Piney – Z is located on the east side of Tallahassee
just off of Apalachee Parkway. The city of Tallahassee purchased
this land and the 407 acres surrounding it in 1995. About a year
later in October of 1996, the city, with insight from the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), began the restoration
of the lake. This had to take place because Lake Piney-Z had sat
idle and had accumulated over many years, layers and layers of
muck. Only about 25% of the muck was cleared, and this along with
the lake-mowed lily-pads, make up the dykes. The dykes are used
for fishing along the banks and nice strolls. After this restoration,
the drained lake was refilled and various species of fish were
put into the lake, such as the large mouth bass, bluegill, and
shellcracker. Many people have been working closely with the lake
to help bring it up to par. Fishery biologists and Bob the Boat
Man, as well as Mr. Fannin’s chemistry classes have been
working toward the “new and improved” Piney-Z. Whether
it was contributing to the action by physically doing something
or researching and analyzing data, these people will leave their
mark in Piney-Z history. Piney-Z will be a great recreational
site with the nice lake, fishing, canopied trails, and beautiful
sites. As said before, in the past, this area just sat idle and
there really was no human interaction with Piney-Z, not until
This view of the lake is calm and serene. A perfect
place for a picnic!
This is part of the lake. The tress and water show
the beauty of nature.
Karst Topography is distinguished
by its irregular shape and physical features of land. It has sink
holes, streams that disappear underground, and streamless valleys.
These were all developed by the movement of water (on surface
and underground) in soluble rock such as limestone. When water
and limestone meet, the water dissolves the limestone and makes
underground channels and caves, while up above, there develops
a rough and bumpy surface. Piney-Z displays karst topography in
that it drains into a sinkhole and has many of the characteristics
described above. The picture below is a cross section of a karst
sinkhole. It shows the limestone and the underground water. The
ground above is not even.
Eutrophication is the process
of aging of a lake through the biological enrichment of its water.
If naturally occurring, it is a very long process, taking up to
thousands of years. When first starting out, a lake is clean and
pure. Pristine. Over time, nitrates and phosphates invade and
more and more plants are grown, decomposed, and left to rot and
become the muck on the bottom of the lake. As this takes place,
the lake becomes shallower and warmer until a couple hundred years
later when plants start growing in the shallow areas. Before you
know it, a thousand years has passed and this once beautiful lake
has turned into land. However, lately, this process has been sped
up by the hands of man. Because of sewage and agricultural and
industrial wastes, many lakes are experiencing this process in
fast forward. Piney-Z had been going through eutrophication for
many years before the FWC got hold of it and began the restoration
(draining, scraping, sectioning) of the lake.
Floridian Aquifer underlies all
of Florida, parts of Georgia, and parts of Alabama. It is our
source of water. It is made up of several rock formations connected
by water flow. The water from the aquifer flows from North Georgia
and South Carolina, down to Florida. As it flows downstream, it
is forced underground. We (the people) pump our everyday household
water from it and have been for a long time now. Lake Piney-Z
drains through the sinkhole and into this aquifer, helping to
replenish the used water.
Water quality is important to maintaining Piney-Z
as an urban fishery. There are many different parameters that
are vital for the health of the lake and all the organisms (plants
and fish) in them.
is the degrees
of heat or cold measured on a definite scale. Generally, most
fish are cold blooded, meaning that their body temperature is
not internally regulated, but similar to that of the environment
surrounding them (in this case, the temperature of the water).
All fishes have their own preferred temperature, and if this
temperature gets very far above the preferred range, the numbers
start to decline. In other words, if the temperature varies
too much from the norm, the fishes will start to die. However,
if the temperature only increases by 10oC or 18oF within the
preferred range, the growth rate will just about double. This
is known as the Q10 rule. We measured the temperature with the
digital thermometer device which was connected to a TI-83 Plus.
We took a sample of the water and put the long metal rod (that
was connected to the TI-83 Plus) into the sample, and let the
calculator do its thing. Below is a picture of Barry and Mr.
Fannin collecting a sample of water to use to get the temperature.
bubble of oxygen gas in the water. This is what the fish breath.
When the water (with the DO) goes through the fishes’
gills, the oxygen is transferred from the water into their blood.
DO levels are also a way to access whether a body of water is
desirable to live in or not. Most fishes can not survive at
DO levels below 3 milligrams per liter, so it is important to
for the DO level to be at a safe 5 milligrams per liter or above.
We used a dissolved oxygen kit to determine the milligrams per
liter of DO that was in the lake. Both pictures (below) were
taken of the dissolved oxygen tests. We always did at least
two tests. Repetition is good.
- pH is a measure of how acidic or how basic
a solution is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being
neutral, numbers less than 7 being more acidic, and numbers higher
than 7 being more basic. pH levels affect how much and what form
of nutrients that is available for the fish to use. A change in
the pH level may result in an increase or decrease in the amount
of nutrients that can be dissolved in the water making it either
more or less available for consumption and use. The pH level was
measured on the calculator (like the temperature). We took a sample
of the water and put the long metal rod (that was connected to
the TI-83 Plus) into the sample, and let the calculator do its
- Nitrates are not normally that abundant in
lakes. They usually come from man-made products (run-off from
septic tanks), and large amounts can be harmful. As nitrates increase,
the growth rate of plants do as well. However, when all these
plants start dying and decomposing, the DO levels decrease. As
DO levels are the “breath” of fishes, having less
would cause them to receive insufficient amounts of air, and cause
them to suffocate. This is a plant stimulate and also increases
the eutrophication process.
- Phosphates are the key nutrients influencing
plant growth in lakes. Plants are what the fish eat, therefore
phosphates are what the fishes eat. However, an increase in phosphates
will also eventually cause a decrease in DO levels. This is also
a plant stimulate and also increases the eutrophication process.
- Turbidity is when something is thick, or has
a deficiency in clarity or purity. It refers to how clear the
water is. The murkier the water, the higher the level of turbidity.
The cause of this murkiness lay in little solid particles being
suspended in the water. High levels of turbidity may affect the
penetration of light, asphyxiate habitats, and even influence
the proper way of egg development. Really small particles of matter
in the water may damage or clog the gill systems in fishes. Other
damages turbidity can cause is included on the chart below. This
was found just by looking at the water. It was a visual assessment.
The water was pretty clear, indicating a low turbidity level.
The picture on the right shows that you can see through the water
to the little chopped up lily-pad bits.
These six components (temperature, DO, pH, turbidity,
nitrates, and phosphates) were important parameters as many of them
related with each other and were affected by them. In order to maintain
Piney-Z as an urban fishery, the fish must live, and by taking caution
with these six, Piney-Z will thrive with little fishies.