Minutes of 25 October 1996 Advisory Committee meeting
Friday, 3-5 pm, Natural Area Teaching Laboratory and Room 1014, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Clark, Carmine Lanciani, Alan Long, Maria Minno, Clay Montague, Max Nickerson, Clay Scherer, Tom Walker (ch.). Also present were Mark Otto and Sue Ellen Smith of the Wetlands Club.
1. Tour of NATL
The first hour of the meeting was spent in NATL viewing and discussing current projects, including possible routes and construction access for the south and east boundary fences; infringements on the south NATL boundary at Insurance World and Regency Oaks Apartments; a proposed buffer of unburned vegetation along 34th Street; the site and limits of the next prescribed burn; a proposed never-to-be-burned-again area of upland pine in the high-use area (south of main road, east and north of gridlines E and 8); the southern successional plots (plots C, D, & E); and the burial of data conduits from the Performing Arts Center to NATL's gate for vehicles.
2. SEEP (Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project)
Mark Clark distributed copies of the latest SEEP pamphlet and noted that the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) had approved the recontouring of the NATL retention pond as required for SEEP. He passed out copies of a preliminary estimate of the costs, provided to the Committee by David O'Brien, Director, UF Physical Plant. The recontouring will require the removal of approximately 3,470 cubic yards of cut, 600 of which will be used for a tree island and a berm that will temporarily impound entering storm water. The total cost of the recontouring is estimated at $74,490 if the 2,870 cubic yards of excess cut is deposited nearby. If the excess cut must be hauled up to 5 miles from the excavation, the estimated cost increases to $120,050.
The next step in the project is to hire a consulting engineer to prepare a final design and bid specifications. Once this is done, a more accurate estimate of the ultimate cost can be made. Physical Plant estimated that consulting engineer fees would be as much as $9,650.
The Committee discussed possible sources for approximately $10,000 to fund the continuance of SEEP. The Wetlands Club will solicit funding from SJRWMD and the College of Engineering. The Chair, in cooperation with the Wetlands Club, will solicit funding from the Colleges that make greatest use of NATL-viz., Agriculture, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Natural Resources & Environment, and Engineering. If none of these sources seem likely to provide funds within a month or so, Max Nickerson will be asked to include some funding for SEEP in grant proposals the Florida Museum of Natural History is preparing. Clay Scherer suggested that an engineering firm might donate to SEEP by doing the project at a reduced rate. The Chair will pursue that possibility. He will also determine how payments to a consulting engineer are timed, in order to find out what minimum amount is needed to start the planning process.
3. South and east boundary fence
In late June, Dean Larry Connor notified the Committee that the College of Agriculture would provide $10,000 to cover the estimated cost of erecting a farm fence on NATL's south and east boundaries. The fence will improve security in NATL by deterring the entry of vagrants and will define NATL's limits where it abuts the Surge Area and Surge Area Drive. Putting up signs and controlling the undergrowth along the fence should reduce the littering and dumping that occurs where apartment complexes and the Surge Area abut NATL.
Tom Walker reviewed the status and prospects for the project. The south boundary of NATL has been approximately defined and enough vegetation removed to allow the UF Chapter of the Students Geomatics Association, under the leadership of Paul Maybre, to stake out a more exact line. This will permit further clearing along the line in preparation for bidding and construction.
The east fence will follow an existing fence along most of its north-south extent, but its route around the southwest and south portions of the surge area and between the sinkhole pond and Surge Area Drive must be determined in cooperation with UF's Lakes, Vegetation, and Landscaping Committee (LVL), Physical Plant, and Facilities Planning. The Committee agreed that the route should be as generous to NATL as other concerns would permit. Possible routes will be developed for the LVL Committee to consider at its 14 Nov 1996 meeting.
The Committee approved providing a way for construction vehicles to reach the south boundary by going directly south on the west side of the existing fence that is west of the Surge Area. No trees >3 inches DBH will be cut. The Committee agreed to ask Physical Plant to remove the large slabs of concrete piled in NATL just south of the Microfabritech building, and it agreed to take responsibility for litter deposited in NATL at Regency Oaks Apartments in return for a $500 donation. The money will be deposited in a SHARE account for use in improving NATL. IFAS Facilities Operations will be asked to remove existing fences along the route of the new boundary fence prior to bidding.
Physical Plant, IFAS Facilities Operations, and Division of Transportation were solicited for farm fence specifications. A DOT Type A Farm Fence seems the likliest choice thus far. Its specs will probably be used, provided the cost is within budget.
4. Upland pine
Alan Long, Jack Putz, Joe Schaefer, and Tom Walker met at NATL 17 Oct to plan for additional burns in NATL's upland pine. They proposed that the pineland south of last year's burn and north of the gas-line r/w be burned this winter. The remaining yet-unburned pineland would be burned the winter of 1997-98. Both burns would exclude the strip west of gridline A, providing a vegetational buffer between 34th Street and the restored upland pine. This strip might eventually be converted to a berm using excess cut from SEEP. The Committee approved the two proposed burns and the buffer strip along 34th Street. They concurred that the desirability and feasibility of a berm should be investigated.
Alan Long and Sam Jones will be in charge of this winter's burn. The target period for the burn is the Christmas break, but conditions must be favorable and fire crew and equipment available. A fire lane must surround the area to be burned. Disturbance can be minimized by using a disk rather than a fire plow to create the fire lane. The approximate route of the eastern firelane for the burn is marked with blue ribbon.
A letter composed by Alan Long and Tom Walker will be sent next week to 27 officials and managers who may be concerned about the fire and smoke of the burn. Nine of these officials will be notified of the burn again, this time by phone, once the date is set (normally no more than 24 hours beforehand). A water truck with fire hoses will be on site, and all smoldering logs and stumps will be extinguished immediately, thus avoiding the nighttime smoke problem encountered after the 10 Apr 1996 burn. Access by the water truck to all parts of the burn will be from the encircling fire lane.
Jack Putz will lead the post-burn treatment of upland pine and is planning to set up plots within last spring's burn to demonstrate and compare various methods of speeding the restoration.
