Piney Z Lake

Katrina N.

Katrina N.
Piney Z Narrative

Piney Z is a lake in Tallahassee, which gets its name from the abundance of pine trees in the area around it, and from being in the shape of a “Z”. In 1995, the city of Tallahassee purchased the lake in hopes of being able to restore the once beautiful and healthy lake. Once the project is finished, the lake will be open to the public who will use it for hiking, biking, picnics, etc. Recently the lake has been used for drainage and a recent sewage spill deeply hurt the progress they were making on the lake. If it is continued to be used for this purpose, it could hurt the lake forever. Also there have been plans to create the Fallschase subdivision around the lake. The builders agreed to hold off on the development because it would be much more difficult to restore the healthy lake with the development occurring at the same time.

Water quality parameters are extremely important at maintaining Piney Z. Water temperature directly and indirectly affects aquatic life. If water temperature is too high, it reduces the ability for essential dissolved oxygen levels, which puts too much stress on the ecosystem. Dissolved oxygen analysis measures the amount of gaseous oxygen dissolved in an aqueous solution. The percentage of dissolved oxygen in water should never exceed 110. It is also dangerous for the levels to be too low. The life forms go through too much stress. Either way, the aquatic life is likely to suffer from disease and possibly die. Without a good oxygen level, life would not be able to flourish at Piney Z. It would defeat the purpose of opening up the lake for viewing the wildlife. There would be none to view. PH is affected by the concentration of hydrogen ion activity in a substance. PH must range from 6.0 to 9.0 to give protection to freshwater fish and other aquatic life. PH levels will affect the impact other substances from agricultural or industrial areas will have. If the pH levels reach or fall to a dangerous level, it could negatively impact Piney Z as an urban fishery because simply, there would be no fish. When nitrogen-containing compounds are found in rivers or lakes, they act as nutrients. Sometimes nitrate reactions occur which deplete the water’s oxygen. If this occurs, the aquatic life is likely to die because they depend on oxygen to survive. There are many ways in which nitrates can enter the lake including car exhaust. Now that Piney Z lake is surrounded by the plantation, it is likely that nitrate producing events can affect the lake. Phosphates can be produced by runoff from farmland. This probably happened at some point during Piney Z’s existence. Phosphates are essential, but also dangerous if excess phosphate occurs. Phosphates help grow aquatic plants and plankton which feed the fish, which makes the fish population higher. One of Piney Z’s purposes is to be used for fishing. But in excess, phosphates can cause aquatic plants to grow wildly, using a lot of the oxygen and choking the waterway. Piney Z once had an abundance of aquatic plant life and algae, but a lot of it has been used to create the dikes. Turbidity refers to how clear water is. It can be increased by clay and silt from shoreline erosion of phytoplankton. If water becomes too turbid, organisms can be suffocated and animal growth can be hindered. It is important to keep the level just right.

We tested the dissolved oxygen levels in the lakes by using the two chemical testing kits. We tested the pH by using the graphing calculator. We used a thermomator to test the water temperature.

Karst topography, an amalgamation of caves, underground channels, and a rough and bumpy ground surface. Karst topography is formed when limestone interacts with underground water and the water dissolves the limestone. When enough limestone is eroded from underground, a sinkhole may occur. This has occurred in the Lafayette area because there is a sinkhole located there which has been affected by the Karst topography. The sinkhole at Lafayette could serve the purpose of managing the lake. Creating a berm around this sinkhole may help protect the aquifer.

This is a diagram of the Karst Topogrpahy common in the region.

The Floridan aquifer system falls under Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It is important in providing ground water for these areas. Three billion gallons of water come from it everyday. In many places, it is the only source of freshwater. The aquifer has been threated by both man and natural occurrences but it will most likely never run out. The annual rainfall and Florida’s flat topography keep it going. Without the aquifer, Piney Z and Lake Lafayette might not be here.

Eutrophification is another aspect of the area. It is a condition where high nutrient concentrations in aquatic ecosystems cause an increased amount of algae. Eutrophication is a natural process but is often accelerate by human intervention. Some of the causes of increased eutrophication are agricultural runoff, sewage, and leaking septic systems. Piney Z lake was once surrounded by agricultural land, so this process was sped up. It is important to restore the lake so the affects of this process can be slowed.

Copyright © 2010 The Florida Geographic Alliance