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Thursday, 27 October, 1:30-2:30 pm, Room 1014, Entomology &
Members present: John Carlson, Dan Colvin, Carmine Lanciani, Max Nickerson, John Putz, Joe Schaefer, Tom Walker,ch.
Tom Walker noted the following developments since the Proposal was submitted:
- On 23 May 1994, the UF Land Use and Facilities Planning Committee endorsed the concept of a natural area outdoor teaching lab on the 35-acre site.
- The exhibits building of the Florida Museum of Natural History will be south of the Harn Museum, bringing it closer to the natural area than previously planned.
- In meetings on 16 and 23 Sep. 1994, Larry Connor endorsed the idea of a natural area outdoor teaching lab and asked John Carlson to be point person in helping in its implementation.
John Carlson noted that if the current version of the Campus Master Plan is accepted, the proposed natural area will be secure from change in land-use designation except by a prolonged process that includes public hearings.
These four agenda items were discussed:
(1) How to restore the high pine area.
Restoration of the high pine will probably involve burning, in which case a licensed burn boss must be in charge. Since restoration will require a series of burns and maintenance will require burning every few years, it is important that a local, committed burn boss be found. Max Nickerson stated that Dick Franz, who handles the burns at the Ordway Preserve, might be a good choice and that he might be available. Dick is on leave until January, but Max will contact him soon to see if he will serve. An Upland Pine Subcommittee was formed, with Dick Franz the hoped-for chairman. Members are Alan Long, Jack Putz, and Tom Walker (temp. ch.).
(2) How to manage the disturbed area so that representative successional stages will be continually available.
The northern third of the natural area is highly disturbed and should be managed to maintain a series of successional stages in perpetuity. The retainage pond should be managed to maintain as diverse an array of freshwater communities as feasible. A Successional Stages & Pond Subcommittee was formed of Joe Schaefer (ch.), Dan Colvin, and Carmine Lanciani.
(3) How to clean up and secure the area.
The natural area has lots of durable debris and at least one recent dump site. It is presently entered by bike and foot traffic via an open gate in its 34th Street fence and by vehicular traffic from the road between the Entomology/Nematology Building and the Surge Area. Vagrants and unauthorized vehicles should be excluded. A Clean-up & Secure Committee was formed of John Carlson (ch.) and Tom Walker.
(4) How to develop a nature trail that will annually serve as many as 50,000 of the visitors to the Florida Museum Exhibits Building.
A nature trail through the successional stages, the pond area, and the northern thirds of the longleaf and hammock areas should be planned to accommodate and educate large numbers of Museum visitors and non-class-related drop-ins. A Nature Trail Subcommittee was formed of Max Nickerson (ch.), John Carlson, and Joe Schaefer. Other potential members are Bob Bell (Assoc. Dir., UF Physical Plant), Maria Minno, and a landscape architecture student (perhaps to be nominated by Peggy Carr).
Joe Schaefer pointed out that records of flora and fauna and changes in them should be maintained and that a means to schedule activities in the more protected (=not nature trail) parts of the area was needed.
Jack Putz suggested that a one-third time graduate student assistant might be suitable as a record-keeper and scheduler.
John Carlson stated that some IFAS grounds personnel may be available to work in the natural area at times when their other duties were light.
The subcommittees will report on their progress at the next meeting of the Committee, which will probably be on Dec. 1 or 2.
Thursday, 1 December 1994, 1:30-2:30 pm Room 1014, Entomology
& Nematology Building
Members present: John Carlson, Max Nickerson, John Putz, Joe Shaefer, Tom Walker, ch.
1. Upland Pine Subcommittee report
Max Nickerson reported that he had contacted Dick Franz, who is on sabbatical, as to his willingness to be burn boss for the upland pine area. Dicks response was negative but not necessarily final.
Jack Putz reported that Sam Jones, who handles burns at Austin Carey, would likely accept the responsibility.
Jack suggested that burnings impact on roads and persons in the vicinity of the upland pine could be minimized by burning a small fraction of the area each year and that the value to teaching would be enhanced. For example, if about two acres were burned each year, all parts of the upland pine could be burned every five years with about two acres left to show the effects of eliminating fire from a high pine area altogether. He also pointed out that herbiciding the laurel oaks in portions of the areas to be burned would further increase teaching values and ecological diversity.
The committee agreed that Jacks plan was superior to burning the entire upland pine area as soon as possible.
2. Successional Stages & Pond Subcommittee report
Joe Schaefer reported that his subcommittee would meet soon and report at the next meeting of the full committee.
