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Cocohatchee Creek Preserve

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Cochatchee Creek warbler Cochatchee creek Preserve Trail access
 
 

Address / Location: 1880 Veteran's Park Drive, North Naples. The Preserve is located on Veteran's Park Drive, just south of Immokalee Road, east of the intersection of Immokalee and Goodlette Roads, on your left as you turn towards the Veteran's Community Park.

 
Location Map Crop Preserve sign

 

Manager Contact Information: Alexandra Sulecki 
E-mail:  AlexandraSulecki@Colliergov.net

Phone: (239) 252-2961

Preserve Size: 3.64 acres

Date Acquired:
July 1, 2004

Cost of Acquisition:
$476,200

Public Access Status: Open to the public 8 a.m. to dusk daily

Conservation Collier Logo
Printed Materials Available:

Picnic areaPublic Access Facilities: Parking is located at the Veteran's Community Park, a short walk from the Preserve. Restroom and handicapped parking facilities are available at Veteran's Park. A shell trail winds approximately 700 feet through the Preserve taking visitors to a picnic area under shady oaks that line the Cocohatchee Creek. The portion of the trail leading to the picnic area is wheelchair accessible from the sidewalk along the east side of Veteran's Park Drive. Trash and recycle receptacles are provided.

Prickly pear cactusbutterfly weed

Plants and Wildlife:  The preserve contains one of the priority plant communities that the Conservation Collier seeks to protect: riverine oak.  Mature live (Quercus virginiana) and laurel (Quercus laurifolia) oaks shade the narrow creek and buffer noise from the nearby Immokalee Road.  Remnant patches of upland scrub (another program priority habitat), pine flatwoods and cabbage palm forest make up the remainder of the upland habitats.  A small section of the Cocohatchee Creek is included within preserve boundaries on its eastern side.  This small freshwater creek separates the preserve from the neighboring residential development and contains wetlands that are utilized as forage areas by wading birds.   The preserve contains a number of native blooming wildflowers, including golden aster (Pityopsis graminifolia), the state flower, tickseed (coreopsis sp.), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), the last two shown above.  The prickly pear cactus provides an important food source for the gopher tortoise, a species protected by the state of Florida.  The preserve is home to at least one of these amazing land tortoises that dig their burrows up to 40 feet long and 10 feet underground! 
 

Reason for Acquisition: The Cocohatchee Creek Preserve was acquired because it contains one of the rare and unique vegetation communities the Conservation Collier Program seeks to protect - riverine oak - in addition to pine flatwood, oak scrub and wetland dependent plant communities. The Preserve is also home to several gopher tortoises, a Species of Special Concern in the State of Florida.  Prickly pear cactus, a food source for gopher tortoise, grows in the oak scrub area where a resident gopher tortoise can sometimes be seen browsing.  Along the creek, leather ferns and swamp lillies grow among the sawgrass and sedges, where wetland dependent birds species forage.   Acquisition of the preserve also protects lands that buffer the creek, which flows south, contributing ultimately to the Gordon River and Naples Bay watershed. Much of the creek watershed is already protected south of the Preserve.  Acquisition of this parcel increased that existing protection.

prickly pear South Entrance

Management Needs / Goals: The primary management goals are to maintain the Preserve free from exotic plant species and trash, protect gopher tortoises onsite and to keep the trail and picnic area clean and inviting for visitors. Staff has been working with contractors to periodically remove exotic plants, including addressing maintenance of the creek by physical and chemical removal of the plants along with a native wetland replanting project along the creek bank, shown above.

Creek 1

Please enjoy the Preserve and remember to "take only pictures and leave only footprints."