5. Herp ponds
Paul Moler, Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission, toured NATL with Tom Walker on 21 Oct. He volunteered to monitor herp activity within NATL until next April, at which time he will recommend what action, if any, should be taken to increase herp numbers and diversity. He confirmed that some frog species should breed in the retention pond at the north end of the Surge Area, and the Committee agreed to ask appropriate authorities that it be included in NATL.
6. Projects for students, student clubs, or classes
There was little time to discuss this agenda item. The Environmental Action Group was identified as an organization that might take on a NATL project. Clay Montague suggested that developing a list of projects that students could complete within a 50-minute class period might be productive.
7. Other business
The NATL WWW homepage will be updated and Committee members asked to check the new text for accuracy and clarity.
Minutes of 28 March 1997 Advisory Committee meeting
Friday, 1:30-3:00 pm, Room 1014, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Clark, Alan Long, Maria Minno, Clay Montague, Max Nickerson, Clay Scherer, Tom Walker (ch.). Matt Horton (Landscape Architecture) attended for agenda item #3.
1. Prescribed burn
Alan Long reported that he had not yet had the proper combination of weather and availability of crew and equipment to effect the planned burn. He stated that the Gainesville Fire Department now plans to have its pumpers on site for all prescribed burns of NATL's upland pine, thereby simplifying the extinguishing of smoldering logs and stumps after the burn. He noted that an access to the south boundary, bulldozed approximately along gridline C, provided a firelane for a burn in the south-most portion of upland pine. The Committee concurred with his recommendation that the area west of this firelane be added to the area originally proposed for the impending burn. However, unless conditions become favorable within the next two months, the burn will have to be postponed until the winter of 1997-98. Alan pointed out that the newly bulldozed firelane is on a steep slope and may erode unless runoff is diverted to the side.
2. SEEP (Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project)
Mark Clark summarized the recent history of SEEP including the approval of the project by the Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping Committee (14 Nov) and the Facilities Planning Committee (16 Jan) and the raising of $40K in pledges: College of Agriculture, $10K; College of Engineering, $15K; Office of Provost, $10K; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, $5K. On the basis of these pledges, St. Johns River Water Management District awarded SEEP $10K in matching funds (12 Mar).
Pam Moore has been designated by Physical Plant Division as SEEP's project manager and expects to soon have the Design Consultant's preliminary estimate of costs of recontouring. The Committee urged that the finances of the project be planned quickly, before some or all of the pledges are withdrawn.
Mark reported that the Wetlands Club was planning the numbers and species of plants to be set out after the recontouring and was seeking sources and donors for plants. Ways to provide recognition for donors, such as listing in a trail guide, were discussed.
3. 34th Street berm
Matt Horton, a UF Landscape Architecture student, presented a design for a berm that would shield NATL from the noise and sight of 34th Street traffic. In several places he inserted wall segments to make the barrier continuous while protecting large longleaf pines from construction damage. The berm would require ca. 1378 cubic yards of fill, about half the likely excess from the SEEP recontouring. The estimated 325 linear feet of wall would cost an estimated $16K, if constructed of split face block. The use of cheaper materials, such as landscape timbers, and the likelihood of University administration supporting berm construction and beautification were discussed. Clay Montague asked whether changes in the drainage of the area would threaten the longleaf pines.
4. South and east boundary fence
Tom Walker summarized progress on the fence including approval by the Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping Committee (14 Nov) and the Facilities Planning Committee (16 Jan). He passed out a map showing the route of the fence and noted that NATL had been allowed to annex the retention pond north of the Mini-Storage facility and that a 20-foot-wide double gate south of the Hazardous Waste facility would give access to the utility right-of-way that runs along gridline 10. He suggested that the fence around the peninsular south of the Surge Area will be unsightly and that it might eventually be replaced with an attractive rustic fence.
Preparation for fence construction began about two weeks ago with the removal of old fences and the clearing of the access route along the south boundary. Instead of using the route designated by the Committee (near gridline I), IFAS sent its bulldozer south from the utility right-of-way near gridline C. As noted above, this established a firelane for burning the south-most upland pine. The fencing contractor, All-Florida Enterprises, started setting posts about one week ago and all posts are now in place except those needed for approximately 250 ft at the east end of the south boundary. Here the owner of the abutting property disputes the University's survey. Except for this 250 ft section, the fence should be completed in about two weeks. Resolving the boundary dispute may take a month or more. Of the $10,000 budgeted for the project, $8017.97 has been spent or encumbered. Approximately $1,600 may become available for other NATL needs.
5. Successional areas
Tom Walker reported that successional plot D had been cleared and tilled. It is scheduled to demonstrate succession for 40 years before being restarted—unless it is needed as an area to spread excess material from the SEEP project. Plot B is the next plot to be started, and it too may be required for SEEP.
Eliminating exotic grasses from the successional plots will continue but should require much less time and herbicide this growing season.
6. Nature trail
Maria Minno reported that a grant proposal for $50K for the nature trail had been submitted to the Dunn Foundation under the auspices of the Native Plant Society. This includes $20K for a SEEP boardwalk. A decision on funding is expected in about 4 months.
7. Photo archive
Max Nickerson reported that he hired professional photographer Mike Turco to take pictures at 90° intervals at each intersection of NATL's 50 m grid. The nearly three hundred 35-mm slides are a baseline photographic database for NATL and are documented and preserved in the archives of the Department of Interpretation, FLMNH.
8. Photos of NATL on WWW
Clay Scherer reported that he is collecting pictures that portray various aspects of NATL for incorporation into NATL's home page. Max Nickerson suggested that Clay contact Wayne King to coordinate links to the FLMNH home page.
9. Advisory Committee members and chair for next school year
Tom Walker agreed to continue as chair. The Committee concurred that two student groups, Environmental Management in Agriculture and Environmental Action Group, should be encouraged to take an interest in NATL, and that any club that wanted to help NATL on a continuing basis should be given the opportunity to have a member on the Advisory Committee.
Post-burn treatments. Clay Scherer asked to be allowed to continue to girdle laurel oaks in the previously burned area and possibly in the area to be burned. The girdling was approved with the proviso that he coordinate his activities with post-burn treatments planned by Jack Putz.
