A Beginner’s Guide to Water Management—Common Aquatic Birds Using Florida Lakes

Green-backed heron.

Florida LAKEWATCH is a citizen scientist program that monitors Florida's lakes. Since it was established in 1991, Florida LAKEWATCH has worked with thousands of volunteers to collect water quality data on more than 2,700 aquatic systems in Florida. It is the most comprehensive and longest-running water quality data source in the United States, if not the world. This 18-page circular written by Mark V. Hoyer and published by the UF/IFAS Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation describes Florida LAKEWATCH's volunteer aquatic bird-monitoring program. Citizen volunteers can provide a comprehensive and intimate understanding of birds and their interactions with Florida lake systems, helping to detect the changes in the types and numbers of birds using lakes that may indicate important natural or human-caused environmental trends. Whether you want to identify birds you’ve spotted or take an active role in the management and conservation of Florida's natural resources, this circular can help you learn the basics.

A Beginner's Guide to Water Management—Muck: Causes and Corrective Actions

Muck from pond at Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Muck is both the popular and the scientific term for the material found on the bottom of ponds and lakes. Its “oozy” feel and rotten egg smell can be offensive, and it provides habitat for problem insects like blind midges. It may seem simple: get rid of the muck; get rid of the problems. However, there is more to this muck-raking story. Excessive amounts of muck in the wrong places certainly can cause problems, but just enough muck in the right places is essential for a healthy lake that supports diverse wildlife and fishing. Learn all about muck and what to do about it in this 13-page fact sheet written by Mark V. Hoyer, Daniel E. Canfield Jr. and Mark Brenner and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Natural Climate Variability Can Influence Cyanobacteria Blooms in Florida Lakes and Reservoirs

Figure 1. A photo of Lake Okeechobee, looking out over the western marsh region to the open waters of the large lake. Credit: SFWMD

During the summer, many of Florida's nutrient-enriched lakes and reservoirs experience proliferations of cyanobacteria commonly called “blooms.”. Cyanobacteria are natural in Florida lakes and reservoirs, but when they grow to high levels and bloom, they become a big problem. They look awful, smell bad, and can poison fish and other animals in the water. To help resource managers considering costly remediation projects or evaluating the effectiveness of nutrient reduction strategies to manage the problem, this 7-page fact sheet presents the results from 15 years of studies observing three large, nutrient-rich lakes in Florida (Lake Harris, Lake George, and Lake Okeechobee) to study the relationship between rainfall and cyanobacteria blooms and learn causes of year-to-year bloom variability. Written by Karl E. Havens, Mark V. Hoyer, and Edward J. Phlips and published by the Florida Sea Grant College Program