The Florida Department of Environmental Protection conducted a public workshop in Bartow to present draft water quality restoration goals, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads, for Lake Bonny, Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Lena and Deer Lake near the City of Lakeland.
The restoration goals will establish limits on nitrogen or phosphorus loadings to the lakes in order to bring them back to health.
Nitrogen and phosphorus occur naturally in surface waters and are necessary for the plants and animals living there. But excessive levels of these nutrients can lead to an imbalance in the ecosystem and cause algal mats and other problems for aquatic life. These four lakes currently suffer from high nutrient levels and do not meet Florida’s water quality standards.
“Nutrient impairment is Florida’s most challenging water quality problem,” said Tom Frick, Director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration.
The Department has to date adopted 355 restoration targets for rivers, lakes, springs and estuary systems across Florida. Nearly 53 percent of these restoration goals address nutrients, with others setting targets to resolve water quality problems associated with bacteria and metals.
The agency has also adopted 19 restoration plans (Basin Management Action Plans) encompassing nearly six million watershed acres and setting in motion the projects necessary to restore the affected waterbodies.
Another nine restoration plans are under development, including Lake Okeechobee, the Suwannee River and seven major spring systems.
Press Release, March 27, 2014