Trash pickup. On 22 Feb 1997, the Environmental Management in Agriculture Club (Melissa Montgomery, President) sponsored a trash pickup in NATL. More than 20 persons spent the morning picking up debris from the newly disked successional plot D and from NATL's border with Regency Oaks Apartments.
Spritzer's squirrels. Mark Spritzer, Zoology graduate student, has begun a two-year study of cache defense and cache sharing among grey squirrels in the low-use portion of NATL. The project was reviewed and approved by Joe Schaefer. Details of the project and its possible impact on NATL are described in a project summary in the NATL notebook kept by Tom Walker.
Possible signs. Signs are needed to deter improper entries into the low-use area, especially from the apartment complexes along the south NATL boundary. The Committee tentatively approved this as the text for such signs: University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory. Enter only at Florida Museum of Natural History (Powell Hall) and at gate southwest of Entomology & Nematology Bldg.
Next meeting. So much business is pending that a meeting of the Natural Area Advisory Committee will likely be needed near the end of the Semester, probably during the first few days of exams.
Minutes of 2 October 1997 Advisory Committee meeting
Thursday, 1:30-3:00 pm, Room 1014, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Carmen Lanciani, Maria Minno, Max Nickerson, Mark Otto (Wetlands Club), Jack Putz, Joe Schaefer, Clay Scherer, Tom Walker (ch.).
NATL amphibians.The Committee discussed the attached report by Paul E. Moler, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. Moler indicated that a SEEP-to-hammock forest corridor would probably be of little value to amphibians. He recommended that additional ephemeral ponds be constructed, because some of the NATL species likely depend on off-site breeding areas. In his analysis of previous records, Moler noted that the Florida chorus frog (Pseudacris nigrita verrucosa) was almost certainly false and that he had not confirmed the present occurrence of southern cricket frogs (Acris gryllus dorsalis). He suggested that species lists for NATL be based on vouchered collections, so that if a species disappeared from NATL, its previous occurrence could not be questioned.
Nature trail. Max Nickerson reported that the Florida Museum of Natural History has funds to establish information stations at the museum and east entrances to NATL and to help with SEEP, should the need arise. He described the present concept of the FLMNH nature trail through NATL and noted that money for it is being sought from NSF.
SEEP. Mark Otto reported that the Wetlands Club has worked with Pam Moore, PPD's Project Manager, to refine SEEP's design. The contract documents should be completed later this month and the recontouring put out to bid. Construction will likely be in December or January. Partly because of changes in the width and slope of the berm separating the treatment marsh and the floodplain forest, the amount of spoil expected is now much less than originally estimated. This increases the likelihood that the $50K budgeted for the recontouring will be sufficient.
34th Street berm. Tom Walker reported that the amount of spoil expected from SEEP's recontouring closely approximates what is needed to construct a berm along 34th Street. This berm was approved in concept last year by the NATL and LVL Committees but not by Physical Plant Division. Its purpose is to shield NATL from the sight and noise of six-lane traffic. Because planning the berm and winning PPD approval of it may take six months or more, one option in the construction documents for SEEP's recontouring should be to store the spoil for later use. The Committee approved a 65 x 160 ft soil storage site in succession plot C, which is southwest of SEEP. The long dimension of the site is north-south and its southwest comer is the intersection of gridline F and the north edge of the main trail. The site is already overlain with previously discarded clay. When the berm is constructed, the spoil can be moved to the berm site via the road to and along the east fence of the DPI compound and then via the fire lane along the south DPI fence. In three places, the proximity of large longleaf pines to the fences may require that the spoil-hauling trucks detour about 30 feet into upland pine. The committee approved using this route from the storage site to the berm, if no better route is found.
Prescribed burns. Alan Long suggested (by e-mail) that "we should plan to make our arrangements with the city earlier than last year, and maybe take advantage of any opportunities in weather rather than waiting for breaks." The Committee was unanimous in assigning highest priority to the restoration of NATL's upland pine, and in keeping with this, voted to request two burns for this fall/winter. The first burn would be of the upland pine south of Division Trail and west of the fire lanes established last year. The second burn would be of the upland pine that was burned IO April 1996, except that the area east of gridline E and between the main and division trails would be omitted.
NATL photos on WWW. Clay Scherer reported on plans to post photographs of various habitat types on NATL's home page and his intention of using some of the ones that were taken last January by FLMNH.
2. Changes in land use
The Committee gave preliminary approval to proposed
changes in designated uses of NATL land (as mailed to the Committee
on 15 Sep 1997 and as shown on the attached maps). The major changes are
(1) excluding some of the upland pine from restoration, (2) increasing
the upland pine area in the high-use portion of NATL, and (3) reducing
the width of the peninsula of hammock planned to extend from SEEP to the
main body of the hammock. Final approval of the changes will be sought
at the Committee's next meeting.
3. Revision of plans for successional plots
The revised management plans for the five successional plots were approved.
4. NATL names
Proposed names for the major trails and physical features of NATL (see attached map) were approved.
5. East-entrance information station
Max Nickerson reported that FLMNH would fund and supervise the planning and construction of information stations at the museum and east NATL entrances. Tom Walker presented conceptual plans, prepared with the help of Clay Scherer, for the east entrance station.
6. Dedication of SEEP
The Committee suggested that plans for dedicating SEEP be postponed until the project is far enough along to merit showing it to the public.
7. Financial report
Tom Walker reported that $1600 has been donated to NATL's SHARE account, that $612.79 has been spent [SHARE fees ($38.50), berm design ($246), mower renovation ($236.27), and chain saw maintenance ($74.52)], leaving a balance of $987.21. The Committee approved using some of the balance for future purchases of herbicides to control invasive exotics.
The committee approved spending up to $150 for making and installing no-entry signs along the south NATL border. The signs will read, "DO NOT CROSS FENCE, University of Florida."
9. Possible projects
The committee is seeking individual or club volunteers to help with the development of NATL.
