Landscape Genetics: Eastern Patches

PCC eastern patches
Figure 3.16. Five different patches are located in the eastern part of the PCC range.

The landscape genetic analysis (Duncan et al. 2017) reported five different patches occurring in the eastern range of the PCC (Figure 3.6), as summarized below (click on a patch name to see the summary):

Highpoint

This is the northern-most population and has the second lowest inbreeding coefficient. Principle component analysis shows a complete separation of the Highpoint population from any other PCC populations (Duncan et al. 2017). Voucher specimens confirming the identity of the specimen reside at the Florida Museum of Natural History (vouchers labeled #104, collected in 2010, and #266, collected in 2015) (Ed Keppner via email to Patricia Kelly, dated June 10, 2017). Thirty six percent of the quarter-mile habitat partition contains core soils and 34% are categorized as rural open or coniferous plantations, neither within soils identified as PCC suitable, although documented collections are recorded within these habitat types. Development and unsuitable habitats form the remaining 30%. An 11 acres conservation easement, called Marjorie’s Magical Marsh-Symone’s Sanctimonious Swamp, contains the majority of the PCC population to date. Prior to the PCC being located on the easement property, 6 of the 11 acres were largely a monoculture of overgrown and dense titi (Cyrilla racemiflora and Cliftonia monophylla ) shrub thicket with sparse slash pines (Pinus elliotti) in the overstory as a result of many years lacking fire management. The remaining 5 acres is a wetter hardwood-bay swamp habitat not used by the PCC except along the ecotone. Under a management agreement with FWS and FWC and funds provided by both agencies, the easement lands are in restoration status, with gradual improvements with a more diverse herbaceous groundcover, minimal shrub layer, and a sparse slash pine overstory. The undeveloped lands surrounding the easement were historically managed for timber but currently support mostly dense titi with an intermittent slash pine overstory, but they likely contain additional PCC. The developed lands are strictly residential housing, and recent clear-cuts east of the quarter-mile polygon may indicate future housing.

Survey Data: PCC confirmed in 2010, 2012-2014, 2015-2017. Highest count was in December 2014 with 3 adult females, 1 adult male, 37 juveniles and 9 hatchlings recorded.

Land under Easement: 11 acres, 6 that are suitable for the PCC. Under management.

Inbreeding coefficient: 0.260

Effective Population size: 63.1

Population Isolation: Star Avenue is closest at 7,616 meters

Suitable habitat (acres): 76

Water quality and availability: 30% of polygon is developed or unsuitable; high for water ranking.

Highpoint survey data.
Figure 3.17. Highpoint survey data.

Deerpoint

This PCC population is established on a peninsula with the second highest inbreeding coefficient. The land is bordered by Willams Bayou on the northeast, Mill Bayou on the southwest, and North Bay to the north. Principle component analysis shows a complete separation of the Deerpoint population from any other PCC populations but in closest proximity to Star Avenue and 231-south populations (Duncan et al. 2017). It has a 9.4 effective population size, the lowest reported throughout the PCC range (Duncan et. al. 2017). The majority of the habitat available to this population is in core and secondary soils, whereas the remainder is in pine flatwoods habitat within different soil types. These lands are heavily timbered and unmanaged, resulting in dense overgrowth of titi and often dense slash pine. This parcel is almost completely undeveloped with the exception of 20 acres owned by Bay County schools for an elementary school, field, and parking zones. A few borrow pits and dirt roads traverse the lands. Four easements lie within the habitats accessible to this population: (1) Lynn Haven Conservation Park (LHC Park)- a recent Trust for Public Lands acquisition that is 90 acres in size, with about 60 acres in core and secondary soils, (2) FDEP holds three easements, 1 owned by the Bay County School Board (11 acres), and 2 owned by D&H Properties, LLC (24 acres). Totaled, all easements protect approximately 95 acres of core and secondary soils. The LHC Park will provide walking trails and develop the drier portion of the property that are mostly out of PCC habitat. It’s unknown if the land will be managed for PCC. FWS and FWC hold a management agreement with D&H Properties, LLC, and have mowed and burned portions of the property on a regular basis.

Survey Data: First confirmed in 2001, additional surveys occurred on easements in 2012, again in 2014-2017. Highest counts were in April-August 2016 for the genetic collections. 40 adult males, 31 adult females, 18 juvenile males, 19 juvenile females, and 3 hatchlings, totaling: 108 individuals.

Land under Easement: 1) LHC Park-60 acres core and secondary soils; 2) FDEP easements that total 35 acres of core and secondary soils. Management agreements in place for 24 acres.

Inbreeding coefficient: 0.448

Effective Population size: 9.4

Population Isolation: 231-north is closest at 2,403 meters from genetic points but is separated by 0.25 miles of suitable habitats.

Suitable habitat (acres): 843 acres

Water quality and availability: 12% of polygon is developed or unsuitable; high for water ranking.

Deerpoint survey data.
Figure 3.18. Deerpoint survey data.

231-north

All captures for this population occurred adjacent to County Road 2321 or Highway 231. Both major roads divide the lands available to this population. Lands that run parallel to the county road are mostly in dense slash pine plantations with overgrown groundcover. The eastern plantations have been harvested recently. There is no regular management. There are no conservation easements in place. One parcel is owned by the State of Florida and used by the Florida Highway Patrol. The majority of lands providing habitat to this population are owned by the St. Joe Paper Company, Inc.

