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Lake Munson: Past and Present

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1 Lake Munson: Past and Present
Octavia Beasley Andreas Jackson Wendasha Jenkins Jamil Jude Whitney Maxey

2 HISTORY OF LAKE MUNSON Lake Munson is a flow through system. The water in Lake Munson comes from many urbanized areas of Tallahassee. The water flowing into Lake Munson is very poor quality urban storm water. The Lake receives stormwater runoff from 57% of Tallahassee’s urban areas. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) found that the urban stormwater runoff carried a pollutant load of 35,762 lbs/day total suspended particles, 1,558 lbs/day Biochemical Oxygen Demand, 274 lbs/day Nitrogen, 156 lbs/day Phosphorus, 7.8 lbs/day Lead, and 2 lbs/day Copper. As early as 1705 it was indicated that Lake Munson may have once flowed into the Wakulla River.

3 1950 - A permanent dam was built at the outfall of Lake Munson.
Maps from 1840 suggest a cypress mill was located on the lake, making it the first historical reference to an impoundment. However, an oral tradition states that beaver dams have historically maintained the Lake as a natural impoundment. A permanent dam was built at the outfall of Lake Munson. Lake Munson was said to have excellent waterfowl hunting and good fishing. At the same time some locals decided not to eat the fish because the lake had been receiving effluent from the Tallahassee Sewage Treatment Plant. From it was the receiving water body for Tallahassee’s municipal wastewater discharges. FDEP classified Lake Munson as hypereutrophic, and ranked it as the seventh most degraded lake in Florida. A spray field was constructed for Tallahassee’s municipal wastewater and substantially improved Lake Munson’s water quality.

4 Eight Mile Pond and Ames Sink are the two sinkholes south of the lake, and they consume the overflow from Lake Munson’s outflow under normal conditions. Because eutrophication is high, there is a lot of aquatic algae that contributes to large diurnal fluctuations of dissolved oxygen, and the high values in which the dissolved oxygen is supersaturated is a sign that the vegetation is out of balance.

5 Present Day Lake Munson

6 What thrives and lives in Lake Munson?
The Lake has a history of frequent fish kills and infestation with invasive exotics, like Hydrilla verticillata. It has always been a good place to hunt waterfowl. Lake Munson still produces trophy bass, but not at as high a rate as it used to, along with other types of fish. Willow trees can be found throughout the center of the lake. An excess amount of aquatic algae and phytoplankton Invasive exotic macrophytes such as invasive exotic snails, Pomacea canaliculata, that help suppress the phytoplankton and the already high values of chlorophyll in the lake. High levels of nitrate, phosphate, and high concentration of ammonia It’s completely encircled by Pond Cypress trees, just as it has always been

7 Restoration Project From 1934 to 1984, Lake Munson was the receiving water body for Tallahassee's municipal wastewater discharges. Recent tests show that Lake Munson still receives 57% of Tallahassee's urban areas storm water runoff. The basic goal of the Lake Munson restoration project is to remove material from the lake bottom to improve the water quality, remove storm water runoff impacts on the tributary system and receiving waters, restore nearby habitats, provide recreation opportunities, and provide flood storage. The building of ditches leading to Lake Munson, the removal of a delta, and building a retention pond to divert the water in the ditches are the major components of the Lake Restoration Project.

8 Restoration According to EPA, the restoration plan was comprised of many components. Restoration Plan 1. Construct sediment disposal site facilities 2. Excavate the 15-acre delta at the inflow of the lake 3. Restore Lake Henrietta and include stormwater best management practices (BMPs) to improve the "treatment train" going to Lake Munson and the Floridan Aquifer 4. Hydraulically dredge the bottom sediments from the main body of the lake 5. Take additional steps to improve fishery habitats, lake access, environmental education opportunities and recreation to enhance the facilities for the community 6. Monitor the actual efficiency of pollutant removal by the BMPs implemented in the project.

9 The engineering firm of Camp Dresser and McKee designed the improvement project which consisted of six phases. 1. Sediment disposal site which is located at the Eisenhower clay pits. 2. Lake Henrietta restoration which was to provide peak flow attenuation and water quality treatment. 3. Munson Slough Stabilization which goal was to provide erosion control between Springhill Rd. and Lake Munson. 4. Excavation of the Delta in Lake Munson which would restore the channel inflow to a more natural state while removing trash and debris from the lake. 5. Hydraulic Dredging of Lake Munson/Fishery Enhancements and improve the recreational value of Lake Munson. 6. Monitoring of the slough hydro period as required by the USACOE. So far about $13.3 million has been invested in the restoration project with an estimated $6 million needed to complete it.

