pine forest habitats. Fox squirrels are common in some areas.
Florida's Environment Central West Region 3 Hillsborough River State Park includes 2,990 acres located along the Hillsborough River. The park includes river swamps, oak hammocks, and pine flatwoods. Located in a urban area, this park provides important habitat for resident and migratory wildlife. Crystal River State Buffer Preserve stretches from the Withlacoochee River to the Homosassa River in coastal Citrus County, encompassing a wide variety of natural communities. These include scrub, flatwoods, upland mixed forest, and prairie hammocks. Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area in Hernando County features sandhills, freshwater marshes and prairies, hardwood hammocks, and the second-largest contiguous tract of old growth longleaf pine in Florida. Gopher tortoises inhabit the sandhills areas, while many species of frogs and salamanders find refuge in Mays Prairie. Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge provides a place for approximately 250 species of birds, over 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and at least 25 different species of mammals. This refuge consists of marshlands, swamp lands, shallow bays, and tidal streams. Tampa Bay National Estuary encompasses 400 square miles. Estuaries like Tampa Bay are nurseries for young fish, shrimp, and crabs. As many as 40,000 pairs of birds--from the familiar brown pelican to the colorful roseate spoonbill--nest in Tampa Bay every year. Recreational and cultural opportunities in natural areas in central west Florida. n(WMA=Wildlife Management Area, NWR=National Wildlife Refuge) Citrus Potts Preserve (Apopka Lakes) (904) 796-7211 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/potts.html Citrus Flying Eagle (800) 423-1476 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/flyingeagle.html Citrus Lake Tsala Apopka (352) 732-1230 http://www.myfwc.com/RECREATION/ FW_forecasts_ncr.htm#tsala_ap Citrus Carlton Tract/ Half-Moon WMA (904) 732-1225 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/ Citrus Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park (352) 628-5343 http://www.homosassasprings.org/ Citrus Crystal River State Buffer Preserve (352) 563-0450 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ crystalriverpreserve/default.cfm Citrus Crystal River State Archaeological Site (352) 795-3817 http://www.floridastateparks.org/crystalriver/ default.cfm Modern development has changed much of the waterways in central west Florida, as there is evidence of human inhabitants for over 10,000 years. Calusa and Timucuan Indians lived here in ancient times, leaving behind shell middens and burial mounds, and more recently, Seminole Indians resided here, naming the Hillsborough river Lockcha-popka-chiska meaning, river where one crosses to eat acorns. Reflecting the history of the region, many of Florida's rivers hold names of Indian or Spanish origin. The Indian translation for Withlacoochee means great little water and the Myakka translates as big water. Central west Florida was one of the first places explored by Spanish conquistadors. In 1539 Hernando de Soto arrived on Florida's southwest coast with 600 soldiers, sent by the King of Spain to explore, colonize, and conquer the Indians in the area which was then known as La Florida. The resultant four-year, 4,000 mile journey was the first large-scale European mission into the interior of North America. Bradenton's De Soto National Monument is a testimonial to de Soto's mission and to his efforts in the name of Spain. Modern historical landmarks also occur along the waterways. The Hillsborough River has over 246 historical structures, most found along Tampa's Historic District. Historical sites emphasize the
Florida's Environment Central West Region 4 Recreational and cultural opportunities in natural areas in central west Florida. n(WMA=Wildlife Management Area, NWR=National Wildlife Refuge) Citrus Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins (352) 795-3817 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ Yuleesugarmill/default.cfm Citrus St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve (352) 563-0450 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/ stmartins/ Citrus Ft. Cooper State Park (352) 726-0315 http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortcooper/ Citrus/Hernando/ Pasco Withlacoochee State Forest (352) 754-6896 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/ withlacoochee.html Citrus/Hernando Chassahowitzka NWR (352) 563-2088 http://www.fws.gov/chassahowitzka/ index.html Hernando Chinsegut Wildlife and Env. Area (352) 754-6722 http://www.myfwc.com/Recreation/ View_Destinations_site-wc03.htm Hernando Perry Oldenbury Mitigation Parkt (352) 754-6722 http://www.myfwc.com/RECREATION/ WMASites_PerryOldenburg_index.htm Hillsborough Alafia River State Recreation Area (813) 987-6771 http://floridastateparks.org/oletariver/ Hillsborough Hillsborough River State Park (813) 987-6771 