In northwestern Osceola County and northeastern Polk County, south of Kissimmee and east of Haines City. The Preserve is bordered by Lake Russell to the north, Reedy Creek to the east, Lake Hatchineha to the south, and private lands (sought for public acquisition) to the west. The Lake Wales Ridge IBA is across Lake Hatchineha to the southwest.

A magnificent expanse of longleaf pine flatwoods, xeric oak scrub, cypress domes, and other habitats along the north shore of Lake Hatchineha. Planned as a massive development, the property instead was established in 1992 as an offsite mitigation area for development by the Walt Disney Company. Additional acreage has been added to mitigate for expanded development at Orlando International Airport.

Ornithological Summary

The preserve contains high-quality longleaf flatwoods that formerly supported Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and may be suitable for relocation in the future. The flatwoods still contain large numbers of Brown-headed Nuthatches and Bachman's' Sparrows. The Preserve also contains a population of Florida Scrub-Jays that has declined severely in recent years, but is expected to recover.

Additional Data:
Florida Scrub-Jay (R), 1998-2000 - 13 groups
Diversity - 149 natives, 2 exotics

Conservation Issues

*offsite development, *habitat succession, *exotic plants, feral hogs

With more than 100 years of human activity onsite, large portions of the Preserve have been impacted by a combination of ditching, cattle grazing, logging, and off-season fire. Since the Preserve was established, The Nature Conservancy staff have restored habitats by filling in drainage ditches and other artificial obstructions, limiting cattle grazing to non-native pastures, removing exotic plants, and returning a growing-season fire regime. Preserve activities are guided by an overall management plan, and individual restoration plans for specific parcels. The population of Florida Scrub-Jays has declined severely in the past 10 years, but intensive habitat management should return numbers to pre-decline levels over the next several years. ? Listed species are studied and their populations are monitored.

Ownership

The Nature Conservancy

Habitat

*longleaf pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *cypress swamp, *lacustrine, temperate hammock, dry prairie, fields, non-native pastures, hardwood swamp, bayhead, freshwater marsh, riverine

Land Use

*conservation, environmental research and education

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