Stormwater (as defined by St. Johns River Water Management District) is rainwater that runs off of hard surfaces into the nearest body of water, which can be either natural or man made.

Water Quality Monitoring 
Although formal water quality monitoring is not required by a specific regulatory agency, the Division of Landscape & Natural Resources has initiated the informal testing of water in campus surface waters and compilation of data by students. The University of Central Florida’s water features include approximately ten (10) man-made, natural ponds, and stream systems. Sampling is done onshore to reduce disturbance caused by a water vessel. The meters that are being used are Oakton conductivity meter, and Oakton PD 300 pH, Oakton dissolved oxygen and temperature meter. Samples are collected at varied depths, depending on the location and access to each water feature. Measurements for each water body include dissolved oxygen, temperature (both air and water), acidity (pH), conductivity, and turbidity. Please e-mail us for additional information, or visit the Conservation Section of the Master Plan to learn more about Water Quality at UCF.

Adopt-A-Road & Pond
The Adopt-a-Pond/Road program focuses on the care and maintenance of the UCF retention ponds and campus roads. Each identified pond or road should be adopted by individuals who will commit to the project in a dependable manner. The adoptees must maintain both the shoreline and the vicinity of the pond or road; however, entrance into the pond water or road is prohibited. Click here to download the Adopt-A-Road/Pond form or e-mail us to learn about how to adopt a road or pond.

The following are some ways you can help protect your watershed:
Ten Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in Your Watershed
Adopt Your Watershed- US EPA



The United States Department of Environmental Protection defines wetlands as:
“…lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface (Cowardin, December 1979). Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors, including human disturbance.”

The following are a few examples of the types of wetlands that can be found on UCF’s campus:

1. Cypress domes occur in regions of depression usually within a flatwoods matrix and are dominated by two species – the bald cypress and the pond cypress. The term, “cypress dome” or cypress head refers to the phenomenon of larger cypress trees growing in the middle of the dome, with trees getting progressively smaller as they go out from the center. A large number of epiphytes, plants which grow on the tree, but do not feed off of the tree are also found near or in cypress domes – some examples include bromeliads, orchids, and ferns.

2. Ephemeral Wetlands can hold water at certain times and at other times be completely dry. They are commonly known as upland temporary ponds and can be found throughout campus depending on seasonal rainfall.

3. Seepage Wetlands, such as the pond pine community located on campus, are moist during most of the year. This type of community does not naturally burn as often as an upland system such as pine flatwoods. The pond pine community on the UCF campus is an important component of UCF’s stormwater management, as it helps to treat water leaving the campus and making its journey through the campus green space into the Little Econ River and eventually into the St. John’s River.

4. Freshwater Marshes found on the UCF campus include both basin and depression marshes. These communities provide critical habitat for many plant and animal species, specifically many species of threatened and endangered wading birds. Additionally, the Florida Sand Hill Crane, a threatened avian species found at UCF can regularly be seen in the marshes throughout campus.


Land Conservation & Management

UCF’s land management program focuses on the preservation of biodiversity within Florida’s unique habitats, promotion of responsible land use, and facilitation of intellectual opportunities for students, visitors, and faculty. (i.e. environmental education, species interactions). The green space managed on campus are made up of over 320 acres of natural uplands and wetland habitats preserved in perpetual conservation easements to the St. Johns River Water Management District, and over 200 additional acres of natural areas on campus that have verbal commitments for long-term preservation, including the back portion of the Arboretum Natural Lands as well as some isolated wetland areas throughout campus. In addition, the campus contains an extensive network of stormwater ponds. These areas, in combination with the large area occupied by wetlands that are, for the most part, undevelopable, constitute a large percentage of the land occupied by the UCF campus. For more information on the natural and protected areas at UCF, take a look at our Land Management Plan.

The Conservation Section of the University’s Master Plan outlines the goals, objectives, and policies that demonstrate the commitment to the protection of the University’s environmentally significant lands. Management techniques used on campus natural lands include prescribed fire, invasive species management, restoration, and species conservation & management. Research, particularly focused on wildland-urban interface management, is actively conducted in all management units, which is used to continuously develop better land management techniques.


Species Conservation & Management

As part of a series of ongoing class assignments for a biology graduate course, Landscape Ecology (PCB 5328C), the UCF Pitcher Plantnatural areas have been digitized from aerial photographs from 1939, 1967, 1972, 1984, 1994, and 1999. The data from the 1999 map showed 45% of the main 1,415-acre part of the UCF campus (not including the MacKay Tract or eastern parcel) to consist of natural areas. Over half (54.7%) of this area was classified as wetlands (e.g., lakes, pond pine and cypress dominated communities); the remaining area was uplands (e.g., scrub, sandhill, and pine flatwoods communities).

Since then, multiple natural areas surveys have been conducted on campus. The first was conducted between September 2001 and May 2002 and was resurveyed between June and August 2003. The Land Management team has surveyed all the green space on campus semi-annually since 2005. The surveys focus on determining the status, and location (if possible) of endangered, threatened, and invasive exotic species. Gopher tortoises were also included. As a result of the 2001-2002 study, four endangered and seven threatened plant species were identified and 347 plant species were recorded on campus. The 2005-2009 listed species surveys resulted in 14 listed plant species, one mammal species, three reptilian species, and 11 bird species which have been recorded and mapped on campus.

Management techniques used support the increase in biodiversity across campus, and surveys are conducted semi-annually to show the success and/or failure of each technique.


Prescribed Fires

UCF has its own wildland firefighting team who have been trained on fire activity and how to manage forest fires. Take a look at our prescribed fire page to learn more.


Current Projects

The UCF land management team works closely with the academic departments to support undergraduate and graduate research on campus.

Current field projects include:
* Reduction of fragmentation
* Wildlife/species identification and surveys
* Mapping (using GPS)
* Invasive and exotic plant control & education
* Herpetological surveys
* Ecological/habitat monitoring
* Invertebrate monitoring & sampling (conducted by the UCF Bug Closet)
* Stormwater monitoring
* Development of wildland-urban management techniques
* Restoration of disturbed natural areas

Research projects:
Effects of prescribed burning on vegetation structure and succession
* Effects of fuel load on vegetation response to prescribed fire (conducted by Restoration Ecology & System Sustainability classes)
* Hydrology of urban wetland fragments (conducted by land management crew)
* Wildlife Crossing Project (managed by Dr. Reed Noss, Biology Department)




The mission of the Arboretum is to provide UCF students, faculty, staff, and the greater community of Central Florida a comprehensive environmental and outdoor living laboratory for education, research, recreation, and human interaction with ecosystem functions. Admission is free for recreational areas, and interpretive programs for school and organizational groups are offered.