University of Florida Conservation Area Land Management Plan
Fraternity Wetland is a 4.6 acre forested Conservation Area, located immediately behind (east and
south) Fraternity Row and west of the Band Shell. This forest grades from a mixed hardwood forest into
a narrow stream valley wetland. The steep slopes of the riparian corridor limit the development
potential of these woods as both a future building site and as a more passive recreation park. Therefore,
management of the site should to be focused on stormwater management and invasive plant removal,
where appropriate. Public access and related improvements should be limited, due to the steep slopes
and small size. The 2000 2010 Campus Master Plan identified Fraternity Wetland as Preservation
Natural Areas Inventory
Fraternity Wetland is within the Lake Alice watershed and contains a permanent unnamed stream.
At the north end of the woods, three stormwater culverts, along with a couple of hardscaped drainage
swales, help to create the stream valley that runs the length of the Conservation Area. Additional
flow is likely added by surficial aquifer seepage that flows downward and laterally from higher
While this creek does not show evidence of the steep side banking under cutting evidenced on other
creeks elsewhere on campus, there is still some small under cutting that will likely increase as the
upstream basin is further developed. Approximately the bottom quarter of the creek has been
channelized with concrete pavers that stabilize the banks from further erosion. Upstream areas that
are left unaddressed will eventually lead to more erosion and sedimentation in the stream. As with
most of the watersheds on campus and in Gainesville, the solution to these problems will be
primarily found in picking up stormwater before it enters the stream with small retention / detention
basins throughout campus in both existing green space and in future building sites. Specific to this
site, measures should be taken to treat water before it leaves adjacent fraternity parking lots with
retention / detention put in place of the hardscaped swales now present.
Unnamed stream running through Fraternity Woods
Fraternity Wetland is comprised of an upland-mixed hardwood forest that grades into a bottomland
hardwood along the creek that runs through the property. Due to the topographic grades, and limited
porosity of underlying clays, some lateral seepage likely occurs from neighboring upland areas.
Thus, some small areas may be better described as seepage slope rather than as bottomland forest.
As with most sites on campus, these woods have been invaded by invasive exotics that are
particularly prevalent along forested edges. A survey of flora and fauna for this Conservation Area is
The upland hardwood forest canopy is dominated by Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam),
Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum), Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine),
Quercus hemisphaerica (Upland Laurel Oak), Pinus elliottii (Slash Pine), Tilia americana var
caroliniana (Carolina basswood) and Ulmus alata (Winged Elm). Also found here are Juniperus
virginiana (Red Cedar), Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia), Ostrya virginiana (Eastern
Hophorbeam), Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Laurelcherry), Quercus michauxii (Basket Oak), Quercus
nigra (Water Oak), Quercus shumardii (Shumard's Oak), Quercus virginiana (Live Oak) and Sabal
palmetto (Cabbage Palm). Understory natives encountered in the mesic hammock include Ampelopsis
arborea (Peppervine), Aralia spinosa (Devil's walkingstick), Asimina parviflora (Smallflower
Pawpaw), Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine), Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry), Campsis
radicans (Trumpet Creeper), Erythrina herbacea (Coralbean), Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry),
Oplismenus hirtellus (Woodsgrass), Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), Passiflora lutea
(Yellow Passionflower), Phytolacca americana var. rigida (American Pokeweed),
Pleopeltispolypodioides (Resurrection Fern), several Smilax (Greenbriar) species, Stachysfloridana
(Florida Betony), Symphyotrichum dumosum (Rice Button Aster), Tillandsia recurvata (Ballmoss),
Tillandsia usneiodes (Spanish moss), Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy), Vernonia gigantea (Giant
Ironweed), Violapalmata (Early Blue Violet), Viola sororia (Common Blue Violet), Vitis aestivalis
(Summer Grape), Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine Grape) Woodwardia areolata (Netted Chain Fern) and
Woodwardia virginiana (Virginia Chain Fern).
