University of Florida Conservation Area Land Management Plan
Reitz Ravine Woods
Reitz Ravine Woods Conservation Area is approximately 2.9 acres in size and is buffered by 2.4
acres of Urban Park land use to the west. These woods lie southwest of the Reitz Union, south of the
Mechanical Engineering Building and just north of Museum Road. A mixed hardwood forest that
grades down to a narrow stream valley, flowing southwesterly, is the feature that characterizes this area.
The steep slopes of the ravine limit development potential of these woods as a future building site. The
2000- 2010 Campus Master Plan identified this conservation area as Preservation Area 15.
Natural Areas Inventory
Reitz Ravines Woods contains a permanent stream that run southwesterly towards Hume Pond and
ultimately into Lake Alice. The banks of the creek are deeply incised by years of down-cutting from
run-off of impervious surfaces and stormwater that drains directly into the ravine and creates much
of it base flow. Like most other creek systems on campus, the Ravine's creek is a mix of both
stormwater runoff and natural surfical aquifer seepage.
This creek shows some evidence of side bank erosion as evidenced elsewhere on campus. As with
most of the watersheds on campus, 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 parking lots with retention / detention put in place of
current hardscaped swales. Additionally, some riprap or alternative stabilization counter-measure
may needed in order to reduce in-stream erosion.
Reitz Ravines Woods is comprised of a mix of upland mesic / 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, within this conservation area, 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 canopy in this area is comprised of pignut hickory, winged elm, sweet gum,
loblolly pine, laurel oak, chestnut oak, water oak, cabbage palm, slash pine and maple. The lowland
stream valley wetland areas of the Woods include red maple, sweetgum, loblolly pine, cabbage palm,
southern magnolia, swamp tupelo, dahoon holly, wax myrtle, swamp dogwood, Florida elm,
stiffcornel dogwood, and American hornbeam. A ravine runs through the center of area and a
population of witch-hazel, (Hamamelis virginia L.) is present under the canopy. Witch-hazel is not
listed as an endangered or threatened species, but is considered by botanists to be rare and unusual
Invasive Non-Native Plant Species
University staff have documented the following list of non-native invasive plants on site that should
be managed once a funding source is identified: Air-potato vine, Cat-claw vine, American evergreen,
small-leaf spiderwort, Glossy privet, loquat, English ivy.
This area 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, 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, red-tailed hawk, turkey, yellow-billed cuckoo, screech-owl,
great-homed owl, ruby-throated hummingbird, acadian flycatcher, pileated woodpecker, hermit
thrush, cedar waxwing, yellow-throated warbler, opossum, gray squirrel, flying squirrel and white-
tailed deer. An inventory on mammals, herps, and birds is not planned for the Conservation Area.
Bridge over Ravine's Creek
In general, mesic upland mixed / 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 Soil Survey of Alachua County
Blichton Urban Land Complex (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 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 Recreational Resources
Reitz Ravine Woods is primarily used as a short cut for people heading to and from the Commuter
Parking Lot adjacent to North-South Drive and Hume Hall. Pedestrian and bike access is available
via small spur trails from Museum Road and the Reitz Union. Amenities in the form of benches and
picnic tables are present within the site. There are no known archeological or cultural sites within the
boundaries of this conservation area.
While small portions of Reitz Ravine Woods have physical restrictions where access should be
limited, the majority of this Conservation Area should be considered Nature Park where public use
and open access is emphasized. Future improvements to the area should include the closing of some
paved footpaths that transverse too close to the steep banks of the creek (possibly fencing off).
Additionally, habitat enhancements like wildlife friendly plantings and nesting structures for birds
and bats should be considered, along with markers for the identification of specimen trees. Since this
Conservation Area is in the vicinity of many academic departments and contains a diverse
community structure, there would appear to be opportunities to improve its use as an outdoor
teaching area. Finally, as discussed previously, there may be the need to address some upstream
erosion issues near the Reitz Union with riprap or an alternative stabilization counter-measure.
Maps on the following pages:
1. Aerial Photo
2. Water Resources
3. Natural Communities
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