3. Clean-up & Secure Subcommittee report
John Carlson reported that he had budgeted money for identifying and developing teaching laboratories in the southwest campus, and that he would build an attractive wooden fence along the east access to the natural area. The fence will have a locked gate and will prevent unauthorized vehicular access. A walk-through gap in the fence will facilitate pedestrian access. The fence will be close enough to the road to prevent parking next to the fence. An unpaved area on the east side of the road is already set up for parking. A standard blue University of Florida sign will identify the natural area to those driving along the road or entering through the pedestrian gap.
John reported that the southwest access to the natural area, through an open gateway on SW 34th Street, would be closed, first by securing the gate and later, if necessary, by a fence several yards east of the present fence along the sidewalk on 34th Street.
John projected that the eastern fence, the information sign, and the southwest gate closure could be accomplished by mid January.
4. Nature Trail Subcommittee report
Max Nickerson reported that his subcommittee would meet soon and report at the next meeting of the full committee.
5. General discussion
All present agreed that we should plan to inventory the biota of the natural area and to keep records of interventions and uses of the area. Further discussion of this will be an agenda item at the next meeting, tentatively set for Thursday, January 12, at 1:30 pm.
Thursday, 19 January 1995, 1:30-2:40 pm, Room 1014, Entomology
& Nematology Building
Members present: Sam Jones, Carmine Lanciani, Robert McSorley, Max Nickerson, John Putz, Joe Shaefer, Tom Walker, ch.
1. Report of Successional Stages & Pond Subcommittee
Joe Schaefer (ch.) reported that his subcommittee proposed deepening part of the retainage pond to increase diversity and to eliminate some of the cattails. The subcommittee was hampered in inspecting the terrestrial portion of its area by tall grass that hid debris that the subcommittee believed had been dumped there. The subcommittee suggested that a portion of the terrestrial area be designated for yearly plowing or disking and that two other portions be designated for clearing and cultivating every ten years. The latter two should be restarted five years out of phase. These three plots would thus insure that two or three successional stages 10 years or younger would be continuously available. The desirability of managing other portions of the site for older successional stages was discussed as was the desirability of maintaining never-to-be-cultivated strips as buffers to adjacent uses (Doyle Conner Building, Performing Arts Center, and Florida Museum of Natural History Exhibits). With the area made more accessible by recent mowing and with the benefit of the discussion of its initial report, the subcommittee will develop a written plan with specific recommendations for immediate and long term management of this portion of the Campus Natural Area Outdoor Teaching Lab
2. Nature Trail Subcommittee report
Max Nickerson (ch.) distributed the minutes of the initial meeting of the Nature Trail Subcommittee. One concernof the subcommittee was how best to manage the population of the threatened plant Callirhoe papaver that is at one edge of the site of the FLMNH Education Exhibition building. The committee discussed whether restoration of the upland pine ecosystem in the Natural Area would allow establishment of a replacement or supplementary Callirhoe population.. Another concern of the subcomittee was the relationship between the layout of the trail and the management of the disturbed and upland pine areas. The committee agreed that close coordination would be needed.
Max reported that Maria Minno would try to obtain a false color infrared photo of the site that should be helpful in mapping and inventorying the area.
3. Upland Pine Subcommittee report
Jack Putz agreed to chair this subcommittee. Sam Jones had previously agreed to be burn boss.
Sam advised the committee that it should set clear goals as to what it wanted the upland pine area to become. He noted that with 10-12,000 lbs of fuel per acre more than one burn would be required and that a winter burn would be the best way to begin. The committee agreed that the upland pine area should be subdivided into plots that take advantage of natural fire breaks and that consider where the nature trail should go. Before any burn can be proposed, a fire plow with a certified operator must be available. Austin Cary is a possible source for such equipment. A small test burn before the end of Spring Break might be feasible but much planning and preparation would be required.
Jack and Sam agreed to plan how the upland pine area should be restored and to investigate the feasibility of a small burn this winter.
4. Clean-up & Secure Subcommittee report
Tom Walker reported that a major recent dump site in the disturbed area had been cleaned up and that the tall grass in that area had been mowed. Closure of the gate on SW 34th Street and erection of a fence and information sign on the east boundary of the Natural Area are pending.
5. Record keeping and inventory of biota
Max Nickerson noted that a FLMNH photographer should be available (with proper notice) to record the Natural Area as it is now and as it changes. The committee then discussed the desirability of maintaining a permanent, continuing photographic record of the area, including sequences of photographs to record the changes as viewed from permanently established camera sites. Such photographs would be useful in a variety of contexts, including interpretative exhibits along the nature trail.
