Hickey's Creek - Habitat and Management


The dominant habitat at Hickey's Creek is scrubby flatwoods composed of slash pine, myrtle oak, Chapman's oak, sand live oak, and dwarf live oak, with a midstory of wax myrtle, tarflower, palmetto and hog plum. Understory plants include gopher apple, wiregrass, shiny blueberry, lichens, reindeer moss and earth stars. Because of lack of fire, some of the xeric scrub has reached xeric hammock stage. The area also has much smaller areas of mesic and hydric flatwoods. Freshwater marshes in the pine flatwoods are vegetated with fire flag, pickerel weed, arrowhead, maidencane, cordgrass, St. John's wort, buttonbush and wax myrtle.

Wet Pines
Jerry Cutlip
Lee County Parks and Recreation

Along Hickey's Creek, trees such as bald cypress, water hickory, laurel oak and Carolina willow, grow with button bush, water lettuce, spatter-dock, fire flag, redroot, pickerelweed and royal, leather and cinnamon fern. Hickey's Creek meanders through the site for approximately one mile in a southeast to northwest direction. The area adjacent to the creek is dominated by live oaks and borders the intermittent forested wetland associated with the creek. Other plants in this area include saw palmetto, dwarf live oak, laurel oak, hog plum and cabbage palm, with Spanish moss, shoestring fern and golden polypody fern.  Hardwood hammocks are characterized by an overstory of cabbage palm, slash pine, live oak and laurel oak, with saw palmetto, wax myrtle, beautyberry, Spanish moss and other epiphytes, golden polypody fern and shoestring fern.


gopher tortoise
Jerry Cutlip
Lee County Parks and Recreation

Hickey's Creek original acreage was acquired using funds paid by developers through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Mitigation Park Program. The program is designed to compensate for tortoise habitat lost to development elsewhere in southwest Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is responsible for the resource management of the area; activities are directed toward the restoration and maintenance of critical habitats to the long-term benefit of state and federally listed upland species, particularly the gopher tortoise and Florida scrub-jay and to preserve the hydrology and water quality of Hickey's Creek. Roller chopping of dense palmetto stands and prescribed burning maintain the herbaceous groundcover favored by the gopher tortoise. Burning regimes help to maintain the scrub character of the flatwoods for the Florida scrub-jay. Open sand areas, used by scrub jays for caching acorns, have been created by rotor tilling. Lee County provides funding and staffing for the operation of recreational facilities, boundary protection, environmental education and the control of exotic vegetation such as melaleuca and Brazilian pepper.

FWC Facts:
Studies indicate fish-and-wildlife activities contribute more than $36 billion a year to Florida's economy.

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