Home | Field Sites | Teacher Resources | Student Activities | Ecosystems | Program Info

Lauren D.


Piney-Z is located east of Tallahassee, and includes 193 acres of Piney-Z lake and 407 acres of surrounding property. Piney-Z gets its name from its abundant pine trees and “Z” shaped land configuration. The lake did not contain water prior to 1947, it was used as an agricultural area. In 1947, dikes were built so that it could be filled with water. Little consideration for the environment was taken because the owner was not aware of its possible effects. Ducks flocked to the area and fishing was widely popular in the area. Eutrofication, water pollution caused by excessive plant nutrients, caused algae to form and a layer of muck appeared on the bottom of the lake. In 1998, the muck was removed from 25% of the bottom to form fingers that could be used for better bank access and ‘wildlife islands’ through out the lake. This lake reconstruction has cost close to $150,000. In the future it is hoped that the area will be available for biking, picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

The lake is surrounded by a heavily wooded area where many species of wildlife reside.

Karst topography is a landscape created by groundwater dissolving sedimentary rocks. The Floridan aquifer is made up of carbonate rocks such as limestone and dolomite, which can be readily dissolved by their interaction with acidic water. This is happening at Lake Piney-Z and has created sinkholes through out the property. Activities such as dredging can accelerate the rate of sinkhole expansion.

To maintain Piney-Z as an urban fishery some important parameters must be observed. Temperature in the lake cannot be too hot or too cold, this may cause plants and wildlife to die. Fish can only withstand temperatures between 68 and 89 degrees F. Higher temperature also causes the amount of dissolved oxygen to decrease.

The dissolved oxygen level is also very important to the health of a lake. Aquatic plants produce oxygen that is dissolved in water. Other animals, such as fish, use the dissolved oxygen to breath. If there is an unbalance in the DO level algae is also produced, and this can have many negative effects on the lake. Too much dissolved oxygen can cause “gas bubble disease,” and too little DO could cause the fish to die.

If the pH of the water is too low or too high the lake can also be damaged. It is important for the pH of a lake to remain between 6.0 and 9.0. pH is also important because it measures for toxic elements agricultural, industrial, and domestic runoff.

Turbidity, the clearness of the water, measures the amount of solids suspended in the water. This is important because the cloudier the water is , the most difficult it is for light to pass thought it. This lessens the ability for plants to photosynthesize.

Phosphates are also important because they stimulate the growth of aquatic plants and plankton that fish feed on. Phostphate levels that are too high cause eutrofication.
Nitrates are also important to a lake because they regulate the oxygen levels in the water. They act as nutrients and keep the lake healthy.

We measured the water quality parameters using many devices. We used DO kits to measure dissolved oxygen. By adding different chemicals to water samples we were able to get accurate readings. Our group also got to use a special attachment to the scientific calculator which measured temperature, DO, and pH levels in the water.

To obtain water samples we used a highly scientific “scooping cup” from which we obtained our water.

After obtaining the samples we used the DO kits to measure dissolved oxygen in the water. We repeated these trials several times to make sure we had a precise calculation. We recorded all of our findings and compared them to other group’s measurements.