These are candidate projects:
- Soil survey
- Design and siting of ephemeral ponds
- Census, measurement, and mapping of large longleaf pines
- Land-use history of area that is now NATL
- Vegetational history of NATL
- Trash pick up along south border
- Update and repair of grid
10. Active projects These projects were adopted:
- Design and construct information station at east gate and plan what it will display.
- Extirpate invasive exotics (e.g., Ardesia, air potato, Japanese climbing fem).
- Enhance accounts of vertebrates in the Biota portion of NATL's home page.
- Start and maintain wetland plants to be transplanted to SEEP.
Wetlands Club will supervise. Jack Putz and Tom Walker offered space in their department's greenhouses and screenhouses.
These projects were continued:
- Monitor and facilitate the recontouring of the retention pond.
- Supervise this year's prescribed burns of upland pine.
- Plan and execute post-burn treatments of upland pine.
- Develop a nature trail for FLMNH visitors in the high-use portion of NATL.
- Put photographs of principal NATL ecosystems on WWW.
- Lay out 34th Street berm and work for its approval and construction.
- Eliminate invasive exotic grasses from successional plots and prepare plots for future tilling.
Max Nickerson, Maria Minno,
Minutes of 19 March 1998 Advisory Committee meeting
Thursday, 1:00-2:45 pm, Room 1015, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Clark, Don Dickson, Carmen Lanciani, Maria Minno, Max Nickerson, and Tom Walker (ch.). Others present were Tamatha Barbeau and Ali Hamilton (herp ponds) and (Mark Otto (Wetlands Club).
1. Changes in land-use
The Committee gave final approval to the changes in designated uses of NATL land that it first approved in its 2 Oct 1997 meeting. (The changes are described in the minutes of that meeting.) Other changes in NATL's land use plan may be needed once NATL's retention basin is recontoured and the group studying frog breeding reports. In view of this, the Committee agreed that land-use maps on long-lasting NATL educational materials need not show the narrow pond-to-hammock corridor that is part of the approved plan.
2. Greening UF representation
The Committee supported NATL being represented on the Greening the University of Florida group by Maria Minno.
3. Ephemeral ponds for frogs
Tamatha Barbeau and Ali Hamilton gave a progress report of their study of the desirability, placement, and construction of ephemeral ponds for frog breeding. An outline of their report is attached.
4. East-entrance information station
Maria Minno gave an overview of progress on the east gate kiosk. She showed a picture and plans of a information kiosk similar to the one to be constructed at NATL's east gate. She reported that a 84 × 48" full-color vinyl poster could be printed for $362.82 and that mounting it on a board would cost an estimated $70 more. A vinyl poster would be expected to last 4 years even in direct sunlight. She passed out proposed layouts for both sides of the board and drafts of the text for some of the items. Tom Walker volunteered to copy the handouts and send them to the Advisory Committee members with instructions to return them to Minno with their comments and suggestions. Mark Otto suggested that a guest list be made part of the kiosk, and the Committee agreed that such a list would be an aid in justifying requests for money.
Max Nickerson reported on progress in designing and arranging the construction of the east gate kiosk. The present plan calls for a 4 x 8' display surface with one side glass covered and the other side open. The display surface would be supported on a sturdy pressure-treated frame and sheltered by a cracker-style roof. The glass-covered side may be in two panels resulting in a divided display area. The open side would have a display surface of marine plywood. The exact location and orientation of the kiosk was discussed, but no decision was made. The Florida Department of State is funding the kiosk through a grant to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Mark Clark reported that the contract documents for the Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project are ready, but that putting the project out to bid has been delayed by the expectation that the current high water would inflate the cost. He predicted that the pond will not dry up for some months and recommended that the project be put out to bid soon, so that, if the bid is within budget, construction can occur before heavy summer rains begin.
6. Prescribed burns.
Tom Walker reported that on 12 March, Alan Long directed a successful burn of the upland pine in the high-use area. After the burn, smoldering material was extinguished quickly, and smoke caused no problems. Ron Matus of the Gainesville Sun attended the burn with a photographer. The next day the Sun ran the story, with photo, on the first page of the local-news section.
Walker further reported that Long hoped to burn the low-use upland pine as soon as conditions become suitable, but that he did not expect the burn to be hot enough to accomplish much. To help open the canopy and to provide fuel for a hotter fire next winter, the Committee approved the cutting of medium sized laurel oaks in the low-use upland pine.
7. Successional plots and 34th Street berm
Tom Walker reported that short-term plans for the successional plots include removal or leveling of the piles of dirt and debris behind the Performing Arts Center and along and west of gridline F. Longer term plans are readying Plots A and C for starting in 2002 and 2000. Plans for the 34th Street berm are unchanged, except that the needed dirt from SEEP may not be available as soon as expected.
8. Procedures for projects in the low-use area
The Committee approved the attached procedures for proposing, approving, and reporting on projects in NATL's low-use area. When the procedures are posted on the Web, they will be linked to the earlier, more general "Rules for Using NATL," adopted 8 Dec. 1995.
9. Clean-up along south fence
The area along NATL's south fence has a couple of decades' accumulation of litter from adjacent apartments. The Environmental Management in Agriculture club scheduled a trash pickup for 28 February, but it had to be canceled because of flooding. EMA was unable to reschedule their pickup but the Entomology and Nematology Student Organization will sponsor one later this semester or early next semester.
The Committee agreed that once trash along the south fence has been removed, signs will be placed that read "Please do not litter or cross fence/University of Florida/Natural Area Teaching Lab."
Visitors to Florida Museum of Natural History frequently explore NATL by walking south along the DPI fence. To deter them from wandering into the low-use area, a sign will be erected at the southeast corner of the fence that reads, "Please do not enter/Research Area." Visitors who do not wish to backtrack will be directed eastward along NATL's Division Trail by a second sign that reads, "TRAIL," and has an eastward pointing arrow.
11. Financial report
Tom Walker reported that the NATL SHARE account has a balance of $792.41 and handed out a list of receipts and expenditures for the period 22 Nov 1996 to 19 Mar 1998. Carmine Lanciani agreed to be a one-man audit committee.
12. Committee membership and chair
The Committee made no change in its membership and accepted Walker's offer to remain chair.
