Piney Z Narrative
Every now and then a lake suffers from the overcrowding
of aquatic plants and other water quality problems. A recent drought
made this the case for Tallahassee, Florida’s Lake Piney
Z. The Lake gets its name from its excess of pine trees and the
z-shaped land formation and is nestled in a developing community
off Apalachee Parkway.
previous impact on the lake was not very significant. Most of
its problems were due to naturally occurring things. The drought
led to and rapid growth of plants which led to the buildup of
muck on the lake’s surface. But the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission are now trying to help. Recently, about
99% of the lake was drained and 25% of the muck was scraped away.
The goal is to turn the area into a recreation spot for the community.
Water was let back into the lake along with a supply of largemouth
bass, bluegill, shell cracker, golden shiners, and channel catfish.
Eventually the park will be open to biking, hiking, picnicking,
and wildlife viewing.
The Floridan Aquifer is a versatile source of usable water. It
provides for irrigation, mining, and a source of freshwater. Parts
of the aquifer, much like Piney Z Lake, have been negatively impacted
by natural disasters and population growth. Its resources can
naturally replaced but when overpopulation occurs, overuse occurs
and threatens the replenishment of the aquifer’s groundwater.
Piney Z has also been affected by changes in population. Due to
the recent development of the surrounding community, the lake
experienced a lot of runoff and erosion. If this continues to
happen then they will have to continuously scrape the lake’s
Eutrophication is also something that has greatly impacted Piney
Z. It is water pollution caused by the excess of plant nutrients.
Naturally, with the drought and increase in underwater plants,
there was an increase in plant nutrients. The runoff from the
building of local housing added to the increase of nutrients.
We can attribute the overabundance of muck to eutrophication.
We can also credit it with the disappearance of native fish that
could not adapt to their new surroundings.
While eutrophication adds, and takes away, a lot from the water
quality, there is much more to it than that- and much more that
they still have to deal with. Temperature has a great affect on
the water quality because it determines the solubility of oxygen
in water- dissolved oxygen. In Piney Z lake’s case, there
was not enough dissolved oxygen- which means the temperatures
must have been too high- and the fish were unable to reproduce.
Another parameter of water equality is pH. It determines how basic
or acidic water is which generally affects whether or not fish
will survive in the water. Piney Z became more acidic as we traveled
east and had the best pH levels for fish in the very center of
the lake. In order for all of the fish that they supplied to survive
the people working with the lake will have to constantly maintain
good pH levels. In addition to the previous parameters, there
is something known as turbidity. It is the measurement of the
lack of clarity of water- that basically means how much stuff
is floating around in the water. Piney Z was probably high turbidity
water previously but with its scraping out it should be clearer
and more habitable for fish. Phosphates are added to the water
with eutrophication. If there are too many phosphates added to
a lake then the algae will begin to choke out other vegetation.
Nitrates, like phosphates, can be bad for the quality of water
if there are too many but in moderation they are good nutrients
There are many things contributing every day to the situation
that Piney Z lake is facing. But there are also many people that
are trying to make it as safe and pollutant and muck-free as they
can. Hopefully, the authorities will be able to control the water
quality and the surroundings so that runoff and erosion are stopped.
This project has made me a lot more aware of the fact that many
things contribute to the well-being of our natural resources.
We cannot just leave lakes to live naturally when we are constantly
changing the surroundings.