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    For more than 28 years now, LAKEWATCH has put much of its energy into recruiting and training volunteers and facilitating the collection of data on hundreds of Florida waterbodies. However, much more is happening. While we continue to add new lakes to the program, we are also working to provide useful information to our hardworking volunteers and the public. We do this through circulars and pamphlets bathymetric maps. and regular newsletters. We also make the data available (downloadable data), use the data as the basis for research on Florida lakes, and publish the results in national and international journals.


To accomplish this, we've developed a series of information circulars and pamphlets. These materials provide a basic foundation to the terminology and concepts used in the water management arena. We do want to point out, however, that not all scientists and water managers use this information in precisely the same way. The descriptions and explanations that we've assembled represent water management as the Florida LAKEWATCH team has come to understand it after much research, observation, and feedback from volunteers

The following is a list of the circulars/pamphlets now available. Consider it our way of saying thank you for your dedication in "watching" your lake. The circulars are in PDF format.  You can download them and print them out.

Florida LAKEWATCH Data - What Does It All Mean- leads you through the tables and graphs and shows you how to spot trends and patterns.

Trophic State: A Waterbody's Ability to Support Plants, Fish, and Wildlife - explains four trophic states, discusses how LAKEWATCH determines your waterbody's Trophic State and how the information can be useful to you. 

Florida Lake Regions: A Classification System - explains the development of the 47 Florida Lake Regions and discusses why it's important for you to know which Lake Region your lake is in and how such information can be useful.   Download a color map of Florida's Lake Regions (pdf file)

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management- The ABCs  (Circular 101)

This circular is a handbook of commonly used terms and concepts used in water management. This circular is almost a one-stop shop for the basics in Florida limnology (lake science).  Following an introduction including the scientific method and metrics, terms and concepts are discussed alphabetically from A to Z. Also included are FDEP Standards for Class III Freshwaters, Recommended reading. Download PDF


A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Nutrients   (Circular 102)

This circular focuses on algae and the factors that limit or enhance their abundance in water bodies. It provides background information about algae, the concept of "Limiting Nutrients", use of models to predict algal abundance and some information about other limiting environmental factors.   Download PDF


A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Water Clarity (2nd Ed.) (Circular 103)

This circular focuses on water clarity (or transparency), to promote a better understanding of the dynamics and significance of water clarity in Florida lakes. It includes a discussion of important strategies used to manage for water clarity and provides basic information about water clarity, with an emphasis on its relationship to algal growth in lakes.
Download PDF


A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Lake Morphometry (2nd Ed.)
(Circular 104)

We can learn a great deal about how a lake functions by studying its morphometry - the size and shape of the lake basin. Familiarity with a lake's morphometric features can help explain why one lake has more phytoplankton (algae) than another or why some lakes have more macrophytes (large aquatic plants) than others. It can even be helpful in anticipating changes that may occur due to management practices or prevailing weather patterns. Recommended for anyone interested in learning more about the terminology and techniques currently being used to study lakes in Florida.    Download PDF

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Symbols, Abbreviations & Conversion Factors   (Circular 105)

This circular is intended as somewhat of a sequel to Circular 101 (The ABCs), which dealt with terminology and management concepts used by limnologists and water managers. Here we provide the tools for interpreting and/or translating units of measure, conversion factors, symbols and abbreviations used by scientists.   Download PDF


A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Bacteria   (Circular 106)

This 48-page booklet provides readers with a brief tutorial on the presence of bacteria in Florida lakes and the aquatic environment in general and then quickly digs into possible sources of bacterial contamination and how one might go about testing for it. Included in this discussion, the booklet provides a brief comparison on the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants versus septic tank systems. Also discussed: various indicators used to detect bacterial contamination, along with laboratory methods. Lastly, an easy 4-step process is provided for tracking down bacterial contamination in a lake or waterbody. Laboratory suppliers are listed in the back of the booklet for individuals or groups interested in doing their own bacterial sampling. Download PDF

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Fish Kills   (Circular 107)

This 16-page publication was inspired by the many questions that volunteers and other lake residents have had regarding dead or dying fish in their lake. In an effort to alleviate some of their concerns, as well as inform the general public about these unfortunate events, we've explained five of the most common natural causes of fish kills (e.g., low dissolved oxygen, spawning fatalities, mortality due to cold temperatures, diseases and parasites and toxic algae blooms). Human-induced fish kills are also covered along with a section on fish stress - a component of virtually every fish kill situation. Should a fish kill occur in your area, the last section of the circular provides steps you can take to help determine the cause. A listing of fish health diagnostic laboratories is provided on the last page, for those who want to take a more active role. Download PDF

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Color   (Circular 108)

Aside from water clarity, the color of water in a lake is one of the main attributes that captures people's attention - particularly if the color begins to change. However, as this circular explains, such changes can affect more than just the visual appearance of a waterbody; in some instances, it can influence biological productivity, including the abundance of aquatic plants and/or algae. The good news is that most of these changes are the result of naturally occurring processes within the watershed or the lake itself. Related topics of discussion include: apparent color, true color, suspended and dissolved substances; light attenuation and nutrients. The last section provides two empirical models (equations) that can be used to determine if color in a waterbody is the result of algae or suspended solids. 32 pages in length. 1st Edition. January © 2004 Download PDF

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Oxygen and Temperature (Circular 109)

Oxygen and water temperature are two very important components of lake ecosystems. In fact, oxygen and temperature are so closely linked that it's nearly impossible to discuss one without the other. Sometimes it's difficult to know which should be considered first. This circular begins with oxygen, as it is key to the survival of all aquatic organisms . Part I begins with a brief tutorial about oxygen in water, including how it enters and exits a waterbody and how it is measured. Part 2 covers the physical properties of water (e.g., forms of water, density of water, etc.) and the influences that temperature has on each of these characteristics. Part 3 ties it all together with information on how these dynamics affect the ability of plants and animals to live in water (a.k.a. biological productivity). Part 4 includes more technical information on the methods used to obtain oxygen and temperature measurements. 1st Edition. July © 2004 Download PDF

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Fish Communities and Trophic State in Florida Lakes. (Circular 110) 

All Florida residents and visitors stand to benefit from a greater understanding of the fish populations in lakes of different trophic state (productivity) in Florida. The relationships between fish populations and trophic state discussed in this circular are based on a study of many Florida lakes of varying trophic state rather than on an individual lake undergoing eutrophication over time. This approach is taken because there are virtually no long-term studies of fish populations in Florida lakes undergoing eutrophication.  April, 2007. 36 pp.  Download PDF

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management - Aquatic Plants in Florida Lakes (Circular 111)  

Circular 111 is a summary of current knowledge on aquatic plants and aquatic plant management strategies, highlighting the Florida situation and with more information about herbicides. The major focus of this circular is management of aquatic plants as opposed to dealing with nutrients, algae, or water clarity.  Included are sections 1) Aquatic Plant Biology, 2) Aquatic Plant Management Problems and 3) Aquatic Plant Management Techniques. New Edition. October, 2014.
43 pp.
Download PDF

For more information about how individuals (or groups) can become LAKEWATCH volunteers, contact:

Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

(UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation)
7922 NW 71st Street

Gainesville, FL 32653-3071

Toll-free message line: 1-800-LAKEWATCH (525-3928)

Phone: 352/392-4817
Fax: 352/392-4902

Page revised December 3, 2014


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