13. NATL property abstract
To establish the history of NATL's property, the Committee approved spending up to $300 on an abstract of title.
Minutes of 25 September 1998 Advisory Committee meeting
Friday, 3:00-4:45 pm, NATL and Room 1015, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Clark, Don Dickson, Jerry Kidder, Carmen Lanciani, Maria Minno, Jack Putz, Clay Scherer, and Tom Walker (ch.). Others present were Tamatha Barbeau (Zoology), Kaoru Kitajima (Botany), Mark Otto (Wetlands Club), Marilyn Roberts (Florida Museum of Natural History) and Reggie Wilcox (Entomology & Nematology).
The meeting began at the new NATL kiosk, where Mark Clark explained the Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project (SEEP) and introduced the SEEP poster that he and Mark Otto had installed on the north side of the kiosk. The meeting continued with a tour of successional plots C and D, of partially restored upland pine, and of the path of the proposed 34th Street berm. The rest of the meeting was indoors.
Mark Clark distributed a three-page "SEEP update and near-future agenda". Since SEEP was re-contoured in late May, the Wetlands Club has planted 710 individuals of 22 native wetland species during four work sessions. Plans for SEEP include construction of a temporary sandbag weir to regulate water flow from the forebay, development of long-term research goals and means to implement them, and a community planting and dedication in late winter or early spring. The Club proposes that the wooden fence that ends at the south end of SEEP be extended northward and then westward around SEEP. This will restrict access to gateways with explanatory material and will prevent the creation of paths directly downslope to the waters edge, which would erode. At its October meeting, the Lakes, Vegetation, and Landscaping (LVL) Committee will be asked to recommend that construction of such a fence be approved.
Tom Walker reported that a centerline for the proposed 34th berm has been staked and the undergrowth and nearby laurel oaks largely cleared. The route permits a berm with a footprint as wide as 18 ft to be constructed without unduly endangering any mature trees typical of upland pine. The Committee agreed that the berm should be at least six feet high and have sides as steep as practical. Jerry Kidder volunteered to seek advice from a civil engineer on what type of cross-section might be feasible. Although the concept of a 34th Street berm was endorsed by LVL in its 14 Nov. 1996 meeting, it was disapproved by Vice-President Schaffer. Subsequently the Advisory Committee paid for the design of a landscaped berm and proposed that the Physical Plant Division (PPD) put it on their list of campus landscaping projects for the next fiscal year. That request was denied in a 16 May 1997 letter from PPD Director David O'Brien. The berm now proposed will be naturally vegetated and will require no maintenance. The LVL Committee will be asked to approve the construction of this type of berm, along the staked route, probably at its November meeting. If the berm is approved by LVL, PPD, and Schaffer, its final design and the means of construction must be resolved. Relative to design, spoil taken from SEEP and piled in the eastern half of successional plot C is apparently sufficient to construct a 230-yard berm with a cross section of 8 sq. yd. Relative to construction, IFAS Facilities Operations will soon report as to whether it might move the dirt and/or shape the berm. The shortest truck route from the spoil pile to the berm is west on Main Trail, south on DPI Trail, and west on Division Trail. Three or four large longleaf pines are potentially endangered by soil compaction along this route. It was suggested that soil compaction could be reduced by laying down sheets of plywood or by covering the root area with wood chips. An alternative truck route would be to haul the spoil east to Surge Area Drive, south to the gate at Gasline Trail, and then west to the berm.
3. Ephemeral ponds
Tamatha Barbeau gave a progress report on her study, with Ali Hamilton, of the desirability, placement, and construction of ephemeral ponds for frog breeding. An outline of the report is attached. Five of NATL anuran species breed only in ephemeral ponds and seven others sometimes do so. Three sites were recommended for excavation to make them more suitable for amphibian breeding (see map). One was in a shallow clay-bottomed depression in successional plot C between grid points F5 and G5. The other two were in hammock south of Gasline Trail. The report recommended that the ponds be made 0.5 to 2.0 ft. deep and 10 to 20 ft. in diameter.
4. Upland pine restoration
Alan Long scouted the upland pine areas just prior to the meeting and left these recommendations. During the late fall and winter, all of the upland pine that is being restored should be burned. Piles of brush and logs along the edges of upland pine (created by clearing successional plot C and the route of the proposed berm) should be chipped prior to the burns, to prevent high flames and long-smoldering log fires.
Jack Putz brought ca. 200 slips of wild flowers appropriate to upland pine. They will be planted in the high-use area's upland pine.
5. Florida Museum of Natural History plans
Marilyn Roberts presented the attached "wish list" for FlMNH facilities in NATL and in the area between NATL and Powell Hall. Included were a 30 × 30 ft pole-barn-type pavilion with 6 to 8 picnic tables (adjacent to the parking area), an amphitheater of benches to seat 65 to 75 persons (facing south near the museum entrance to NATL), plantings of wax myrtle along the DPI fence (to act as a visual and sound barrier), two short loop trails that link with the longer NATL trail system; and boardwalk access into SEEP. Roberts reported that Jody Rosier of the Paynes Prairie Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society thought she could provide the wax myrtles for the DPI fence and some help in planting them. Walker reported that Al Stanley of PPD had said that PPD might help with the planting.
6. East-entrance information station
The Florida Museum of Natural History, with support from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council, recently erected a permanent kiosk at NATL's east gate. Poster panels that describe NATL's history and management were reprinted and placed in the 4 × 8 ft. display case on the front (south) face of the kiosk. A poster describing SEEP was placed in the 4 × 4 ft display case on the back of the kiosk. The remaining 4 × 4 ft area on the back of the kiosk serves as a bulletin board for displaying other NATL information. Plexiglass document holders will be added to dispense pamphlets and NATL grid maps.
7. Name of road from Hull Road to NATL
A petition to rename the road from Hull Road to NATL "Natural Area Drive" will be considered by the Honorary Degrees, Distinguished Alumnus Awards and Memorials Committee this fall.
8. Successional plots
Tom Walker reported that successional plot C was cleared this summer. It is scheduled to be tilled and started on its 40-year rotation in the year 2000, thus requiring that the piles of spoil from SEEP be moved from it by then.
