Gum Root Swamp Conservation Area and Park;
Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area;
Prairie Creek Conservation Area;
private lands surrounding Orange Lake. Located in southeastern Alachua County and extreme northern Marion County, bordered by State Road 24 to the north, U.S. Highway 301 to the east, County Road 318 to the south, and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and U.S. Highway 441 to the west. Contiguous with the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park IBA.
A system of three large lakes (Lochloosa, Newnans, and Orange), several smaller lakes, and associated creeks between Gainesville and Ocala. This IBA is adjacent and hydrologically connected to the Paynes Prairie basin. The region is primarily rural, with much land in silviculture. The Newnans Lake-Lake Lochloosa-Orange Lake-Paynes Prairie system is one of the most critical wetland systems in the northern Florida peninsula. The lakes support very large densities of nesting Bald Eagles and Ospreys. Newnans Lake is bordered by an intact, continuous fringe of cypress, unlike all other lakes of similar size in the region. Numerous Indian artifacts have been found, including dozens of dugout canoes along Newnans Lake, where one or more battles during the Second Seminole War was fought. Part of this IBA has been designated by Cox et al. (1994) as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area.
This IBA supports significant numbers of Bald Eagle and Osprey nests. Water levels at Newnans Lake have receded in recent years due to drought, and as a result, the extensive mudflats have attracted large numbers of wading birds and shorebirds. Only a rudimentary bird list is available.
Water flowing into Newnans Lake is high in phosphorus, which creates algae blooms that contribute to lower water quality. One source of the phosphorus is the soil surrounding the lake, much of which is composed of pine plantations. Soil disturbance associated with harvesting of the pines allows the phosphorus to drain into the lake. Other sources resulting in low water quality are residential and industrial developments in Gainesville. ? Nearly all of the uplands surrounding Lochloosa Lake have been protected, although most lands are pine plantations still privately owned, with perpetual conservation easements purchased by the state. The northern, eastern, and southern portions of Newnans Lake are sought for acquisition (or conservation easement), but have not yet been protected. Little land around Orange Lake currently is targeted for public acquisition.
Protection of the shoreline and adjacent uplands surrounding Orange Lake should be considered. These areas contain 15 of the 35 Bald Eagle nests occurring within the IBA
St. Johns River Water Management District (Gum Root Swamp Conservation Area, Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area, and Prairie Creek Conservation Area), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Prairie Creek Conservation Area), Gainesville Department of Recreation and Parks (Gum Root Park), and private owners (lands under conservation easements, and unacquired acreage of the Lochloosa Wildlife CARL?FF Project and Newnans Lake CARL?FF Project, and lands surrounding Orange Lake outward about 1 mile [1.6 km])
*temperate hammock, *cypress swamp, *hardwood swamp, *lacustrine, pine flatwoods, pine plantation, sandhills, cattail marsh, riverine