Lake Piney Z is named for the abundance of pine
trees located on a z-shaped land configuration in Tallahassee,
Florida. In the past, the area was home to the Native Americans
of the area whose remains (in the form of pottery, arrowheads,
etc.) are still found near the lake basin. When the Europeans
came to the area, they unintentionally brought with them new forms
of algae and plant life not natural to the area. Today, the area
is being developed into a recreational area for the people of
the Piney Z neighborhood. The soon-coming park will offer biking,
hiking, picnicking, and wild life viewing areas. Also, the Lake
itself is being made into the Piney-Z Fish Management Area which
will monitor the fish life and water qualities of the lake.
Eutrophication, which occurs when the water becomes exceedingly
rich with nutrients, causes high biological productivity: especially
in algal life. Compounding this problem is runoff filled with
fertilizers and other products (often associated with lawn care
or gardening), which adds to the high nutrient content of the
lake. In the past, settlers came bearing foreign plants which
they introduced into the area. Some of these plants were, in fact,
harmful algae. As time wore on and the algae died, the lake took
on the nutrients of the decaying algae and lost oxygen to it [algae],
Lake Piney Z is directly connected to the Floridan aquifer by
a sink hole which is located in Fallschase. The Florida aquifer,
which has been developed and studied over recent year and runs
underneath north Florida and south Georgia. Karst topography is
the system of streams and sink holes that connects Lake Piney
Z with the Floridan aquifer, found often in porous rocks like
limestone. Lake Piney Z drains into a sinkhole on its east end
which empties directly into the Floridan aquifer and resurfaces
in a spring elsewhere in the state. The Floridan aquifer is a
major water resource for the United States.
In order to maintain Lake Piney Z as an urban fishery,
certain water quality parameters must be observed. Water temperatures
should not fluctuate too much season to season, and should by
no means be changed by human interaction within the environment.
If temperatures become too hot or too cold, it changes the dissolved
oxygen levels in the water, and can kill the fish. At Lake Piney
Z, we measured the water and air temperatures with a thermometer
probe attached to a graphing calculator which read the temperatures.
High levels of dissolved oxygen can also cause death among the
fish because they develop emphysema. If the concentration of dissolved
oxygen gets below 5.0 mg/L, then more stress is put on the aquatic
environment and can cause the fish to die as well. During our
observations, we measured dissolved oxygen using a kit and taking
grab samples from the lake.
pH measures the acidic or basic quality of a solution.
In our case, the solution is the water from Lake Piney Z. In general,
a pH in the range of 6.0-9.0 will adequately support the freshwater
fish and bottom dwelling invertebrates common to freshwater lakes.
However, pHs that fall in the range of 7.5-8.4 are also the optimum
range for the development and growth of algae in freshwater areas.
Many of our pH measurements fell within this range, which would
explain the algae growth in the area. When measuring pH, we used
a probe connected to a graphing calculator which found the reading
Turbidity measures the clarity of water. When suspended
solids are in the water, the turbidity is increased and the water
is more murky. Murkiness indicates high turbidity, and clearness
indicates lower. High levels do not allow light to get through
the water to complete the photosynthesis process of plants, and
the suspended solids can also clog fish gills, which can cause
decrease in the fish population.
Nitrogen and phosphorous are both vital to plant
life in the lake. However, phosphates and nitrates act as nutrients
to the plants and cause growth. Phosphates tend to occur more
through cultural eutrophication (they come from runoff and other
forms influenced or made by man), while nitrates occur naturally.
Both, at high levels, can cause algal blooms which add to the
turbidity of the water and affect the dissolved oxygen level of
All of the water quality parameters are interrelated and together
help create the aquatic environment that is Lake Piney Z.