Joe Shaefer distributed a suggested form for inventorying the biota of the Natural Area. A discussion of what types of information should be recorded ensued. Items deemed appropriate for each species listed include
- nature of listing (e.g., species likely to occur in Natural Area but no specific record; definite record but unlikely to reoccur; believed to be of regular occurrence)
- seasonal distribution
- long term distribution [first record (if any); last record (if relevant)]
- usual habitat
- origin (e.g., unwanted exotic, intentionally introduced exotic, native, reintroduced native)
- notes, including general geographical and ecological distribution elsewhere
The items deemed appropriate for each record include
- date of observation
- grid location (presumes that a map of the area with a grid imposed is available)
- identifier (if different from observer/collector)
- notes, including observation or collecting technique
Tom Walker volunteered to seek persons who would produce and maintain inventories of particular taxa and to arrange to put records and inventories of the Natural Area on the developing Campuswide Information System (CWIS)/World Wide Web.
Thursday, 20 April 1995, 1:30-2:30 pm, Room 1031, Entomology &
Members present: Dan Colvin, Carmine Lanciani, Robert McSorley, Max Nickerson, John Putz, Tom Walker, ch.
1. Clean-up & Secure Subcommittee
John Carlson reported that approximately $2,300 is available for enhancing the Natural Area. The committee agreed that the first priority should be to construct a rustic fence on the east side of the property. (The committee had previously agreed that the fence should have a walk-through pedestrian gap and a locked gate to control vehicular access.) A sign to identify the Campus Natural Area Outdoor Teaching Laboratory has been made and will be erected near the fence. John C. reported that the gate on SW 34th street, which was open until it was locked during Spring Break, has remained locked.
2. Successional Stages & Pond Subcommittee
Joe Schaefers 17 Apr. 1995 e-mailed memo regarding management of the successional areas was discussed. The committee endorsed his proposal to establish a 75m-wide undisturbed corridor from the pond to the hammock area, but concluded that the corridor should be directly between the two rather than around the north and west borders of the successional area.. The corridor is presently bare and can either be planted or allowed to develop without intervention. The committe also endorsed Tom Walkers proposal to include plots that would demonstrate successional stages beyond the early loblolly pine stage with the objectives of maintaining maximum diversity in the successional area and better illustrating old field succession to those using the nature trail. The committee agreed that the attached map and schedule of cultivation generally fulfilled the objectives of the management plan they endorsed.
The committee approved the Subcommittees recommendations on managing the pondviz., that it be managed to establish swamp, herbaceous marsh, and open water. This would involve reducing or eliminating the cattails and deepening a portion of the pond. No one objected to the possible use of Rodeo on the cattails. John Carlson noted that he would need specific recommendations concerning deepening the pond before he could get engineering studies to estimate the cost.
3. Upland Pine Subcommittee report
Jack Putz noted that the southern pine beetle outbreak made it unwise to do a burn at this time. If the beetle outbreak disappears or declines, the first burn(s) should be this winter (1995-96). Jack noted that mimosa, an exotic, should be eliminated from the Area and offered to start the process. The committee approved.
The need for heavy fire containment equipment and an operator at the time of the burn(s) was noted. John Carlton indicated he would require some advance notice if he were to furnish them.
4. Maps and surveying
Tom Walker described how the 15 March 1995 map of the Natural Area (showing boundaries, roads, and fences) was produced. The committee agreed that a more definitive survey was needed and that a grid with coded stakes at 100 m intervals should be established. The southwest corner of the Area seemed the logical starting point for such a grid. Max N. agreed to determine if the survey for the placement of the Exhibits Building could be used to establish benchmarks for the Natural Area. John C. and Tom W. agreed to determine if a civil engineering class could be used to survey the Area and establish the grid.
5. Publicity/public relations
The committee agreed that we should make the Campus Natural Area known to the Campus and Gainesville communities. In particular, we should make it known how the Area will be managed (including burning and cultivating!) and what uses will be made of it. Max Nickerson offered the help of a FMNH public relations expert in planning the publicity. Two upcoming events might provide opportunities for stories in the Alligator and/or Gainesville Sun-viz., the erection of the rustic fence and identifying sign and a 13 May field day in the Area to develop a list of bryophytes and vascular plants. The latter is being organized by Jack Putz and is scheduled from 9 a.m. until noon. All interested persons are invited.
6. Other business
In preparation for the 13 May field day, the borders of the plots and corridor in the successional area need to be established. Tom Walker will get together with Joe Schaefer to establish them. Max N. and John C. each said they could provide a bushhog mower to make boundaries more evident.
Tom W. displayed an 8 x 10" print of an infrared photograph of the Area, made by St. Johns River Water Management District, 19 Nov. 1990, and received from Marc Minno.
