University of Florida Conservation Area Land Management Plan
Graham Woods CALM
Graham Woods Conservation Area is 7.5 acres of forested hardwoods that lie east of Flavet Field
(Bandshell) and north of Graham Hall. The unnamed creek that runs through these woods drains into
Graham Pond through culverts under Graham Hall. The woods are dominated by an upland mixed
hardwood forest that grades down to a bottomland / floodplain swamp stream valley, which has been
created by a deeply incised creek / ravine that runs southeasterly through the Conservation Area. The
primary human use of the woods is as a short-cut between Flavet Field and the main campus. The
steep slopes of the ravine and the wetland composition of the bottomland forest limit the development
potential of these woods for future building sites. The 2000 2010 Campus Master Plan identified
Graham Woods as Preservation Area 14.
Natural Areas Inventory
Graham Woods contains a permanent stream that runs southwesterly toward Graham Pond and
ultimately empties into Lake Alice. Upstream areas that drain into this creek and pond include the
sports complex of Perry Field, O'Connell Center, Beard Track and associated athletic fields, along
with three on-campus living facilities Tolbert, Weaver, and Keys. Like most other creek systems on
campus, this creek's base flow is a mix of both stormwater runoff and natural surfical aquifer
seepage. The banks of the creek are deeply incised by years of down-cutting from stormwater
coming off of impervious surfaces. Graham Woods has over 15 stormwater culverts and / or
concrete swales poring untreated stormwater into it from three sides.
As with most creeks within campus, this creek and pond system would benefit greatly from upstream
stormwater improvements. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be many areas within the woods
that are readily available to place retention, due to the steep banks and surrounding development.
Long-term solutions will have to come from picking up stormwater offsite, which given the heavy
development of neighboring upstream areas, will not be easily accomplished. However, Graham
Pond should be studied as a potential stormwater enhancement site where a Stormwater Ecological
Enhancement Project (SEEP) similar to the one constructed adjacent to the Natural Areas Teaching
Lab may be appropriate. The concept behind a SEEP type retention pond, that sets it apart from
traditional wet retention, is that it also is meant to serve as wildlife habitat. Thus, all elements of
design look at maximizing habitat values, pollutant uptake and water storage.
According to surveying completed by Casseau and Ellington, Graham Woods contains
approximately 4 acres of forested wetland and 3 acres of floodplain. These two areas overlap within
the woods, occurring in the creek basin where it flattens out before entering a culvert to Graham
Pond. Concrete re-enforcements around this culvert, testify to the stream velocities that occur as
water rushes downhill during major storm events.
Graham Woods CALM
Graham Woods showing sedimentation build up
Graham Woods is comprised of a mix of upland mesic upland-mixed hardwood forest that grades
into a bottomland hardwood / floodplain forest along the creek that runs through the property. Due to
the topographic grades and limited porosity of underlying clays, some seepage likely occurs coming
from neighboring upland areas. Thus, some small areas may be better described as seepage slope
rather than as bottomland forest.
The upland hardwood forest canopy is dominated by Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam),
Carya glabra (Pignut Hickory), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum), Celtis laevigata (Hackberry),
Ulmus alata (Winged Elm) and Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine). Also found here were Juniperus
virginiana (Red Cedar), Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia), Ostrya virginiana (Eastern
Hophornbeam), Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Laurelcherry), Quercus hemisphaerica (Upland Laurel
Oak), Tilia americana var caroliniana (Carolina basswood), Quercus michauxii (Basket Oak),
Quercus nigra (Water Oak), Quercus virginiana (Live Oak) and Sabal palmetto (Cabbage Palm).
Low shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants and ferns encountered in the mesic hammock include
Ampelopsis arborea (Peppervine), Asimina parviflora (Smallflower Pawpaw), Bignonia capreolata
(Crossvine), Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry), Elephantopus carolinianus (Carolina
Elephantsfoot), Erythrina herbacea (Coralbean), Euonymus americanus (American Strawberrybush),
Matelea floridana (Florida Milkvine), Oplismenus hirtellus (Woodsgrass), Parthenocissus
quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), Phytolacca americana var. rigida (American Pokeweed), several
Smilax (Greenbriar) species, Stachys floridana (Florida Betony), Tillandsia usneiodes (Spanish
moss), Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy), Vemonia gigantea (Giant Ironweed), Vitis aestivalis
(Summer Grape), Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine Grape) Woodwardia areolata (Netted Chain Fern)
and Woodwardia virginiana (Virginia Chain Fern).