10 Human’s… tsk, tsk The use of our water resources was long taken for granted as the United States and Florida developed. The pollution that resulted from using surface waters as dumping grounds for human and industrial waste become evident by the 1950s and 1960s and led to many new federal and state laws. Concerns about both water resource vulnerability and the long-term sustainability of our water resources have rapidly increased across the United States over the past few decades. Water resource vulnerability refers to the overall vulnerability of surface water and ground water. Vulnerability includes water quality issues, such as pollution, as well as water supply issues, such as aquifer recharge or overuse. The causes, which can vary greatly, may stem from human populations or natural systems. Long-term sustainability means that enough water is available to support natural systems and human populations over time, and that the supply of water is naturally replenished. Sustainability can be affected in many ways. For example, once a water supply is contaminated, the contamination may be difficult or impossible to fix.

11 If the natural flow of water is disrupted (for example, if stormwater is channeled directly to rivers and lakes in a series of pipes or ditches rather than being allowed to flow freely over the surface of the land and replenish underground aquifers or fill wetlands), its potential benefits are lost The Lake Munson drainage basin in the St. Marks Basin is an example of a human-induced short circuit. A network of drainage ditches carries two-thirds of Tallahassee’s highly polluted stormwater to Lake Munson. The lake then drains via Munson Slough and flows underground at Munson (Ames) Sink, ten miles north and upgradient of Wakulla Springs. Other short circuits include interactions between surface water and ground water, ground water and surface water, surface water to surface water, and ground water to ground water. These interactions can be natural (for example, sinkholes), or human induced (for example, drainage canals). Over half of Florida’s aquifers are vulnerable to ground water contamination. In addition, because 90 percent of the state’s drinking water comes from aquifers, the effects of any contamination are potentially serious.

12 In Florida, these vulnerabilities are often closely linked: for example, underground aquifers and surface waters are connected in many areas, allowing polluted agricultural and urban stormwater to flow directly into drinking water supplies.  Local and regional residents can influence groundwater vulnerability. The area closest to the withdrawal point is most vulnerable, while the area farthest away is the least vulnerable. High phosphorus levels dropped to a fraction of their previous levels once sewage effluent was diverted from the lake in 1985.

13 Lake Munson From a Political View

14 General Information Lake Munson is located in the Southside of Tallahassee Has been a topic of interest for the past 10 years Both County and City officials take interest in the lake

15 City Commissioners Alfred Lawson Richard Mitchell Loranne Ausley
These people are on the restoration project for Lake Munson.

16 Description of Project
Removal and disposal and approximately 1,000,000 cubic yards of accumulated nutrient rich bottom sediments from Lake Munson coupled with ancillary habitat restoration. This will bring about improved surface quality; Increased groundwater protection; Fisheries enhancement; Increased recreation and fishing access.

17 Cost of Project Total cost: 16,500,000
This is a local fund so the cash amount is : 11,200,00 State requested: 6,000,000 Will not be funded by the state Was not in an Agency’s Budget request. Was not included in the Governor’s Recommended Budget

18 Public Awareness This project was presented to a public body by the Leon County Board of Commissioners on 12/12/00.

19 The County Officials Bob Rackleff Dan Winchester Serving second term
First elected in 1998 Chair of the Local Transportation Disadvantaged Board for 4 years Dan Winchester Serving second term First elected in 1998 Primary focus is District 3

20 My Letter to the Officials
Hello.  My name is Jamil Jude.  I am a senior student at James S. Rickards High school.  I am a member of the IB program at Rickards.  My purpose for writing this to you is to ask your specific stance on an important issue.  As a member of the IB program, I must complete a Group 4 project in my laboratory science class.  This year, our class has decided to use Lake Munson as our target site for our project… 

21 My Letter (Contd.) I chose to focus not on the specific environmental factors about the lake as far as pollution and the animals that live in the area, but more on the politics the concern the area.  I know that Lake Munson has been a "hot topic" in the last few years over how we deal with the lake, especially before the restoration process took place.  I've contacted you to ask for help in trying to understand the politics concerning the lake a little bit more.  I would greatly appreciate your help. 

22 My Letter (Contd.) If isn't the most effective way of communication, I can be reached at either my cell ( ), my house ( ) or at school ( ).  Again, thank you for your help. Jamil Jude Class of 2005

23 Commissioner Rackleff
Dear Jamil, I'm flattered and pleased that you asked for my thoughts about Lake Munson, since that lake has been a special concern of mine ever since my first boat trip on it five years ago.  I was last on it by kayak about a year ago (when my wife got up close and personal with a gator!), and still find it one four most outstanding water bodies. beneficiary of that project. 