Survey Data: Surveys were conducted in 2001, 2003-04, 2012-13, 2016. Database states between 10-20 at a few sites but a lot of sites sampled had negative findings. 4 adult and 2 subadults were captured in 2016 for the genetic studies but usually just one adult captured per sampling effort.

Land under Easement: 0

Inbreeding Coefficient: 0.396

Effective Population size: Insufficient data

Population Isolation: Deerpoint is closest at 2,403 meters to each genetic center point

Suitable habitat (acres): 278 acres

Water quality and availability: 12 % of polygon is developed or unsuitable; high for water ranking.

231-north survey data.
Figure 3.19. 231-north survey data.

Star Avenue

This population forms the furthest east-northeast boundary of the PCC’s range. Using the PCC genetic results coupled with geographic boundaries (creek systems) that are likely barriers for PCC movements, we merged all lands into one polygon. This population is afforded 3,099 acres of suitable lands mostly under timber management since the mid-1980’s and in various stages from recent clear-cuts to dense slash pines with dense titi shrub layers. Two primary landowners, St Joe Paper Company and Bay Properties, Inc., hold most of the lands within this unit. Gulf Power Company manages rights-of-way along approximately 86 acres of land that is populated with the PCC. FWS and FWC have a management agreement that provides recommend best management practices to Gulf Power Company, with which they have largely complied. Residential, commercial, and Bay County prison populate the developed portions of land within the polygon. Currently a 2-lane road, Star Avenue, bisects this population. Department of Transportation intends to expand this into a 4 lane highway. The PCC within this unit displays the least inbreeding effects and has the second largest effective population size, second to St. Joe Mitigation. The majority of undeveloped lands are in core and secondary soils.

Survey Data: Localized sampling occurred in 2001, 2002, 2006. Larger sampling events occurred during the winter of 2003-04, spring of 2012, and spring of 2013. Genetics were sampled in September 2016 from 19 sites, with material from: 2 adult females, 5 adult males, 3 subadult females, 7 subadult males and 1 subadult of unknown sex (Table 3.4).

Table 3.4. Summary of PCC captures within the Star Avenue Population Polygon.
# PCC captured
2003-04
2012
2013
0 85 19 22
<10 98 12 21
10-20 19 9 5
>20 8 4 3
#sampled 210 44 51
total with PCC 125 25 29

Land under Easement: Gulf Power Right-of-Way under agreement with BMPs (~120 acres).

Inbreeding Coefficient: 0.493

Effective Population size: 1450.9

Population Isolation: 231-north is closest at 2,548 meters

Suitable habitat (acres): 3,099 acres

Water quality and availability: 24% of polygon is developed or unsuitable; high for water ranking.

Star Avenue survey data.
Figure 3.20. Star Avenue survey data.

231 South-St Joe

This population forms the furthest south-southeast boundary of the PCC’s range. Using the PCC genetic results coupled with geographic boundaries (creek systems) that are likely barriers for PCC movements, we merged all lands into one polygon. This population is afforded 5,309 acres of suitable lands mostly under timber management since the mid-1980’s and in various stages from recent clear-cuts to dense slash pines with dense titi shrub layers. St Joe Paper Company holds most of the lands within this unit. Gulf Power Company manages rights-of-way along approximately 114 acres of land that is populated with the PCC. FWS and FWC have a management agreement that provides recommend best management practices to Gulf Power Company, with which they have largely complied. Residential and commercial populate the developed portions of land within the polygon. Currently a 2-lane road, Star Avenue, bisects this population. Department of Transportation intends to expand this into a 4 lane highway. Tram Road also bisects the lower third of the polygon. It is currently a dirt road with plans for improving to an asphalted and 4-lane road. The PCC within this unit displays the second least inbreeding effects with a middle ranged effective population size. The majority of undeveloped lands are in core and secondary soils. Two conservation easements, 11.27 and 7.3 acres in size, are held by FDEP and 2 separate landowners. They have not been contacted about PCC management.

Survey Data: Localized sampling occurre d in 2001, 2002, 2006. Larger sampling events occurred during the winter-spring of 2003-04, spring of 2012, and spring of 2013. Genetics were sampled in August-September 2016 from 42 sites with materials from : 16 adult females, 4 subadult females, 9 adult males, 10 subadult males, 1 juvenile female, 1 juvenile male, and 1 hatchling (Table 3.5).

Table 3.5. Summary of PCC captures within the 231-south Population Polygon.
# PCC captured
2003-04
2012
2013
0 313 17 48
<10 255 14 25
10-20 135 3 5
>20 132 30 6
#sampled 835 64 84
total with PCC 522 47 36

Land under Easement: Gulf Power Right-of-Way under agreement with BMPs (~220 ac).

Inbreeding Coefficient: 0.460

Effective Population size: 145.6

Population Isolation: Star Avenue is closest at 5,125 meters

Suitable habitat (acres): 5,309 acres

Water quality and availability: 12% of polygon is developed or unsuitable; high for water ranking.

South-St Joe survey data
Figure 3.21. South-St Joe survey data