Piney Z Lake

Jarrod D.

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(Disclaimer: insufficient memory on computer did not allow for any more pictures)

Piney Z is a lake. It’s rather small, compared to Lake Michigan and Superior. But, compared to the lake in my neighborhood, it’s relatively big. Just one of those lakes. Its name is a result of its area’s abundant pine trees and the Z shape of the water. It’s part of Lake Lafayette, a system that flows to a sinkhole that connects to the tunnels, formed by water, marked by a bumpy ground surface, provide Florida, south Georgia, and even parts of Alabama and South Carolina a supply of fresh water and drainage for lakes.

Tertiary Karst Topography

Piney Z was originally a river. In 1947 for it was dammed up for recreational purposes like fishing and duck hunting. But by doing that, the lake’s natural flowage and processes of growth and decay were disrupted, and over time a thick layer of muck resulted across the bottom. Algae and other vegetation began to pervade the water, and the fish population took one in the chin. In an attempt to improve the situation, the muck was scrapped off the bottom and piled to form dikes extending into the river. This solution was at best temporary, but it was some relief, and the pikes offered use as excellent fishing docks. In 1995, the city of Tallahassee bought the property, and full time restoration efforts began. Once finished, the lake will be known as Piney-Z Fish Management Area, a place where man can enjoy the simple pleasures of nature.

That man has to reach that stage is due to his negative impact so far on the lake system. The damming of the lake was the first harmful, step, in spite of beneficial intentions. The degeneration of the lake was then accelerated by the housing development a little ways from shore: fertilizer from the lawns would rain into the lake and fertilize the floating algae. The algae would grow and block sunlight, needed by the aquatic plants, from the lake floor, and those plants, seriously affected, would reduce in size and die at a greater rate. The diminished vegetation, in turn, carried consequences for the marine life. Fish and crustaceans began to lack the shelter of the plants, and the decomposition of more dying plants removed significant amounts of oxygen from the water, making it more difficult for water animals to survive. This has since been taken into account in the restoration efforts; all factors are being analyzed as best they can. In the future, problems will be addressed to maintain a healthy and usable status of the lake for as long as is possible.












We, my group, took several measurements at the lake. Using a graphing calculator with a measurement cable thingy attached, we recorded first the water temperature. Man’s unnatural influence can raise the temperature, killing the fish if it gets too high, making fishing a bit more difficult. Also using the graphing calculator and attachment, we found the pH level of the lake, the basic and acidic level. Anywhere from 6.0 to 9.0 supports fish life well, and our measurements fell in that area. But our readings, furthermore, were consistently between 7.5 and 8.4, the ideal levels for algae growth – and the water appeared full of algae. The murkiness of water would’ve been measured by turbidity, though we never examined it; clearer water, a lower turbidity level, better supports plant and marine life. Phosphates and nitrates, nutrients which we also did not study, are consequential in that too much of either leads to stimulated algae, returning to afore mentioned problems. The most intensive of our measurements was finding the level of dissolved oxygen in the lake’s water. This required the full use of a specific kit, a procedure I participated minimally in. Every living thing requires oxygen, and those in the water begin to die if there is not sufficient amount; too much, however, can also be harmful. The measurements were the useful part of the visits to Piney Z, perhaps. But my favorite thing was napping in the sun.

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