Piney Z Lake

Sarah H.

  1. Natural and cultural history of the physical characteristics of the area: The Piney-Z site, which gets its name from an abundance of pine trees and z-shaped land configuration is located east of Tallahassee about a mile off Apalachee Parkway. The property was purchased by the city in 1995 and includes the 193-acre Piney-Z Lake and 407-acres of surrounding property. The Piney-Z Lake is one of the many lakes in the Lake Lafayette Chain and is currently under restoration. (

    1. Physical characteristics

    2. Impact on man
      1. The Floridan aquifer underlies all of Florida, south Georgia, and parts of both Alabama and South Carolina.' This particular aquifer system is one of the major sources of ground-water in the United States. For this reason and more, studies of its function have been done for years. (

      2. Natural eutrophication is the process by which lakes gradually age and become more productive. It normally takes thousands of years to progress. However, humans, through their various cultural activities, have greatly accelerated this process in thousands of lakes around the globe. Cultural or anthropogenic "eutrophication" is water pollution caused by excessive plant nutrients. Humans add excessive amounts of plant nutrients (primarily phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon) to streams and lakes in various ways. Runoff from agricultural fields, field lots, urban lawns, and golf courses is one source of these nutrients. Untreated, or partially-treated, domestic sewage is another major source. (

      3. Limestone, with its high calcium carbonate content, is easily dissolved in the acids produced by organic materials. About 10% of the earth's land (and 15% of the U.S.A.) surface consists of soluble limestone, which can be easily dissolved by the weak solution of carbonic acid found in underground water. When limestone interacts with underground water, the water dissolves the limestone to form karst topography - an amalgamation of caves, underground channels, and a rough and bumpy ground surface. Karst topography is named for the Kras plateau region of eastern Italy and western Slovenia (Kras is Karst in German for "barren land").
        The underground water of karst topography carves our impressive channels and caves that are susceptible to collapse from the surface. When enough limestone is eroded from underground, a sinkhole (also called a doline) may develop. Sinkholes are depressions that form when a portion of the lithosphere below is eroded away. (

  2. Water Quality
    1. Water Quality Parameters
      1. Water Temperature: Human activities should not change water temperatures beyond natural seasonal fluctuations. To do so could disrupt aquatic ecosystems. Good temperatures are dependent on the type of stream you are monitoring. Lowland streams, known as "warmwater" streams, are different from mountian or spring fed streams that are normally cool. In a warmwater stream temperatures should not exceed 89 degrees (Fahrenheit). Cold water streams should not exceed 68 degrees (Fahrenheit). Often summer head can cause fish kills in ponds because high temperatures reduce available oxygen in the water. (

      2. Dissolved Oxygen: Dissolved oxygen analysis measures the amount of gaseous oxygen (O2) dissolved in an aqueous solution. Oxygen gets into water by diffusion from the surrounding air, by aeration (rapid movement), and as a waste product of photosynthesis. Total dissolved gas concentrations in water should not exceed 110 percent. Concentrations above this level can be harmful to aquatic life. Fish in waters containing excessive dissolved gases may suffer from "gas bubble disease"; however, this is a very rare occurrence. The bubbles or emboli block the flow of blood through blood vessels causing death. External bubbles (emphysema) can also occur and be seen on fins, on skin and on other tissue. Aquatic invertebrates are also affected by gas bubble disease but at levels higher than those lethal to fish. (

      3. pH: pH is a measure of the acidic or basic (alkaline) nature of a solution. The concentration of the hydrogen ion [H+] activity in a solution determines the pH. Mathematically this is expressed as (

        pH = - log [H+]

      4. Turbidity: Murkiness of water.
      5. Phosphates: Phosphorus is one of the key elements necessary for growth of plants and animals. Phosphorus in elemental form is very toxic and is subject to bioaccumulation. Phosphates PO4--- are formed from this element. Phosphates exist in three forms: orthophosphate, metaphosphate (or polyphosphate) and organically bound phosphate. Each compound contains phosphorous in a different chemical formula. Ortho forms are produced by natural processes and are found in sewage. Poly forms are used for treating boiler waters and in detergents. In water, they change into the ortho form. Organic phosphates are important in nature. Their occurrence may result from the breakdown of organic pesticides which contain phosphates. They may exist in solution, as particles, loose fragments, or in the bodies of aquatic organisms. (
      6. Nitrates: Nitrogen is one of the most abundant elements. About 80 percent of the air we breath is nitrogen. It is found in the cells of all living things and is a major component of proteins. Inorganic nitrogen may exist in the free state as a gas N2, or as nitrate NO3-, nitrite NO2-, or ammonia NH3+. Organic nitrogen is found in proteins and is continually recycled by plants and animals. Nitrogen-containing compounds act as nutrients in streams and rivers. Nitrate reactions [NO3-] in fresh water can cause oxygen depletion. Thus, aquatic organisms depending on the supply of oxygen in the stream will die. The major routes of entry of nitrogen into bodies of water are municipal and industrial wastewater, septic tanks, feed lot discharges, animal wastes (including birds and fish) and discharges from car exhausts. Bacteria in water quickly convert nitrites [NO2-] to nitrates [NO3-]. (
    2. A graphing calculator and a cable measured the water temperature. A kit with lots of bottles was used to measure the dissolved oxygen. Above is a picture of Teagan. She was so good at measuring that she had to do it five times.
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