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ hillsboroughriver/default.cfm Hillsborough Bullfrog Creek Mitigation Park/WMA (407) 207-7292 http://www.hillsborough.wateratlas.usf.edu/ watershed/default.asp?wshedID=4 Hillsborough Canal Park & Lake Tarpon (813) 855-5588 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/lake_tarpon_outfall_canal.html Hillsborough Cockroach Bay State Preserve (813) 744-6100 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ littlemanateeriver/default.cfm Hillsborough Tampa Bay National Estuary (727) 893-2765 http://www.tbep.org/estuary.html Hillsborough Little Manatee River State Recreation Area/Canoe (813) 671-5005 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ littlemanateeriver/default.cfm Hillsborough Flatwoods Wilderness Park (813) 975-2160 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/lh-flatwoods.html Hillsborough Ancient Native Village Living History Museum (813) 641-8545 http://www.ancientnative.org/ Hillsborough Henry B. Plant Museum (813) 254-1891 http://www.plantmuseum.com/ Hillsborough Tampa Bay History Center (813) 228-0097 http://www.tampabayhistorycenter.org Manatee Myakka River State Park (941) 361-6511 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ myakkariver/ Manatee Braden River Canoe Trail (941) 729-9177 http://www.paddling.net/places/ showReport.html?679 Manatee Terra Ceia State Buffer Preserve (813) 744-6100 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/ terraceia/ Manatee Passage Key NWR (352) 563-2088 http://www.fws.gov/chassahowitzka/ passagekey/ Manatee Lake Manatee State Rec. Area (813) 741-3028 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ lakemanatee/ Manatee De Soto National Monument (941) 792-0458 http://www.nps.gov/deso/ Manatee Madira Bickel Mound nState Archaeological Site (941) 729-9177 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ madirabickelmound/default.cfm/ Pasco Cypress Creek (800) 423-1476 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/cypresscreek.html Pasco Crystal Springs Preserve (813) 715-9707 http://www.crystalspringspreserve.com/
Florida's Environment Central West Region 5 Recreational and cultural opportunities in natural areas in central west Florida. n(WMA=Wildlife Management Area, NWR=National Wildlife Refuge) Pasco Jay B. Starkey Wildnerness Park (813) 834-3247 http://portal.pascocountyfl.net/portal/ server.pt/community/parks_and_recreation/ 248/home Pasco Green Swamp (800) 423-1476 (904) 796-7211 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/greenswamp.html Pasco Withlacoochee River Park (352) 567-0264 http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/ areas/withlacoocheeriverpark.html Pasco Pioneer Florida Museum, Dade City (352) 567-0262 http://www.pioneerfloridamuseum.org/ Pinellas Lake Tarpon (727) 934-3696 http://www.laketarpon.org/ Pinellas Sawgrass Lake Park (727) 527-3814 http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/ 16_Sawgrass.htm Pinellas Lake Seminole Park (727) 549-6156 http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/ 08_Seminole.htm Pinellas Boyd Hill Nature Park (727) 893-7335 http://www.stpete.org/boyd/ Pinellas Anclote Key Preserve State Park (727) 469-5942 http://www.floridastateparks.org/anclotekey/ Pinellas Honeymoon Island State Park (727) 469-5942 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ honeymoonisland/ Pinellas Caladesi Island State Park (727) 469-5918 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ caladesiisland/ Pinellas Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve (813) 744-6100 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/ pinellas/ Pinellas Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge (352) 563-2088 http://www.fws.gov/chassahowitzka/pinellas/ Pinellas Fort Desoto County Park (727) 866-2484 http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/ 05_Ft_DeSoto.htm Pinellas Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic Preserve (941) 721-2068 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/ pinellas/ Pinellas Egmont Key NWR (352 )563-2088 http://www.fws.gov/egmontkey/index.html Pinellas Egmont Key State Park (727) 893-2627 http://www.floridastateparks.org/egmontkey/ Pinellas Florida Holocaust Museum (727) 820-0100 http://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/ Pinellas Florida International Museum (800) 777-9882 http://www.floridamuseum.org/ Pinellas St. Petersburg Museum of History (727) 894-1052 http://www.spmoh.org/home.html Sarasota Oscar Scherer State Park (941) 483-5956 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ oscarscherer/ Sarasota Myakka River State Park (941) 923-1120 http://www.floridastateparks.org/ myakkariver/ Sarasota Myakka State Forest (941) 365-0100 http://www.fl-dof.com/state_forests/ myakka.html Sarasota Sarasota Bay National Estuary (941) 359-5841 http://www.sarasotabay.org/ Sarasota Stump Pass Beach State Park (941) 964-0375 http://www.floridastateparks.org/stumppass/ importance of central west Florida's rivers to humans throughout history.
