Piney-Z is only one small part of the whole of Lake Lafayette
on the East side of Tallahassee, Florida. It’s about a mile
off of Apalachee Parkway and houses are being built everywhere
around the lake due to the recent opening of the new Piney-Z community.
Along the lake run railroad tracks and a multitude of trees and
shrubbery. Lake Piney-Z is cut off from the rest of Lake Lafayette
by dikes on either side. Between the dikes are several ‘fingers’
where people can walk out onto the lake. The fingers were made
when the muck on the bottom of the lake was cleared out and the
piles of muck made the fingers. Restoration is underway to make
the 193-acre lake and its surrounding property (bought by the
city in 1995) a park where the public can fish, picnic, and explore.
Lake Piney-Z has an interesting history thanks to us humans. It
was inhabited by Native Americans a very long time ago and today
there are people looking for artifacts, but they’re doing
it illegally. Later on, the lake was seen as a prime hunting ground
but the only problem was that the water in Lake Piney-Z would
occasionally slip in to the upper lake and be sucked down the
sinkhole there (to the Floridan Aquifer). The sinkhole was there
and still is today because of Karst topography. The layers of
limestone began to decay and when they finally decayed enough,
the ground sank in and made it possible for water to be inhaled
by it and even sucked into the Floridan aquifer. Therefore, it
was decided, since the land was privately owned, that dikes would
be built on either side of Lake Piney-Z to keep the water in there
all the time. They had no idea what this could do to the life
of the lake. Over the years, eutrophication began to occur (the
lake was gaining to many nutrients). No one thought much of it
until they realized that the lake was becoming more muck than
lake. It became hard for anything to live because there was no
flow through the lake due to the dikes. Once the lake was purchased
by the city in 1995, they decided to shape things up. They drained
the lake and scraped the excess nutrients and other things off
the bottom and then filled it back up. Although this won’t
fix the lake forever, leave it to man to try and fix a problem
he made in the first place.
Now that the lake is back up to par, the city is planning on making
it into an urban fishery and the land around it into a park for
biking and hiking. There are certain water quality parameters
that are important to maintaining Lake Piney-Z as an urban fishery.
Because the lake doesn’t flow anywhere, most everything
is critical to keeping the lake healthy. Temperature must be maintained
because the lake can get too hot or too cold since it just sits
there. The fish could die, and then no one would be happy. Another
important thing is the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.
Without this the fish would have no way of getting oxygen and
would therefore die. They would also die if there were too much
of it. Also important to maintaining Piney-Z as an urban fishery
is pH. Fish can’t live in water that is too acidic or too
basic. For them to be happy and live longest, water should probably
be at a pH level of 7.5 or 8. Turbidity is another crucial factor.
It has to do with the clarity of the water and how much light
can be filtered through. If it’s too bad, then no light
can be filtered through to the plants and algae, and therefore
the fish would have nothing to eat and the lake’s condition
would worsen significantly in a short amount of time. Nitrates
and phosphates are critical to keeping Lake Piney-Z a healthy
urban fishery. If too many plants or animals die, too many nitrates
will be produced which in turn lowers the dissolved oxygen level.
An increase in nitrates
can lead to an increase in phosphates which encourages an increase
of plant growth and also algal blooms. The dissolved oxygen level
will then decrease and fish will die, leaving Piney-Z no fish
for its urban fishery. Increase in nitrates and phosphates can
be prevented by making sure there’s little fertilizer runoff,
septic tank runoff, and little improperly treated wastewater.
All these parameters are critical to maintaining a healthy urban
fishery at Lake Piney-Z.
our experimentation at Lake Piney-Z, we measured some of the water
quality parameters. With the help of a TI-83 and some of its paraphernalia
we were able to measure the temperature of the water along with
the pH level. Simply by hooking up a probe to the calculator and
sticking it in the water and pushing a few buttons, we were able
to measure these things. We also measured the amount of dissolved
oxygen with special kits. These kits had a varying number of chemicals
that when used correctly, could measure the amount of dissolved
oxygen in a sample of water.