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Ecological Considerations of Reclaimed Lakes in Central Florida’s Phosphate Region. Volume 1.



Excavated areas created by surface strip mining for phosphatic rock and subsequently reclaimed as lakes have been the subject of controversy since the promulgation of Chapter 16C-16 Mine Reclamation Rules (FAC) by the Florida Department of Natural Resources. Primary concerns of this issue have been: (1) whether or not these lakes function in the same manner as natural or unmined lakes; (2) whether or not the radiation environment associated with the phosphatic rock was injurious to wildlife or humans; and (3) whether or not there was a lake design which could ensure high water quality and high fish and wildlife value. Without sufficient baseline data on the physical, chemical, and biological environment, conclusions concerning these reclaimed phosphate pit lakes were subject to conjecture.

In October 1981, the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research sponsored a research program, “Ecological Considerations of Reclaimed Lakes in Central Florida’s Phosphate Region” which is documented in this report. This program included 12 reclaimed and 4 natural lakes. Data on each lake’s physical, chemical, and biological conditions were collected during a one-year sampling program. This report represents the most substantial source of baseline information on reclaimed lakes collected to date. This database was used to develop both descriptive information as well as for statistical analyses to determine potential lake design features which would enhance water quality and/or fish and wildlife habitat.