The hydric bottomland forest bordering the creek is dominated by Acer rubrum (Red Maple),
Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum),
Nyssa sylvatica Marshall var. biflora (Swamp Tupelo), Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine), and Quercus
Graham Woods CALM
nigra (Water Oak), and Sabal palmetto (Cabbage Palm),). Also present are Celtis laevigata
(Hackberry), Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia), Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay), Quercus
michauxii (Basket Oak), Salix caroliniana (Carolina Willow, in open areas) and Tilia americana var
caroliniana (Carolina basswood). Low shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants and ferns found in this area
include Ampelopsis areborea (Peppervine), Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the Pulpit), Decumaria
barbara (Climbing Hydrangea), Hydrocotlye umbellata (Manyflower Marshpennywort), Itea
virginica (Virginia Willow), Myrica cerifera (Wax Myrtle), Sabal minor (Bluestem Palm, a
characteristic floodplain species), Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis (Elderberry, in open areas),
Saururus cernuus (Lizard's Tail), Thelypteris kunthii (Widespread Maiden Fern), Toxicodendron
radicans (Poison Ivy), Vitis rotundifolia (Muscadine Grape) and Woodwardia areolata (Netted Chain
In Graham Woods the following noteworthy species were observed: Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in
the Pulpit, and uncommon species), Dioscorea floridana (Florida Yam, an uncommon species) and
Matelea floridana (Florida Milkvine, endangered-FL).
Invasive non-native plant species
Future management of the site will need to address invasive plant management. The vegetation in
the north and northeastern edges of Graham Woods is most disrupted, with large populations of
Hedera helix (English Ivy), Macfadyena unguis-cati (Catclaw Vine) and Tradescantia fluminensis
(Small-leaf Spiderwort) covering the ground, climbing into the canopy, and dominating the
vegetation. Dioscorea bulbifera (Air Potato) is common in open sunny areas in the wetter parts of
the property. The following non-native species were also found on the property: Ardisia crenata
(Scratchthroat, occasional), Cinnamomum camphora (Camphortree), Citrus x aurantium (Sour
Orange), Colocasia esculenta (Wild Taro), Ehretia acuminata (Koda Wood, very common),
Eriobotryajaponica (Loquat), Ipomoea cairica (Mile A Minute Vine), Lantana camera (Lantana),
Ligustrum lucidum (Glossy Privet, common), Melia azedarach (Chinaberry Tree), Nephrolepis sp.
(Swordfern) and Sapium sebiferum (Popcorn Tree).
These woods are relatively small in size, which limits the amount of habitat for terrestrial species.
The following list of animals has been documented on site. American Crow, American Goldfinch,
American Redstart, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Black and White Warbler, Blue-Gray
Gnatcatcher, Brown-headed cowbird, Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Cedar
Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Tufted Titmouse,
Fish Crow, Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, House Finch, House Wren, Mourning Dove,
Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Orange Crowned Warbler, Orchard Oriole, Pileated
Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-eyed Vireo, Red-Shouldered
Hawk, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown Anole, Bronze Frog, Florida Box
Turtle, Gray Squirrel, Black Rat, Raccoon, and Feral Cat.
Graham Woods CALM
Upland hardwood hammock.
In general, hardwood forests occur on rolling hills that often have limestone or phosphatic rock near
the surface and occasionally as outcrops. Soils are generally sandy-clays or clayey sands with
substantial organic and often calcareous components. The topography and clayey soils increase
surface water runoff, although this is counterbalanced by the moisture retention properties of clays
and by the often thick layer of leaf mulch which helps conserve soil moisture and create decidedly
mesic conditions (FNAI).
The following soil information for on-site soils was gathered from the Soil Survey of Alachua
Blichton Sand (0-5% slope)
This gently sloping, poorly drained soil is on gently rolling uplands. Slopes are slightly convex. The
areas are mostly irregular in shape and elongated and range from 10 to 40 acres. Typically, the
surface layer is dark brown sand about 6 inches thick.
Millhopper Sand (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.
Arredondo Fine Sand (0-5% slope)
This nearly level to gently sloping, well-drained soil is in both small and large areas of uplands.
Slopes are smooth to complex. Typically, the surface layer is dark grayish brown fine sand about 8
Graham Woods CALM
Cultural and Recreational Resources
Graham Woods is primarily used as a short cut for people heading to and from Flavet Field (Band
Shell), which is home to both recreational and musical activities. Although these woods are bisected
with small-unmarked footpaths, the main access path is off Stadium Road across from Perry Field.
This path follows the western edge south to Graham Hall, with a spur path veering west to Flavet
Field. A known archeological site does exist on site.
Graham Woods is an area that should be considered as a hybrid between Nature Park and Nature
Preserve. Areas around the edge on the south and western side appear appropriate for some Nature
Park type of improvements, while the eastern side and interior should be largely off limits and,
therefore, considered a Nature Preserve. Future improvements to Graham Woods that should be
considered are placement of sitting areas along a more formalized loop trail that will encircle the
property (on the eastern side this trail will be outside of the Conservation Area). This trail would
create multiple short cuts opportunities, while helping to keep visitors out of dangerous and sensitive
areas within the Conservation Area. Also, habitat enhancements like bird and bat boxes and wildlife
friendly plantings should also be considered. Finally, as discussed in the water resources section, the
stormwater drains that empty into northern portions of this Conservation Area are in need of repair.
Potential solutions are being studied and will be forth-coming in the next edition of this plan.
Maps on the following pages:
1. Aerial Photo
2. Water Resources
3. Natural Communities