Tom W. reported progress on collecting the records of the Campus Natural Area Outdoor Teaching Laboratory into a notebook and establishing a homepage for the Area on the Internets World Wide Web.
Tom W. reported that John Maruniak of UF Facilities Planning was supportive of the Committees request for making the Areas boundaries agree with those on the attached map.
Friday, 29 September 1995, 1:30-2:50 pm, Room 1012, Entomology
& Nematology Building
Members present: Danny Colvin, Alan Long, Robert McSorley, Max Nickerson, John Putz, Joe Schaefer, Tom Walker, ch. Also present were Ken Langeland (Agronomy, aquatic weed control) and Clay Scherer (Entomology & Nematology Student Organization).
1. Progress since last meeting
On 4 May, Semmy Ju, Director of Campus Planning, sent a memo assuring the Committee that CNA is in the U. Fla. Master Plan and that we will be notified of any proposed changes.
Joe Schaefer and Tom Walker staked tentative boundaries dividing the successional area into five plots and a pond-to-hammock corridor.
Jack Putz organized the Cooperative Florule Project to begin the inventory of CNA vascular plants and bryophytes. On 13 and 24 May, crews of botanists recorded the plants they could find and identify in 13 plots. Seven of the plots corresponded to the subdivisions of the successional area, and the upland pine and hammock areas were divided into three plots each. The Gainesville Suns report of the Florule Project (26 May) was its first article on the CNA.
In June, Richard Gray (advised by James Lloyd) completed a 22-page Honors Thesis on the ecology of the CNAs retention pond. Copies were distributed to Carmine Lanciani, Max Nickerson, Jack Putz, and Joe Schaefer.
On 11 September, David Hall identified Johnsongrass (Sorgum halepense) and elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum) as the principal weed grasses in the CNA successional plots.
On the basis of contacts suggested by John Carlson, Tom Walker solicited the Univ. Fla. Chapter of the Geomatics Students Association to survey the CNA and to establish and permanently mark a rectilinear grid with squares 100 m on a side. On 22 September, they agreed to the project, which they plan to complete by May 1996.
The first draft of a CNA informational pamphlet was sent to committee members on 14 July and a second draft, incorporating their suggestions, was sent on 22 September. Tom Walker and Jack Putz will develop a third draft on the basis of the changes suggested by the committee and will send it to the committee for approval. If no objections are received, that version will be used to inform interested parties about the CNA and our committees recommendations on its development and management.
3. CNA on WWW
A draft version of a Web presence for CNA was posted 20 Sept. The committee approved its general organization and style. After the draft versions content has been revised to agree with decisions made at this meeting, committee members will be asked to review the new version and offer suggestions and corrections. After these have been incorporated, links will be sought to the University of Florida WWW home page and to the home pages of departments that will use the CNA.
The URL for the under-construction CNA homepage is
4. Action plan for 1995-96
Fence and sign
John Carlson sent a report that a contract had been let for the fence with construction scheduled to begin next week and that the sign was on Physical Plants priority list. Tom Walker reported that Robert Estling (Coordinator, Physical Plant) had phoned about the text for the sign. In the interest of brevity and larger letters, the sign will read
University of Florida
Litter pick up
Tom Walker will ask John Carlson what help Facilities Operations can provide in picking up and disposing of litter and debris in CNA. Clay Scherer reported that ENSO (Entomology & Nematology Student Organization) might be willing to help with the picking up.
The committee decided that no event marking the opening of the natural area should be considered until there were management results as well as management plans. On the other hand, the committee should take every opportunity to publicize work being done in the CNA, especially when student groups are involved. Projects that might satisfy these criteria include continuation of the Florule Project, survey of the area, trash pickup, and work toward modifying the retention pond. Max Nickerson stated that with a lead time of about 2 weeks, the FlMNH publicity person could help publicize CNA events.
In addition to publicity directed toward the campus and Gainesville communities, the committee agreed that we should target those who might use the CNA in their classes and those who would be interested in the management plans. The committee will send a CNA pamphlet, with an explanatory note, to all such persons that they can identify.
Upland pine restoration
Jack Putz recommended and the committee supported that the initial burning in the pine area be east of the DPI compound in January or February. A killing frost prior to the burn would increase its effectiveness. Some water for local wetting may be available from DPI spigots. Detailed plans must be made for the burn no later than early December.
Successional area management
The dense, tall stands of Johnsongrass and elephantgrass that occupy much of the successional area must be eliminated before loblolly pine can seed in. Danny Colvin recommended that the grass be mowed as soon as possible and that winter-killed regrowth be burned at the time of the upland pine burn in January or February. When growth resumes in spring the grass should be treated with Roundup. Three or four retreatments may be required for complete kill. Repeated disking will reduce the need for and improve the effectiveness of retreatments. The committee supported these recommendations.
