Publicly owned sites are Jack Creek (1283 acres; 519 hectares), Lake June-In-Winter Scrub State Park (845 acres; 341 hectares), Lake Placid Wildlife and Environmental Area (3150 acres; 1274 hectares), Lake Wales Ridge State Forest (21,554 acres; 8723 hectares), and Platt Branch Mitigation Park Wildlife and Environmental Area (1972 acres; 798 hectares). Archbold Biological Station (5200 acres; 2104 hectares), Saddle Blanket Lakes Preserve (642 acres; 259 hectares), and Tiger Creek Preserve (4778 acres; 1933 hectares) are privately-owned conservation areas. Part of the Catfish Creek CARLFF Project (11,280 acres; 4565 hectares) has been acquired as Allan David Brossard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park (4339 acres; 1755 hectares). Sites targeted for public acquisition through the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem CARLFF Project (43,089 acres [17,438 hectares], with 20,378 acres [8392 hectares] acquired) are: Avon Park Lakes (225 acres; 91 ha, unacquired) Carter Creek (4630 acres; 1873 ha, mostly acquired), Castle Hill (75 acres; 30 ha, unacquired), Flamingo Villas (1420 acres; 574 ha, about half acquired), Flat Lake (120 acres; 48 ha, acquired), Gould Road (419 acres; 169 ha, nearly all acquired), Henscratch Road (2869 acres; 1161 ha, nearly all acquired), Hesperides (2696 acres; 1091 ha, some acquired), Highlands Ridge (6318 acres; 2556 ha, about half acquired), Holmes Avenue (1269 acres; 513 ha, nearly all acquired), Horse Creek Scrub (1325 acres; 536 ha, mostly acquired), Lake Apthorpe (2503 acres; 1012 ha, nearly all acquired), Lake Blue (65 acres; 26 ha, mostly acquired), Lake Davenport (500 acres; 202 ha, unacquired), Lake McLeod (55 acres; 22 ha, nearly all acquired), Lake Walk-In-The-Water (8615 acres; 3486 ha, mostly acquired), McJunkin Ranch (750 acres; 303 ha, acquired), Mountain Lake Cutoff (217 acres; 87 ha, little acquired), Ridge Scrub (80 acres; 32 ha, unacquired), Schofield Sandhill (120 acres; 48 ha, unacquired), Silver Lake (2020 acres; 817 ha

Ornithological Summary

Although established primarily to prevent the extinction of several endemic plant species, the Lake Wales Ridge acquisition project is also essential for maintaining viable population of Florida Scrub-Jays in the interior central Peninsula; the Ridge supports the third-largest population remaining. Glen Woolfenden, John Fitzpatrick, and their colleagues have closely monitored a stable, color-banded population of about 100 Florida Scrub-Jays at Archbold Biological Station since 1969, one of the longest-running continuous bird studies in the world. A small, color-banded population of Hairy Woodpeckers was studied at Archbold from 1988 to 1994. Pine flatwoods along the Ridge support large numbers of Bachman's Sparrows. Xeric oak scrub is rather depauperate in bird diversity, but the bird list for Archbold Biological Station nonetheless totals 212 native species, the results of observations of dozens of ornithologists for more than 30 years. Because most of the other CARLFF parcels are privately owned or recently acquired, it is likely that the Archbold bird list represents the known avifauna of the Lake Wales Ridge.

Additional Data:
Archbold Biological Station:
Wood-warbler diversity, since 1941- 30 species
Diversity, since 1941 -212 natives, 9 exotics
Long-term research, since 1969 - Florida Scrub-Jay study

Lake Wales Ridge State Forest:
Diversity, 2002 list - 124 natives

Conservation Issues

*development, *habitat succession, human disturbance, exotic plants, feral hogs

Since CARL?FF acquisition began in 1992, just over half of the total acreage has been protected. Acquisition activity continues, but two sites that were part of the original proposal (Ferndale Ridge in Lake County and Eagle Lake in Polk County) were developed in 1997 +(DEP 1999). The remaining privately-held acreage can be presumed to be under a similar extreme threat of development. ? Most of the scrub in these parcels is severely overgrown, and fire management is critical to restore the habitats for virtually all scrub endemics, including Florida Scrub-Jays. Management will be difficult at many small sites that are surrounded by existing development, as well as in the ?vacant? developments heavily subdivided by roads.

Ownership

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (part of Carter Creek Tract and all of Flamingo Villas Tract; Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge), Florida Division of Forestry (Lake Wales Ridge State Forest), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Lake Arbuckle State Park, Lake June-In-Winter Scrub State Park, and Allan David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Lake Placid Wildlife and Environmental Area and Platt Branch Mitigation Park and Wildlife and Environmental Area), Archbold Expeditions, Inc. (Archbold Biological Station), The Nature Conservancy (Saddle Blanket Lakes Preserve, Tiger Creek Preserve, and several of the Lake Wales Ridge CARL?FF Project sites), and private owners (remaining acreage of the Catfish Creek CARL?FF Project and the Lake Wales Ridge CARL?FF Project)

Habitat

*pine flatwoods, *xeric oak scrub, *sand pine scrub, southern ridge sandhill, temperate hammock, slash pine plantation, fields, non-native pasture, cutthroat seeps, cypress swamp, bayhead, freshwater marsh, riverine, lacustrine, artificial

Land Use

*conservation, recreation, hunting (Lake Wales Ridge State Forest only), timber production (a few sites only)

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