9. New member
Kaoru Kitajima joined the Committee. Her membership will ensure that the Botany Department is represented while Jack Putz is in Zimbabwe for a year.
10. Plans for 1998-99.
Projects for 1998-99 will include—
- SEEP. The Wetlands Club and its SEEP Coordinator, Mark Clark, will see to the continued development of SEEP, including plantings, weir engineering, long-range planning, and establishment of a 10-meter grid.
- Prescribed burns. Alan Long will plan and execute burns of all of NATL's upland pine that is to be restored.
- 34th Street berm. Tom Walker will work to have the concept of the berm approved by LVL and PPD, to establish a design, and to explore means of getting it built.
- Soil survey. Don Graetz will see if the Agronomy Club or similar group will undertake the mapping of NATL's soils..
- Vegetational history. Kaoru Kitajima will look for someone to research the history of NATL's vegetation, perhaps as a senior project.
- South-fence clean-up. The Environmental Management in Agriculture Club and the Entomology & Nematology Student Organization will be encouraged to sponsor clean-ups of the area along and inside NATL's south fence.
- Map and re-survey of grid. The UF chapter of the Students Geomatics Association will be encouraged to re-survey NATL's 50-meter grid and prepare an accurate map of NATL.
Minutes of 14 January 1999 Advisory Committee meeting
Thursday, 1:30 to 3 pm, Room 1014, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Clark, Don Graetz, Kaoru Kitajima, Jerry Kidder, Maria Minno, and Tom Walker (ch.). Others present were Tamatha Barbeau (Zoology), Brian Goe (Landscape Architecture)
1. Funding of 34th Street berm
An estimated $22,000 is required to remove 2,000 cu yd of spoil that was piled on Successional Plot C and to use it to build a 6-ft-high earthen berm along SW 34 Street south of the DPI compound. In late December, Larry Connor, Dean of the College of Agriculture, pledged $7,000 toward the project, and in early January, Mike Martin, Vice President for Agricultural and Natural Resources, pledged an additional $5K. A request for the remaining $10,000 has been made to M. J. Ohanian, Acting Vice President, Office of Research, Technology, and Graduate Education (ORTGE).
2. SEEP fence
A 709 ft fence that will continue NATL's wooden fence northward and westward around the Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project will be erected within the next few weeks. Its cost of $2,370 will come from the $2,684 that remains of the $65,000 donated to implement SEEP. A 4-ft gap in the fence will facilitate entrance to SEEP from the north.
3. Myrtle hedge along DPI fence
As reported at the last Advisory Committee meeting, Florida Museum of Natural History is promoting a wax myrtle hedge along the east DPI fence, and Jody Rosier from the Paynes Prairie Native Plant Chapter may be able to provide both the plants and labor to do it. Al Stanley of Physical Plant Division (PPD) has recommended using a 7-gal tree every 10 feet and planting every other tree 6 to 8 ft from the fence. The 300m stretch of fence will require approximately 100 wax myrtles. In case Rosier cannot provide enough plants or labor, Tom Walker is asking the LVL Committee to approve the hedge and recommend that PPD provide help, if needed and feasible. Marilyn Roberts (FlMNH), who is leading the hedge project, notes that planting the myrtles should be delayed until after this year's prescribed burn—to prevent the fire from stressing the transplants. Maria Minno suggested that wax myrtle was overused, and that additional evergreen native species should be used for the hedge.
4. Change of road name to "Natural Area Drive"
The Honorary Degrees, Distinguished Alumnus Awards and Memorials Committee has not acted on a 20 July 1998 petition to rename the road from Hull Road to NATL "Natural Area Drive." The HDDAAM Committee has not met because its Chair is busy serving as acting Vice President of ORTGE. Tom Walker will request that a decision be made prior to the dedication of SEEP.
5. Landscape Architecture design project for north NATL
Brian Goe, a graduate student in Landscape Architecture, was introduced. He is undertaking a design project that includes the northern portion of NATL . He solicits help from members of the Natural Area Advisory Committee in learning what problems and opportunities should be addressed.
6. Prescribed burns
Alan Long reported by phone that he plans to burn the entire area that is being restored to upland pine. He hopes to accomplish the burn in one day within the next 45 days, providing the burn crew and equipment are available when weather is favorable.
7. Dedication of SEEP
Mark Clark reported that the Wetlands Club is planning a dedication/planting day for SEEP. The proposed date is Saturday, 17 April 1999. Activities may include recognition of donors, a community planting of native wetland species, tours of SEEP and the upland portion of NATL, and celebrating the renaming of Surge Area Drive. One way that the donors might be recognized is to have them participate in a ceremonial tree planting that would be photographed in conjunction with newspaper and alumni-magazine stories on SEEP and NATL. Maria Minno volunteered to advertise the event through the Native Plant Society. Mark promised to keep the Committee posted on plans via e-mail.
8. Proposed changes in long-range management plan
The Committee gave initial approval to two changes proposed by e-mail by Tom Walker prior to the meeting.
(1) Make the hammock-to-SEEP wildlife corridor part of Successional Plot E, which is a 40-year plot scheduled to be started in 2020.
Approved by a vote of 6 to 0.
(2) Excavate a shallow depression to establish an ephemeral pond at the south edge of Successional Plot D.
Approved by a vote of 5 to 1. The dissenting vote was based on a concern that the ephemeral pond might lessen or subvert the primary function of Plot D, which is to serve as one of the two successional plots that will be re-started every 10-years.
Before these two changes can take effect, they must be approved again at the next Advisory Committee meeting.
9. Proposed changes in Committee procedures
The Committee approved by a vote of 6 to 0 the changes in its procedures that were proposed by e-mail by Tom Walker prior to the meeting.
The largest changes were to eliminate the section on "Keeping administrators posted" and to add these two duties to those assigned the Chairperson: (1) "Prepare an Annual Report and send it to chairs of departments that are using NATL and to other administrators that should be kept informed" and (2) "Serve as an ex officio member of the Lakes, Vegetation & Landscaping Committee."