Jack Putz proposed that the portion of the successional area that has large longleaf pines be restored to upland pine rather than being managed to maintain successional species. This would have the effect of extending the upland pine ecosystem of CNA northward along the DPI fence and eastward from it into the present 40 yr successional plots. The size and exact location of the area involved has not been determined, making it uncertain how much the division between the 40-yr and 10-yr plots would need to be moved eastward to keep the 40- and 10-yr plots approximately equal in area. The detailed effects of this proposal will be determined and presented at the next Advisory Committee meeting.
Retention pond and temporary pools
Jack Putz showed the committee a plan the Wetlands Club had produced as to how the retention pond should be managed to maximize its biotic diversity. The plan included a settling and skimming basin on the north and a sequence of increasing water depths southward. The Wetlands Club is interested in refining the plan and in helping implement it. The committee favored this approach and discussed the liklihood of Physical Plant or IFAS Facilities Operations doing the required earth moving.
Max Nickerson proposed and the committee agreed that two shallow depressions should be made south of the retention pond, one in the pond-to-hammock corridor and one in the northernmost part of the hammock. These would be about 25 ft in diameter and about 1 ft deep. Heavy rains would turn the depressions into temporary pools that would facilitate amphibian breeding.
5. Biotic inventory
Jack Putz passed around a check list of CNA vascular plants and bryophytes that he had compiled from the field notes of the Florule Project. Tom Walker agreed to convert the machine readable version of the list to a form that could be put on CNAs Web site.
6. Other business
The organization, standing, and continuance of the Natural Area Advisory Committee was discussed briefly, and the chairman agreed to merge the suggestions into a policy statement for further discussion.
Friday, 8 December 1995, 1:30-3:30 pm, Room 1012, Entomology &
Members present: Sam Jones, Carmine Lanciani, Alan Long, Robert McSorley, Jack Putz, Joe Schaefer, Tom Walker, ch., Clay Scherer (Entomology/Nematology Student Organization), and Mark Clark (Wetlands Club). Also present were Jennifer Higgs (Student Geomatics Association) and Mark Otto, Randy Switt, and Josh Orrell (Wetlands Club).
1. Approval of minutes of 29 Sept. 1995 meeting
The minutes were approved as submitted.
2. Progress since last meeting
Jennifer Higgs, from the Student Geomatics Association, reported that most of the 100-meter grid has been surveyed and that surveying should be completed by the end of the Spring Semester. Re-bar stakes will be driven at the grid intersections and at 50-meter intervals along grid lines. Meter-long and half-meter-long stakes of PVC pipe will mark the location of the re-bar stakes.
Clay Scherer, from the Entomology/Nematology Student Organization (ENSO), reported that the ENSO-sponsored trash pickup on 2 December attracted more than 20 students, staff, and faculty from several departments. More than 120 30-gallon bags of trash and many non baggable items were removed from NATL, filling two dumpsters to overflowing. Except for a few heavy items and some of the bottles and cans that nearly filled a sinkhole, all known litter was removed from NATL.
Tom Walker reported that the name for the area was now established as Natural Area Teaching Laboratory (NATL) and that more than 200 pamphlets describing NATL and plans for managing it had been distributed to those administrators, committees, and faculty who ought to be interested. Steve Humphrey, Interim Dean of College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE), copied the front and back panels of the pamphlet to the back of a course announcement distributed to CNRE faculty. At the same time the pamphlet was distributed, NATLs WWW home page was made public by linking it to UFs home page and to those of the departments that use it.
3. Wetland Clubs plan for retention pond
Mark Clark (overviews), Mark Otto (topography), Randy Switt (hydrology and structures), and Josh Orrell (vegetation) presented the Wetlands Clubs plan for NATLs retention pond. The plan envisions extensive recontouring of the pond and development of a variety of wetland communities. Most runoff water would first go into a forebay, where it would lose some of its contaminants before flowing to other parts of the pond. The plan was unanimously approved by the Advisory Committee. The next step will be for the Wetlands Club to seek approval of the St. Johns Water Management District for the concepts of the plan. Once that approval is obtained, the Club and the Advisory Committee will work together to find the means to implement the plan.
4. First burn of upland pine
Jack Putz and Sam Jones reported that the first burn in NATLs upland pine should be of 4 to 8 acres east of the DPI compound. The area is bounded on all sides by roads or open areas that can be disked to establish a firebreak. Sam will try to get Agronomy to do the disking and will try to have a firebreak disked around the elephantgrass/Johnsongrass area at the same time. If Agronomy cant do the disking, the Advisory Committee will request that IFAS Facilities Operation do it. The burn will be a fuel reduction burn and is not expected to kill many invading hardwoods. Smoke, rather than unintended spread of the fire, is the anticipated problem.