The lowland hydric forest bordering the creek is dominated by Acer rubrum (Red Maple), Celtis
laevigata (Hackberry), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum), Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine), and
Quercus nigra (Water Oak). Also present are Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay), Quercus michauxii
(Basket Oak), Sabalpalmetto (Cabbage Palm), Salix caroliniana (Carolina Willow, in open areas)
and Tilia americana var caroliniana (Carolina basswood). Low shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants and
ferns found in and near the stream include Ampelopsis areborea (Peppervine), Arisaema triphyllum
(Jack in the Pulpit), Decumaria barbara (Climbing Hydrangea), Hydrocotlye sp. (Marshpennywort),
Itea virginica (Virginia Willow), Myrica cerifera (Wax Myrtle), Sabal minor (Bluestem Palm, a
characteristic floodplain species), Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf Sage), Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis
(Elderberry, in open areas), Thelypteris kunthii (Widespread Maiden Fern), Thelypteris palustris
(Marsh Fern), Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy), Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine Grape) and
Woodwardia areolata (Netted Chain Fern).
Despite the encroachment of many exotic plant species into this natural area, Fraternity Wetland houses
a diversity of native flora, which include the following species of note: Arisaema draconitum
(Greendragon, an uncommon species), Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the Pulpit, and uncommon
species), Athyriumfilix-femina subsp. asplenioides (Southern Lady Fern, Threatened FL, at the
southern limit of its range) and Dioscoreafloridana (Florida Yam, an uncommon species).
Invasive non-native plant species
Future management of the site will need to address invasive plant management. Fraternity Wetlands
is comprised of a mix of native and exotic species. The edges of the Conservation Area in particular
have large populations of non-native plants. These include Ardisia crenata (Scratchthroat), Disocorea
bulbifera (Air Potato), Hedera helix (English Ivy), Macfadyena unguis-cati (Catclaw Vine),
Tradescantiafluminensis (Small-leaf Spiderwort), and Ligustrum lucidum (Glossy Privet). Non-
native species present but in less abundance include: Citrus x aurantium (Sour Orange), Colocasia
esculenta (Wild Taro, in stream), Eriobotryajaponica (Loquat), Lantana camera (Lantana),
Liriope spicata (Bordergrass, one population on the southwest corner of the property), Ludwigia
peruviana (Peruvian Primrosewillow, in wet open areas), Syngonium podophyllum (American
Evergreen), and Urena lobata (Caesarweed).
Fraternity Woods is relatively small in size, which limits the amount of habitat for terrestrial species.
Only common mammals like raccoons, gray squirrels and armadillos have been documented on site.
Other animals typically found in these hardwood dominated systems include: American Crow,
American Goldfinch, American Redstart, American Robin, Black and White Warbler, Blue-Gray
gnatcatcher, Brown-headed cowbird, Blue Jay, Brown Thrasher, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina
Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Chimney Swift, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Tufted
Titmouse, Fish Crow, Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, House Finch, House Wren, Mourning
Dove, Northern Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Parula, Osprey, Palm
Warbler, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-eyed Vireo,
Rock Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-
throated Warbler, Brown anole, Squirrel Tree Frog, Florida Box Turtle, Gray Squirrel, and Black
Invasive exotic understory at traternity woods
The following soil information for on-site soils was gathered from the Soil Survey of Alachua
Blichton Sand (2-5% slope)
This gently sloping, poorly drained soil is on gently rolling uplands. Typically the surface layer is
dark grayish brown sand about 6 inches thick. It is about 3 percent nodules of ironstone and
fragments and nodules of phosphatic limestone.
Monteocha Loamy Sand
This nearly level, very poorly drained soil is in wet ponds and shallow depressional areas in the flat
woods. Slopes are less than 2 percent. Typically, the surface layer is black loamy sand about 12
inches thick. The subsurface layer is light brownish gray sand to a depth of 18 inches.
Cultural and Passive Recreational Resources and Future Improvements
These woods are relatively inaccessible except for residents of the adjacent Fraternity Halls. This is
due to the steep slopes and overgrown thicket on the eastern side of the property that would be,
theoretically, accessible to others. There are no known archeological sites, nor significant cultural
resources on site.
Although Fraternity Wetlands is located adjacent to Fraternity Row and the Keys residential
complex, its wetlands and steep slopes make it a poor site for public use. Of course, these same
features are the features that point to this area being considered a Nature Preserve. Available space
for physical improvements such as trails and benches is limited even along the edges of this forested
area, and should therefore be discouraged. The primary management activity that needs to be
addressed is to place fencing along the perimeter to prevent dumping and encroachment by the
adjacent fraternity houses. This fencing needs to follow approximately /2 of the perimeter of the
Conservation Area. An additional improvement that should be considered is bird and bat boxes to
encourage wildlife habitation.
Maps on the following pages:
1. Aerial Photo
2. Water Resources
3. Natural Communities
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