The current Operating Policies are on the Web at (no longer available). The proposed changes are incorporated in the draft Operating Policies attached to these minutes. To take effect, the changes must be approved again at the next Advisory Committee meeting.
10. Other business
Mark Clark will investigate the desirability of the Natural Area Advisory Committee being represented at meetings of the Greening UF Council.
Don Graetz will continue to promote a soil survey of NATL.
Tom Walker will install new grid stakes and will continue to promote a re-survey of NATL's grid.
Kaoru Kitajima will continue to promote a study of NATL's vegetational history.
Minutes of 1 April 1999 Advisory Committee meeting
Thursday, 1:30 to 3:30 pm, Room 1014, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Clark, Don Graetz, Jerry Kidder, Carmine Lanciani, Alan Long, and Tom Walker (ch.). Others present were Mary Collins and John Galbraith (Soil and Water Science) and Marilyn Roberts (Florida Museum of Natural History)
1. SEEP dedication
Mark Clark gave an overview of the Wetland Club's plans for the dedication of SEEP, which will start at 2pm on Saturday, 17 April. The brief ceremonies will include the unveiling of a plaque recognizing the major donors and the planting of cypress trees by the donors or their representatives. After the ceremonies, there will be a community planting of native wetland species and refreshments. Mark reported that Ron Matus of the Gainesville Sun is writing a story about SEEP that will come out within a week and should help promote the dedication and planting. Persons wishing to tour NATL prior to the dedication are to meet at the east gate kiosk from 12:30-1:45pm. Tom Walker will organize the tours, which will end with brief van trips through NATL's ecosystems. Marilyn Roberts will promote the tours, the dedication, and the planting to those attending Earth Day events at FlMNH the morning of 17 April. Tom Walker reported that a promo for the dedication was scheduled to appear in the April 14 UF Digest (UF's paid-for center section of each Wednesday Alligator). Adding impact will be a picture of Larry Connor standing under the new road sign for Natural Area Drive while holding the just-removed sign for Surge Area Drive.
2. Soil resources inventory plan
John Galbraith and Mary Collins presented their "Soil Resources Inventory Plan" for NATL (copy attached). After a lengthy discussion the Committee approved the goals of the plan, including an intensive survey of the soils and near-surface groundwater resources of NATL and using NATL for teaching about soils. The committee gave specific approval to items 1 through 8 and item 11 of the numbered list under "III. Procedures and Deliverable Products":
|1)||Develop a GIS base layer of the NATL using digital orthophotography plus existing site, survey and geographic information.|
|2)||Describe surface litter layers by frame sampling and mineral soil profiles by auger to 2m depth at each of the existing grid intersections, plus at intermediate sites as needed.|
|3)||Measure elevation at each sample site for development of a landform/contour GIS layer, plus at intermediate sites as needed.|
|4)||Correlate descriptions to the soil series level at each sample site.|
|5)||Develop point and areal soil maps and GIS layers.|
|6)||Enter soil descriptions into computer format.|
|7)||Use GPR to confirm stratigraphy of selected subsurface features.|
|8)||Estimate surface water flow patterns and develop a watershed/runoff GIS layer.|
|11)||Select 3 to 6 prime sites for backhoe pit sampling and monolith construction covering a range of soil and land use variations.|
The Committee withheld approval of digging exploratory soil pits, pending agreement on the sites of the pits and the extent to which vegetation could be disturbed by digging the pits and accessing their sites.
The Committee also withheld approval of establishing permanent soil pits for educational purposes pending agreement on the sites of the pits and the nature of the pits and the structures associated with them. These issues were identified as important in the placement and design of permanent pits: (1) safety, (2) appearance, (3) maintenance, (4) impact on vegetation, and (5) nearness to trails or fire lanes.
The Plan included a budget of $8,900. The Committee suggested that Soil and Water Science ask the College of Agriculture for funds, because of the lasting benefit to that department's academic programs. As Chair of NAAC, Tom Walker offered to help solicit money from other sources should the College of Agriculture commit only a portion of what was needed. It was noted that the soil survey would be of general benefit to those using NATL, whereas the permanent soil pits would be largely used by Soils classes.
3. Items for open portion of kiosk
Tom Walker asked for and received suggestions regarding the content of eight letter-sized sheets intended to replace those presently on the open portion of the east-gate kiosk. New text for a section of "Rules for Using NATL" was discussed. This version was approved:
Flags, stakes, etc.
Flags, stakes, and equipment may be temporarily left in the high-use area of NATL without permission. However, unless they are registered and identifiable as provided on this board, they will be removed without notice. In any case, the person who leaves flags, stakes, and equipment should remove them as soon as their purpose is completed.
4. Second vote on proposed changes in long-range management plan
Changes in the long-range management plan that were given initial approval at the meeting of 14 Jan 1999 (see minutes) were given final approval. The vote on making the hammock-to-SEEP wildlife corridor part of Successional Plot E was 7 to 0. The vote on excavating a shallow depression to establish an ephemeral pond at the south edge of Successional Plot D was 6 to 1. It was clarified that clearing and tilling every 10 years would apply to the pond as well as to the rest of Plot D.
5. Second vote on proposed changes in Committee procedures
Changes in Committee procedures that were given initial approval at the meeting of 14 Jan 1999 (see minutes) were given unanimous final approval. The status of the LVL chair as a voting member of NAAC was confirmed.
6. Prescribed burns
Alan Long reported a successful burn on 16 March of the upland pine in the south portion of the low-use area. High temperatures and low humidity prevented continuing the burn north of Gasline Trail. Should a soaking rain be followed by a strong cold front, that area might still be burned this season. Long reported that Alachua County Fire and Rescue had offered to help with NATL burns and that a fire crew from Camp Blanding may be available.
7. DPI hedge
Marilyn Roberts reported that Jody Rosier of the Native Plant Society planned to use volunteers to plant the hedge along DPI's east fence on Saturday, 1 May. Rosier is proposing to plant a mixed hedge consisting of 50 wax myrtles, 25 coral honeysuckle vines and 25 yellow jasmine. Only the coral honey suckles have been donated (by Claudia Larson). If other donors can't be found, the Committee may be asked to help. The Committee noted that the fence belonged to DPI and that their permission would be required for it to be used to support NATL's vines. Walker will determine if DPI objects to vines on its fence.