These parties should be notified of the plan to burn a week or more before the earliest likely date of the burn: University administration, DOT, DPI, Fire Department, Campus Police, City Police, managers of nearby apartments, Gainesville Sun, Independent Florida Alligator. The burn will require about six persons to help watch the firebreaks. Water from backpack sprayers should be used to extinguish residual fires in the litter about the bases of longleaf pines. A pumper, fire plow, and operator must be on hand, and Austin Cary is likely the best source.
Sam will write up the plan for the burn, and Tom Walker will send it to those who should be warned that a burn is planned. The date of the burn will not be known more than one day in advance, but once a burn is definite, these parties will be phoned: DOT, DPI, Fire Department, Campus Police, City Police, Gainesville Sun, Independent Florida Alligator.
5. Guidelines for class and individual use of NATL
The attached guidelines for use of the NATL for class activities and student projects were adopted. Means of scheduling and logging class use were discussed, and the Committee agreed that an information station at the east gate could serve as a place to dispense information about NATL and for uses to be logged. Joe Schaefer volunteered to solicit a plan for such a station.
6. Advisory Committee membership and continuance
The attached operating policies were adopted.
7. UFNet data conduit to DPI
Tom Walker reported that Rick L. Smith, Director of UFs Network Services, had requested permission to cross NATL with an underground data conduit that would connect the DPI compound to the campus fiberoptic network in about two years. The route across NATL is one of two routes under consideration for the connection. The Committee approved the crossing provided the conduit is laid down the center of the road that is the south border of the successional plots.
8. West gate, south fence, and text of signs
Tom Walker reported that the NATL gate on 34th Street needs widening or the gap in the fence needed narrowing to prevent entry by stepping over the chain that locks the gate.
The south border of NATL has only the remnants of a fence, and a path from the Bennigans parking lot on Archer Road leads to the Rollings campsite without crossing a fence. Those living in apartments along the south NATL border have no clear indication where NATL begins and dump trash accordingly. The Committee voted to lobby for a fence along the south NATL border to match the one along 34th Street.
The Committee agreed that this text is appropriate for signs posted at places where entrance to NATL is denied: University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory Enter only at designated entrances.
9. Updating published plans & schedule
The Committee agreed that the Chairman should periodically update the plans and schedule for NATL as published on WWW. When new text is posted, Committee members should be notified and encouraged to check its accuracy.
10. Publishing data on NATL biota on WWW
Sample species lists and sample species accounts have been posted on WWW and will be linked to the NATL home page. Instructions for helping with the NATL biotic inventory were discussed. After revision, they will be sent to those who have volunteered to help with the inventory.
Thursday, 11 April 1996, 1:30-3:00 pm, Room 1014, Entomology &
Members present: Carmine Lanciani, Alan Long, Robert McSorley, Jack Putz, (acting chair), Clay Scherer, Mark Clark Also present were Maria Minno (Nature Trail Subcommittee) and Mark Otto and Randy Switt (Wetlands Club).
1. Report on burn
The burn the previous day was discussed including these topics: preventing the smoke problem that occurred the night and morning following the burn, doing more to small laurel oaks before burning the next time, need for more fire lanes before the next burn, possible removal of large logs for use as shitake logs.
2. SEEP (Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project of the UF Wetlands Club)
Mark Clark reported on progress and passed out the attached written report.
Wetlands club is working on a pamphlet focused on the retention pond. It will discuss retention ponds, wetland values, proposed changes, and expected benefits. The wetlands club is getting bids for dredging. The possibility of hand dredging was discussed but not accepted as a likely solution. The importance of getting attention, visibility, and support for the project was emphasized.
3. Proposal to Florida Advisory Council for Environmental Education (FACEE)
Maria Minno explained the proposal she is submitting FACEE to build a nature trail and prepare a trail guide for NATL. She noted that some of the dredge from the pond, if there is extra, could be used as part of the nature trail, possibly as an overlook. The proposal is directed toward educating people about natural resources, and the pond should become an important part of this education. The proposal is due April 25th and may include requests for funds to build a boardwalk to SEEP.
4. NATL biota database and display on WWW
People were given an opportunity to view a list of ichneumonid wasps found in NATL by Charles C. Porter. The list will be linked to the rest of the NATL biota database on WWW when he approves the proof.
