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Conservation Area Land Management (CALM) Plans

This website hosts materials associated with the Conservation Element of the Campus Master Plan.

UF has 31 Conservation Areas on the main campus that are covered in 23 specific area plans that fall under the umbrella of the Conservation Area Land Management plan (CALM). These plans provided the framework for the Conservation Element of the Campus Master Plan. They also help to fulfill the University's role as Pilot for the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary (University or College) Program. The University of Florida was the first university in the country to set university wide environmental planning standards with this nonprofit organization.

CALM Plan Executive Summary

The Conservation Area Land Management (CALM) plan documents existing conditions and specifies management activities for Conservation Areas on the University of Florida Campus. These Conservation Areas are defined in the Campus Master Plan as having a Conservation Future Land Use designation. In most cases, the areas are also listed in the 1995 and 2000 Master Plans as Preservation Areas.

The CALM plan serves as the Conservation Element's Data and Analysis that covers Campus Conservation Areas within the Campus Master Plan. Previous Master Plans documented the existence of Conservation Areas, but provided little background information nor guidance for improvements to each of the areas. Therefore, the premise behind this CALM plan was to create a plan that documents existing conditions on campus natural areas and makes recommendations that enhance these special places. Additionally, the plan is intended to demonstrate the University's commitment to preserving and improving campus natural areas.

Beginning in the fall of 2003 an ad-hoc working group of University staff, faculty, students and interested community members conducted tours of 25 campus Conservation Areas and 5 passive recreation areas in order to determine their current state and recommend improvements for each area. From these 30 areas that were visited 22 specific area plans have been developed (passive recreation areas were not included and some Conservation Area were grouped together) that outline issues and strategies for each Conservation Area. The core members of this group included: Paula Fussell, Linda Dixon, Alex Holecek, Chuck Hogan, Marty Werts, Erick Smith, Mark Clark, Tom Walker, Meghan Pressley, Fritzi Olsen, Bruce Delaney, Glenn Ketchum, Mark Brown, Gerald Kidder, Nick Vellis, Clay Montague, and Ann Stolda, although other were involved in individual site visits. The recommendations from this working group formed the foundation of the CALM plan and specific area plans.

The conservation land use designation of the Campus Master Plan's future land use map formed the starting point for remapping all land use categories by identifying and protecting those lands that should not be developed. Remapping efforts were based on up-to-date spatial data that illustrated the inaccuracy of many conservation boundaries that were on the adopted future land use map (areas where land use designations conflict with the underlying use of the land or natural features). This new and more accurate data included wetland boundaries, floodplain boundaries, tree canopy coverage, steep slopes, archeological sites and other natural and anthropogenic features that represent logical separation lines between uses. Thus, using this new data the ad-hoc working group, along with staff, began the remapping efforts with the adopted 2000-2010 boundaries serving as the starting point. Through the work of the Conservation Study Committee (Mark Brown, Sheri Bryan, Peggy Carr; Mark Clark,; Eva Czarnecka, Joyce Dewsbury, Linda Dixon, Paula Fussell, Chuck Hogan, Mark Hostetler, Gerald Kidder, Erik Lewis, Nancy Menzel, Clay Montague, Mackenzie Moritz, Meghan Pressley, Jack Putz, Erick Smith, Nick Vellis, Tom Walker, Marty Werts) these boundaries were revised, with some areas being added and others being eliminated.

Site visits by the working group lead to the observation, in most cases, that Conservation Areas on campus have not been actively managed. Thus, management issues identified by the group included basic problems of erosion, sedimentation, trash, unauthorized parking, invasive non-native plants and lack of amenities for visitors. In order to address these concerns, the working group came up with a number of management activities that have been included within the specific area plans and in the activities spreadsheet. Typical activities that were identified include fencing, educational/interpretive signage, invasive non-native plants management, trail marking, and habitat enhancements (plantings and shelters). Additionally, the working group recognized the importance of several Conservation Areas to support environmental research / teaching and identified measures that should be taken to enhance these uses and foster multidisciplinaryprojects where feasible.

Successful performance will be measured by implementation of management strategies, along with changes to baseline conditions herein. Therefore, this plan represents the baseline report for the University's Conservation Areas and will serve as the basis for measuring future improvements, habitat quality and flora and fauna abundance and diversity.

Funding to implement these recommendations will come from a variety of sources including the following:

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Grants – The University successfully received a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to eradicate invasive non-native plants in two Conservation Areas. Other grants that could be applied for include stormwater and erosion grants from state and federal agencies, demonstration grants for establishment of best management practices, and wildlife.
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Capital Improvements Trust Fund (CITF) – The University has requested $500,000 for FY 2005-2006 for management activities detailed in the CALM plan.
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Division of Academic Affairs – Currently, this Division supports efforts at Seahorse Key and the NATL Conservation Area. This support could be broadened as other Conservation Areas are used as outdoor teaching laboratories that support academic research and teaching.
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Division of Business Affairs – This Division, through the Physical Plant Division, currently provides the bulk of maintenance within and around Conservation Areas through mowing, tree planting, fencing, informational kiosks and by limiting vehicular access by unauthorized personal.
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IFAS facilities – IFAS also provides maintenance to Conservation Areas within and adjacent to its operations through mowing, fencing and by limiting vehicular access by unauthorized personal.
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Partnerships – Some success has been achieved at improving Conservation Areas with cooperation by the City and Gainesville Regional Utilities. Efforts will be made to build upon these partnerships and gain new partners, particularly in the areas of invasive plant management and stream erosion.
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Management Endowments – Promote and expand Conservation Area management through securing long-term endowments through charitable giving with the University of Florida Foundation.

If you would like more information about campus-wide environmental planning, the Campus Master Plan, or if you would like to participate in the CALM Plan Working Group please contact Erik Lewis.