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Why is Lake Jackson important ?
Lake Jackson, a valuable natural resource and renowned bass-fishing
destination, has been designated as a state Aquatic Preserve and an Outstanding Florida
Water. Tourism and local spending associated with recreational use of the lake
generate more than $10 million annually for our local economy.
How healthy is the lake ?
Unfortunately, Lake Jackson has
experienced an ecological decline for
the last 30 years, beginning with construction of Interstate 10 and commercial area along
North Monroe Street. The trend continues today as development spreads throughout the
This intensive rate of growth has led to a greater amount of stormwater
runoff, which carries large quantities of pollutants into the lake. Excessive
nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers and other sources have diminished the lake's
water quality and spurred the growth of many potentially harmful and invasive plants such
as blue-green algae, hydrilla and water hyacinth.
Accelerated plant growth, massive quantities of decaying vegetation and
the accumulation of organic muck on the lake bottom have seriously affected the habitat
and ecological integrity of the lake. Degraded water quality has been found
throughout the lake but particularly in the southern portion in and near Megginnis and
Since the early 1980s, the Northwest Florida Water Management
federal, state and local government agencies and private entities have been working to
improve Lake Jackson's water quality. These cooperative efforts have resulted in
many improvements, including several new and retrofitted stormwater treatment facilities
and a large-scale sediment removal project in Megginnis Arm.
In addition, more that 1,500 acres of environmentally sensitive land
near the lake have been acquired by the City of Tallahassee, the State of Florida and the District to improve
the lake's water quality, preserve area ecosystems and protect archaeological
resources. More preservation and restoration activities will take place in the
What are the plans for lake restoration during the
natural dewatering ?
The first phase of the project will
involve removing nuisance aquatic
plants, accumulated muck and debris from the southern portion adjacent to
Megginnis and Fords arms. This
sediment would be deposited in borrow pits and other nearby upland sites, which can
appropriate governmental agencies. If the lake level remains low, it may be possible
to conduct other activities such as organic muck removal from other areas of the lake and
habitat enhancement. Trash cleanup events and education programs may take place as
What pollutants are in the muck ?
The organic muck that will be removed has high levels of nutrients,
which cause algal blooms and excessive growth of invasive aquatic plants. A sampling
program conducted by the Northwest Florida Water Management District has shown that the
sediment is nontoxic, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, and may
be suitable for many different uses. There are very low levels of heavy metals, but
the amount of these pollutants is so small that no special handling of the material is
Who is involved in the cleanup effort ?
This is a large-scale cooperative effort, which involves the
Leon County Board of County
Commissioners, Florida Department
of Environmental Protection,
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission(FWC), Northwest Florida Water Management
District (NWFWMD), Friends of Lake Jackson and other groups. Funding and in-kind
services are being provided by Leon County and the FWC, with the NWFWMD providing
technical support and coordination.
Will certain areas of the lake be targeted ?
Lake specialists and scientist have identified several areas in the
southern portion of the lake where the muck has become particularly problematic. As
illustrated on this map,
Phase I includes Megginnis and Fords arms and Phase II includes a large area in the
southern portion of the lake.