24 Rackleff However, I don't think of it as a "hot topic" because both city and county commissioners strongly agree that we have to improve the lake's water quality.  Our commitment to the Capital Cascades Greenway project of over$100 million in Blueprint 2000 funds speaks clearly to that agreement.  Lake Munson will be the greatest The numerous storm water ponds and other improvements in the greenway will help filter out most of the pollutants coming from the city. 

25 Rackleff Once those upstream improvements are underway, the county also plans to dredge much of the accumulated silt and noxious water weeds from Lake Munson to help it sustain a healthy ecosystem. The county has also purchased much of Lake Munson's shoreline (we already built a small county park at its southeast end) to prevent damaging development, to create trails around it, and to preserve the magnificent cypress trees that ring the lake. 

26 Rackleff We can all look forward to this future.  Lake Munson has every opportunity to become a beautiful, urban lake accessible to the public, already teeming with water fowl, and later with fish.  I encourage you to visit it and imagine as I do a bright future for this unique lake. Please feel free to call me at if you have any questions.  Best wishes, Bob Rackleff Leon County Commissioner

27 Commissioner Winchester
Dear Jamil, After reviewing your questions and getting the feedback from our expert in our Public Works Engineering Department, I give you the following: 1.  Question:  What is your stance on the specific projects being done on the lake?       Answer:   The projects that have been done, are being done, and will be done in the future are all very worthy and have my full support.

28 Winchester They are all important to restore Lake Munson to a healthy state. The specific projects are:  construction of storm water treatment at Lake Henrietta, removal of the sediment and trash delta that has accumulated in the entrance to Lake Munson.  The City has also diverted its domestic wastewater from dumping into Munson Slough and then into Lake Munson. This wastewater has been diverted to the Tram Road spray field since the 1980s. 

29 Winchester Several other projects that are proceeding upstream from Lake Munson will further improve the lake's condition, but are less visible to the public eye. These include the stabilization of the stream banks and the enforcement of sediment and erosion control measures for new construction projects.  2.  Question:    What can be done to improve the lake?  

30 Winchester Answer: Lake Munson has accumulated great amounts of nutrient-rich sediment over the course of Tallahassee's history.  This sediment must be removed for several reasons: a.  improve the water column depth to buffer storm flows and weather conditions b.  remove nutrients recycling in the water column reducing available oxygen for aquatic life

31 Winchester c.  remove the seedbed for many invasive and exotic plants d.  expose surface materials for fish nurseries 3.  Question:  Why did it take so long for things to be done on the lake?       Answer:    Unfortunately, the high nutrient levels and the organic content of the sediments make it technically challenging to remove them from the lake bed and find a suitable disposal location to contain them. 

32 Winchester 4.  Question:   Does the location of the lake affect how the clean up is being handled?  Answer:      The lake's location does affect its condition, given that Lake Munson has received the runoff from development since the 1800's.  (Runoff to Munson flows from as far away as north of Tharpe Street.)  Ironically, Lake Munson was a summer retreat in that era. 

33 Winchester A second consideration is that the Apalachicola National Forest lies west of the lake, limiting the private ownership (which tends to spur restoration and protection efforts.)   5.  Question:     Anything else you can add for my report?   Answer:      Lake Munson is small but receives very high storm flows.  This greatly hinders the ability to work within the lake bottom. 

34 Winchester We are also looking at the impacts of the storm water discharged to the Floridian Aquifer at Ames Sink, the receiving sinkhole south of Oak Ridge Road.  The researchers studying Wakulla Springs have linked Ames Sink to the Springs, raising the stakes on resolving this long-standing community issue.   Thank you for your interest in local environmental issues.

35 Winchester If you need more information on this issue, please give Ms. Theresa Heiker a call at or her at She is the source of most of this information and has taken the lead on restoring the lake as long as she has been with Leon County.

36 Winchester Best of luck in your education.  You seem to have a good start on it! Sincerely, Dan Build a Future, Be a Mentor  Dan Winchester Leon County Board of County Commissioners 850/

37 Conclusion Lake Munson is a very important issue in politics. Most officials believe that the restoration and improvement of not only this lake, but all lakes are very important. The Commission is making a considerable attempt to try to improve conditions. In time, we will reach a level where our environmental protection will be at a suitable level.

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