Little Gator Creek - Habitat and Management


Over 90 percent of the land cover on Little Gator Creek consists of swamp/floodplain and bottomland forest, and pine flatwoods. The northern boundary of the property encompasses two short segments of the Withlacoochee River. Gator Creek flows through the northeast corner of the property.


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photo biologists climbing rookery tree
Biologists climbing rookery tree to check Wood Stork nests.

Water levels in the rookery are regulated through a well and an electric pump to provide optimum depths at various stages of the wood stork's reproductive cycle. If there is not enough rainfall, then the electric pump is turned on to increase the water level. The water at the rookery serves as a protective mechanism: alligators limit the number of raccoons and snakes that are able to reach the eggs and nestlings. Yearly drawdowns at the end of the breeding season in July are required to maintain healthy cypress for nesting. Mid-story and understory vegetation is reduced using fire, chemical, and mechanical means as needed. Invasive aquatic vegetation is also controlled as needed.

FWC Facts:
American kestrels nest in cavities that they do not excavate. Instead, they depend on woodpeckers and natural processes to create holes in trees.

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