8. Information items
Berm along 34th Street. A bid by Site-Tech Construction was the only bid, of three received, that was within budget. A purchase order for $19,180 has been issued for protective barriers for two trees and for building, mulching, and planting the berm. Construction is expected to start about 1 May.
Fifty-meter grid. Tim Whitaker and Steve Clancy of the Students Geomatics Association have surveyed the grid from Division Trail north. They have marked each grid point with a 24-inch-long, half-inch-diameter iron rod driven flush with the soil surface. The remainder of NATL may be surveyed in May.
Publicity for NATL. UF Today is preparing an article on NATL for its summer issue. Tom Walker will write a feature article for UF Digest for next fall. He will circulate it to the Committee prior to its submission.
9. Annual audit
Carmine Lanciani and Don Graetz, serving as an audit committee, reported that they had examined the fiscal reports (attached) for 1998-99 and found them to be in order. The balances in the general, SEEP, and berm funds total $3,163.14.
10. Committee membership and chair for 1999-2000
Joe Schaefer and Carmine Lanciani have declined membership for next year and replacements from their departments will be sought. Because of his interest in SEEP, Mark T. Brown was proposed as a substitute for Clay Montague, from Environmental Engineering Science. In the absence of voiced alternatives, Tom Walker agreed to remain Chair for another year.
Minutes of 21 October 1999 Advisory Committee meeting
Thursday, 3:00 to 4:15 pm, Room 1014, Entomology & Nematology Building. Members present were Mark Brown, Mark Clark, Don Graetz, Susan Jacobson, Clay Scherer, and Tom Walker (ch.).
1. Long-term oversight of SEEP
Mark Clark reported that the Wetlands Club had completed Phase 1 (recontouring) and Phase 2 (planting native wetland species) of its Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project. He noted that Phase 3 (long-term monitoring and and oversight) involved time spans too long to be suitable for Wetlands Club supervision. He proposed that the Wetlands Club continue to be involved with short-term SEEP projects, but that long-term oversight be the charge of a committee of faculty with interests in SEEP. At least one member of the SEEP committee should be a member of the Natural Area Advisory Committee, so as to provide communication between the two committees. Any conflicts between the two committees would be settled by the Lakes, Vegetation, and Landscaping Committee, since both committees would be subordinate to it.
2. NATL security concerns
Tom Walker led a discussion of potential security problems in NATL based on an analysis by the University Police Department in a letter dated 6 April 1999. The committee supported these actions on specific suggestions for security improvements contained in the letter.
Contact neighbors and enlist their support. The managers of Regency Oaks Apartments and Archer Woods Apartments should be contacted, given information about NATL, and acquainted with the problems along NATL's south fence—namely, trash dumping and trespassing. They should be urged to give their residents NATL pamphlets and to encourage their residents to visit NATL via the east gate on Natural Area Drive.
Increase patrol. Explore the possibility of routine bicycle patrol of the South and 34th Street Trails. The officers could enter and exit at the Surge Area gate. A bicycle trail from this gate to the South Trail would allow the patrol route to be a loop, with the east-west portions being South Trail and Division Trail.
Emergency telephone. Ask the LVL Committee to recommend to Gerald Schaffer that an emergency telephone be installed at the east-gate kiosk.
Safety information at the kiosk. An 8.5 x 11" notice entitled "Safety Issues" should be posted on the north side of the kiosk. It should have the following three items:
NATL is open to the public from dawn until dusk. Only authorized persons are permitted in NATL during nighttime.
Report any person or incident that seems a threat to safety to University Police at 392-1111 (e.g., unauthorized nighttime activity or a campsite).
If you are working on a class or research project in NATL, especially at night, work with a buddy and make sure that your schedule and whereabouts are known to someone who cares. Use of signs. Signs should be posted along the south and 34th Street fences. The signs should identify the area as the University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory and forbid entry by crossing the fence but invite entry at the east gate or Powell Hall. Posting the signs should be preceded by making a well-maintained fire lane along the south fence.
3. Interpretative materials for NATL
Susan Jacobson displayed some of the interpretative materials for NATL that her class prepared this semester. She noted that seats and tables, perhaps near the kiosk, would be helpful for classes using NATL. She agreed to develop this idea further, and to work with Marilyn Roberts on plans for interpreting NATL to its visitors.
4. Prescribed burns
Prior to the meeting, Alan Long declared that he was prepared to burn all of NATL's to-be-restored upland pine this winter. He has all needed resources lined up but must wait for cold weather to kill back some of the vegetation.
The 7-foot-high earthen berm along 34th Street was completed 20 Oct 1999, and it was planted with Bermuda grass and rye seed and covered with straw to stabilize it. In order that a bulldozer could be used to pack and shape the berm, it was made wider at top than originally specified. This required more soil than had been stockpiled on successional plot C, and the deficiency was made up by excavating some of the clay that had been dumped on plot C more than a decade ago. The $3,000 that remains in the berm fund may be sufficient to refurbish plot C by bringing in soil to replace the excavated clay, to level the pile of cattail muck stored on plot C, to level or remove old piles of debris in plots C and A, and to remove stumps in the fire lanes.
6. Other items
Publicity for NATL. UF Digest has agreed to publish an article on NATL in its 10 Nov. 1999 edition.
Revised panel. A new fourth panel of the display on the south side of the kiosk is needed because of the change in the boundaries of Plots B, C, and E. Proof of a revised panel was displayed, and Susan Jacobson pointed out that the section that deals with keeping NATL clean would be more effective without the illustration of a grid stake with trash deposited around it.
Academic use of NATL. Tom Walker described the need for better information about the use of NATL for classes and projects. He plans to survey the relevant departments this winter and will ask committee members to make sure their departments reply.
Bryan Goe has withdrawn from devising an interface between NATL and the Cultural Center.
The Student Geomatics Association is nearly done with the survey of
the 50-meter grid.