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University of Florida Conservation Area Land Management Plan
Bat House Woods
Bat House Woods is the unofficial name for the 8.5 acre wooded area adjacent to Physical Plant
greenhouses and across Museum Road from the northwest comer of Lake Alice. This area was
identified in previous master plans as a Preservation Area (3), due to its relatively undisturbed natural
character and its proximity to Lake Alice. However, it appears that since that time additional
encroachment has occurred and portions of the understory have been converted to botanical
maintenance facilities. Additionally, much of the area has been taken over by invasive non-native plants
that cover most of the ground and our winding up many of the pines and oaks.
Natural Areas Inventory
Within Bat House Woods flows an intermittent creek / drainage canal that drains into a sink, adjacent to
the University's golf course. It appears that most of the flow in the creek originates as irrigation water
from the adjacent green houses operated by Physical Plant. Mapping completed by Causseau &
Ellington, Inc. delineated a narrow wetland area adjacent to the stream and sink, as well as the 100-year
floodplain that covers the western half of the woods and extends into the adjacent nursery. Basin
mapping for the University's stormwater management master plan indicates that this Conservation
Area is in a depressional basin, as is evidenced by the fact that the creek flows into the sinkhole.
Recent flooding from the hurricanes of 2004 indicates that Lake Alice drains into the sink during
times of high water levels. Additionally, historical information document that this sink and Sweet
Sink were the primary drain outlets for Lake Alice before alteration in the basin took place.
Due to the presence of the adjacent nursery and golf course, there is concern about the quality of
water entering the sink and aquifer. Both of these adjacent land uses have the potential of releasing
large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides during rainfall events. Additionally, the sinkhole
apparently drains slowly, thus maintaining potentially polluted surface water that is used by
waterfowl and other wildlife. Therefore, some measures should be looked at to treat water before it
enters the sink by placing some small detention areas in strategic upstream locations.
ujreen -iouse intermittent creeK / canal
Bat House Woods is comprised primarily of a mesic / upland-mixed hardwood forest, although this
site is a little more pine dominated then other sites on campus. Soils are generally sandy-clays or
clayey sands with substantial organic and often calcareous components. In larger, less strenuous
conditions, mixed forests typically support significant wildlife and plant diversity, which result from
the nutrient rich nature of hardwood forests and flowering and fruiting plants. At present, a survey of
Flora and Fauna is not planned for this conservation area.
The canopy in this area is comprised of pignut hickory, winged elm, sweet gum, loblolly pine, laurel
oak, cabbage palm, longleaf pine, and slash pine.
Invasive non-native plant species
Future management of the site will need to address invasive plant management. The following
invasive non-native plants have been documented on site: air potato vine, Japanese climbing fern,
cats claw vine, coral ardisia, small-leaf spiderwort, glossy privet, loquat tree, English Ivy.
These woods are relatively small in size, which limits the amount of habitat for terrestrial species.
Therefore, only common mammals well adapted to edge environments like raccoons, gray squirrels
and armadillos have been documented on site. Additionally, a fox was seen during a summer site
visit. Other animals typically found in mesic hardwood systems, but which have not been
documented on the property, include: slimy salamander, Cope's gray treefrog, bronze frog, box
turtle, eastern glass lizard, green anole, broadhead skink, ground skink, red-bellied snake, gray rat
snake, rough green snake, coral snake, woodcock, barred owl, pileated woodpecker, shrews, eastern
mole, wood rat, cotton mouse, gray fox, and white-tailed deer.
Mixed pine-hardwood forest.
The following soil information for on-site soils was gathered from the Soil Survey of Alachua
Arredondo Urban Land Complex (0-5% slope)
This soil complex consists of well drained nearly level to gently sloping Arredondo soils and Urban
Land. About 50 to 85% of each delineation is open areas of Arredondo soils. These open areas are
gardens, vacant lots, lawns or playgrounds. Typically, the surface layer of Arredondo soils is dark
grayish brown fine sand about 6 inches thick.
Millhopper Urban Land Complex (0-5% slope)
This nearly level to gently sloping, moderately well drained soil is in small and large irregularly
shaped areas on uplands and slightly rolling knolls in the broad flatwoods. Typically, the surface
layer is dark grayish brown sand about 9 inches thick. The subsurface layer is sand or fine sand
about 49 inches thick.
Cultural and Passive Recreational Resources
As stated previously, this site has been heavily invaded by exotic plants that dominate the understory
throughout the woods. This conservation area is not very well known or accessible from the main
campus and there are no trails or benches for visitors to use. The primary physical assist of the site is
the sinkhole, however in its current degraded condition enhancement of this area is of questionable
Southern portions of this site overlap with the potential archeological sites map. Although no known
sites have been in identified, future improvements to the site will take into account the location of
known areas and follow guidelines by the Department of Historical Resources before sighting.
Future management should focus on improving upstream water quality and removal of invasive
plants. Currently, Physical Plant greenhouse operations are encroaching into the woods. In order to
define the boundaries and discourage encroachment, boundary markers or fencing will need to be
placed along the boundary edge, adjacent to Physical Plant greenhouses. Additionally, once invasive
plants are under control, efforts should be made to enhance wildlife habitat with beneficial
vegetative plantings and habitat structures. While this site has the characteristics of a Nature Park its
remote location away from the main campus and since it is fenced off from the Bat House park lot
makes it a low priority for physical improvements at this time.
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