Florida's Environment Central West Region 6 Allen, G.M. and M.B. Main. 2005. Florida's Geological History. Fact Sheet WEC 189, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Carter, E. F., L. Glaros, and D. Sphar 1985. A Canoeing And Kayaking Guide To The Streams Of Florida, Volume II, Central And South Peninsula. Menasha Ridge Press, Birmingham, Alabama. Cerulean, S. and A. Morrow. 1998.Florida Wildlife Viewing Guide. Falcon Publishing. Helena, MT. Fernald, E. A. and E. D. Prudum, eds. 1998. Water Resources Atlas of Florida. Institute of Science and Public Affairs. Tallahassee, FL. Florida Department of Natural Resources. 1989. Florida Rivers Assessment. Florida Department of Natural Resources. Tallahassee, FL. Gannon, M., ed. 1996. The New History of Florida. Univ. Press of Florida. Gainesville, FL. Karim, A. and M.B. Main. 2004. Tropical Hardwood Hammocks in Florida. Fact Sheet WEC 181, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Kavanagh, J. ed. 1997. The Nature of Florida : An Introduction to Common Plants & Animalsn& Natural Attractions (Field Guides Series) Waterford Press, Phoenix, AZ. Kleinberg, E. 1997. Historical Traveler's Guide to Florida. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL. Laurie M., and D. Bardon. 1998. Florida's Museums and Cultural Attractions. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL. Main M.B., and G.M. Allen. 2005. Florida State Symbols. Circular 1467, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Main M.B. M.E. Swisher, J. Mullahey, W. DeBusk, A. J. Shriar, G. W. Tanner, J. Selph, P. Hogue, P. Bohlen and G. M. Allen. 2004. The Ecology and Economics of Florida's Ranches. Fact Sheet WEC 187, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu Main M.B., and G.W. Tanner. 1999. Effects of Fire on Florida's Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat. Fact Sheet WEC 137, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Meyers, Ronald L. & John J. Ewel, eds. 1990. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL. Milanich, J. T. 1998. Florida Indians from Ancient Times to the Present. University of Florida Press. Gainesville, FL. Milanich, Jerald T. 1995. Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe. University of Florida Press. Gainesville, FL. Ohr, T. 1998. Florida's Fabulous Natural Places. World Publications, Tampa, FL. Perry, I. M. 1998. Indian Mounds You Can Visit: 165 Aboriginal Sites on Florida's West Coast. Great Outdoors Pub Co., St. Petersburg, FL. Perry J., and J. G. Perry 1992. The Sierra Club Guide to the Natural Areas of Florida. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, CA. Ripple, J. 1997. Florida: The Natural Wonders. Voyageur Press, Osceola, WI. Stamm D., and D. R. Stamm. 1998. The Springs of Florida. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL. Walton, C. K., and J. Kohl. 2000. Adventure Guide to Tampa Bay & Florida's West Coast Hunter Publishing, Walpole, ME.
Florida's Environment Central West Region 7 Winsberg, M. D. 1997. Florida's History Through Its Places: Properties in the National Register of Historic Places, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Central Gulf Coast Archeological Society, http://www.cgcas.org/ Florida Division of Historical Resources, http://www.flheritage.com/ Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Wildlife Viewing Sites, http://www.myfwc.com/recreation/View_index.htm Florida's Historic Places, http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu/florida/lessons/places.htm Florida's Museum of Natural History, http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/ Florida Natural Areas Inventory, http://www.fnai.org Florida's Scenic Highways, http://www.floridascenichighways.com/ Florida State Parks, http://www.floridastateparks.org/ Florida Water Management Districts, http://dlis.dos.state.fl.us/fgils/wmd.html P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/index.html Taino Timucua Tribal Web Page, http://www.hartford-hwp.com/Timucua/index.html nTouring the Georgia-Florida Coast, http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/geo-flor/gfintro.htm Visit Florida, http://www.visitflorida.com