5. Other plans
Control of elephantgrass and Johnsongrass in the NATL successional areas will begin this spring by means of spraying with the herbicide Roundup. Several hundred dollars is needed for the chemical. IFAS Facility Operations will do the spraying.
The 1-year succession plot will be cleared of young loblolly pines and disked this spring or summer. Mark Clark expressed concern about erosion from this plot since it is so close to the pond.
Clearing and maintenance of the gridlines was discussed and deemed undesirable.
Soliciting money for major needs, such as herbicide, recontouring the pond, and erecting boundary fences was discussed. It was agreed that NATL needed more publicity
6. Membership for next year
John Carlson may not attend most meetings but will remain an ex officio member. Danny Colvin from Agronomy asked to be replaced. Clay Scherer mentioned that it would be nice to get someone from the Agronomy or a similar department to facilitate access to needed equipment. Clay mentioned that Basic Ecology, taught by Clay Montague in Environmental Engineering, uses the Natural Area quite a bit and might be counted on to lend support and help with publicity.
6. Chairperson for next year
The chairperson for next year will be Tom Walker, unless he has some objection.
During the 1995-96 school year the University of Florida Natural Area Advisory Committee consisted of Mark Clark (Wetlands Club), Daniel L. Colvin (Agronomy), Samuel A. Jones (Wildlife Ecology & Conservation), Carmine A. Lanciani (Zoology), Alan J. Long (Forestry), Robert McSorley (Entomology & Nematology), Max A. Nickerson (Florida Museum of Natural History), Francis E. Putz (Botany), Joseph M. Schaefer (Wildlife Ecology & Conservation), Clay Scherer (Entomology & Nematology Student Organization), Thomas J. Walker, ch. (Entomology & Nematology), John V. Carlson, ex officio (IFAS Facilities Operations & Planning),
The Committee met three times: 29 Sep 1995, 8 Dec 1995, and 11 Apr 1996.
1. Firm boundaries and name established
The boundaries of NATL as shown on the map of the semifinal version of the University of Florida Master Plan differed substantially from those originally proposed. Working with Semmy Ju (Director) and John Maruniak of Campus Planning, the Committee resolved the discrepancies, thereby establishing the originally proposed boundaries except where changes were required by the siting of the Florida Museum of Natural History Exhibits Building.
The Committee substituted Natural Area Teaching Laboratory (NATL) for the originally proposed Campus Natural Area and Outdoor Teaching Laboratory. This shortened the name and made an almost-pronounceable acronym.
2. Survey of permanent grid
University of Florida Chapter of the Geomatics Student Association undertook as a club project the survey of a permanent 100-meter grid in NATL. They completed the survey in several week-end sessions during Fall and Spring Semesters. At the grid intersections they drove iron stakes flush with ground level and visibly marked the points with meter-long posts of 1" dia. PVC pipe. They used similar posts of 3/4" dia PVC to mark 50-meter intervals along certain grid lines. A map was prepared that shows the grid and establishes a system for naming fifty 50m areas within NATL.
3. Development of east entrance
IFAS Facilities Operations erected a board fence on the east boundary of NATL from the Surge Area to the retention pond. A gap was left to permit easy entry of pedestrians, and a lockable double gate was installed to control vehicular entry. At the pedestrian entry, Plants and Grounds installed a litter receptacle and erected an official sign.
4. Trash pickup
For decades the woods in what is now NATL have been used by vagrants for drinking and camping and, to a lesser extent, by others for dumping. This resulted in an imposing accumulation of bottles, plastic jugs, larger items, and other litter. The Entomology & Nematology Student Organization sponsored a trash pickup day that attracted more than 20 students, staff, and faculty from several departments. More than 120 30-gallon bags of trash and many non-baggable items were removed from NATL, filling two dumpsters to overflowing. Except for a few heavy items and some of the bottles and cans that nearly filled a sinkhole, all known litter was removed from NATL.
Use of NATL by vagrants creates a security problem as well as a trash problemwell illustrated by Danny Rollings use of the area. Entry has been through an open gateway in the fence along SW 34th Street and by a path from the Bennigans parking lot on Archer Road that leads to campsites without crossing a fence and with no indication that the area is University property. The gateway on 34th Street was reworked, and the gate was closed and locked. At the locked gate and on the path into NATL from Bennigans, signs were posted that read, University of Florida Natural Area Teaching Laboratory. Enter only at designated entrances.
To improve security and to reduce dumping and littering on NATL, the Committee voted to seek funds for a fence along the south and southeast NATL borders to match the one along 34th Street.
