When visiting the creek environment, please remember that most of our creeks receive stormwater that can carry pollutants. Due to their urban environment, most of the creeks have bacteria levels that exceed state standards and could pose a health risk to humans and pets even when the water looks inviting. Please enjoy our creeks from designated trails in our parks.
The Lake Forest Creek watershed encompasses most of eastern Gainesville, or approximately 8.9 square miles of urban and rural land. Lake Forest Creek flows from west to east meandering slowly through neighborhoods, open land and pastures, mixed hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods and forests. The dominant land use in Lake Forest Creek’s watershed is 27% residential, 26% silviculture, 15% wetlands, and 9% transportation infrastructure.
Archaeological sites in the area include several subsurface prehistoric lithic and ceramic scatter sites. Today, the dominant land use in the Lake Forest Creek watershed is institutional. Over half of the land is state owned. State facilities include Tacachale, a State of Florida Department of Children and Families facility for the developmentally disabled, North Florida Treatment and Evaluation Center, Alachua County Health Department, and Florida Department of Corrections Work Camp. Schools in the area include Eastside High School, Lake Forest Elementary, and W. Travis Loften High School.
The Lake Forest Creek Watershed consists of a series of intermittent southeasterly flowing channelized and unchannelized tributaries. Biological surveys in 2006 and 2009 indicated that sections along Lake Forest creek are healthy. 2013 assessments resulted in optimal and healthy ratings. You can download a Lake Forest Creek Fact Sheet here. Additionally, water quality monitoring information is available for Lake Forest Creek. To access this data, please visit here and access the monitoring stations and data by clicking on the station on the interactive map.
In Lake Forest Creek sediment transport and erosion due to channelization and weirs (low walls or dams built across a stream or river to raise the level of the water or to change the direction of its flow) is a major problem. Also, sections of the creek have insufficient natural riparian buffer zones. The stations that are not channelized show healthy benthic (of, relating to, or occurring at the bottom of a body of water) macroinvertebrate populations.
Did you know?
Macroinvertebrates are animals without a backbone that can be seen with the naked eye. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans and worms but most are aquatic insects.
Plan A Visit
The parks in the Lake Forest Creek watershed include the City of Gainesville’s Morningside Nature Center and Duval Park.
For directions and up-to-date park hours, please visit this Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs page: http://cityofgainesville.org/parksrecreationculturalaffairs/naturalresourcesandprograms/natureparks.aspx
• Lake Forest Creek, Little Hatchet Creek, and Hatchet Creek are the three largest tributaries discharging to Newnans Lake.
• The Lake Forest Creek Watershed shares a rich and diverse history ranging from early American Indian communities known for their canoe-making to Spanish explorers and railroad barons.
• Archeological sites in the area include several subsurface prehistoric lithic and ceramic scatter sites.
Did you know?
Siviculture is the art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests and woodlands to meet the diverse needs and values of landowners and society on a sustainable basis. (U.S. Forest Service)
Lake Forest Creek meanders slowly through neighborhoods, open lands and pastures, mixed hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, and forested wetlands on its way to Newnans Lake.
The creek supports several native and exotic fishes such as mosquito, sail fin mollies, and swamp darters. Many birds are found here, including the bald eagle, red-tail hawk, osprey, and barred owl. Wading birds are common and include the exotic cattle egret and native species such as great egret, little blue heron, sandhill crane, and white ibis. Frogs, snakes, and anoles are also abundant.
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