6. NATL pamphlet
The Committee prepared an illustrated informational pamphlet describing the history and purposes of NATL, its ecosystems, and their proposed management. More than 200 of these pamphlets were photocopied and distributed to administrators, committees, and faculty who should be interested in NATL. Steve Humphrey, Interim Dean of College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE), copied the front and back panels of the folded pamphlet to the back of a course announcement that he distributed to CNRE faculty.
7. NATL on WWW
At the same time the pamphlet was distributed, a NATL home page was made public at http://csssrvr.entnem.ufl.edu/~walker/cna.htm and linked to UFs home page and to appropriate departmental home pages.
A NATL biota database on WWW was begun with lists of vertebrates, by Joe Schaefer; of plants, from the Cooperative Florule Project (see below); of bats, by Jackie Belwood, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History; of ichneumonid wasps, by Charles C. Porter, Division of Plant Industry; of crickets and katydids, by Tom Walker. The lists can be accessed from NATLs home page or at biota.htm.
8. Cooperative Florule Project
Jack Putz organized the Cooperative Florule Project to begin the inventory of NATL vascular plants and bryophytes. On two days in May, crews of botanists identified more than 240 species in NATL ecosystems.
9. First controlled burn in upland pine
The restoration of NATLs ca. 8 ha (20 A) of upland pine ecosystem was begun by burning the 3 ha east of the DPI compound. Sam Jones was recruited as burn master, and under his supervision a Prescribed Burning Plan was submitted and approved in December. Notification and justification of the planned burn was sent to University administration, DOT, DPI, Fire Department, Campus Police, City Police, managers of nearby apartments, Gainesville Sun, and Independent Florida Alligator. (The first six of these were also notified, by phone, the day of the burn.) Fire lanes were disked by the Agronomy Department in January, but the right combination of moisture, weather, and the availability of the forestry crew and fire equipment from the Austin Cary Memorial Forest (School of Forest Resources and Conservation) did not occur until April 10. On that day the fire lanes were re-plowed and the burn was accomplished with no smoke problems during or immediately after the burn. However, a thermal inversion the night of the burn caused smoke from smoldering wood and litter to become a problem in the nearby Doyle Conner Building and Performing Arts Center. Personnel from IFAS Facilities Operations, Physical Plant, and the Fire Department extinguished the sources of the smoke with water and sand the next morning. The next controlled burn must include a plan to put out smoldering fires immediately.
10. Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project (SEEP)
The Wetlands Club, under the leadership of Mark Clark, has developed SEEP to enhance NATLs retention pond. The Clubs plan envisions extensive recontouring of the pond and development of a variety of wetland communities. Most runoff water will first go into a forebay, where it will lose some of its contaminants before flowing to other parts of the pond. The St. Johns Water Management District and UFs Physical Plant have approved the concepts of the plan, and a permit for nonsignificant modification of the pond is expected. Once approval is obtained, the Club and the Committee will work together to find the means to implement the plan. Recontouring is the major anticipated expense.
11. Proposal to Florida Advisory Council for Environmental Education
Eco-Cognizant, Inc. (Maria Minno), with guidance from Max Nickerson, Tom Walker, the Wetlands Club, and the Florida Native Plant Society, submitted a proposal to the Florida Advisory Committee on Environmental Education to (1) develop a NATL nature trail with hands-on interactive stations, (2) develop and print a trail guide that emphasizes plant-animal-human interactions and interdependence, (3) build entry/information stations at the two entry points to NATL, and (4) provide boardwalk access to SEEP. A grant of $71,405 is proposed, with a starting date of October 1996.
12. Guidelines for class and individual use of NATL
Guidelines for use of NATL for class activities and student projects were adopted. The Committee agreed that an information station at the east gate should be built to dispense information about NATL and to schedule and log class use and special projects.
13. Committee operating policies
The Committee adopted procedures intended to ensure its smooth continuance with a membership representative of those using NATL.
14. Membership and Chair for 96-97
At its last meeting of the school year, the Committee accepted Danny Colvins resignation. Clay Montague, Environmental Engineering Science, whose Basic Ecology course uses the Natural Area, and Maria Minno, who wrote the FACEE proposal, will be asked to become members.
In addition to the distribution of pamphlets and the posting of information on NATLs WWW home page, these appeared in the local press:
26 May 1995 Rollings woods reborn, Gainesville
Sun article on Cooperative Florule Project
3 Dec 1995 A clean campsite, Gainesville Sun report on ENSOs trash pickup day.
19 Dec 1995 Forest land will be burned, Gainesville Sun report on plan for controlled burn.
11 Jan 1996 UF to set fire to laboratory area intentionally, Alligator article.
This Annual Report will be sent to the chair of each department
that uses NATL. Accompanying the list will be a memo that lists
future OCO needs.