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Environmental Issues

Click here for selected documents concerning Lake Munson's environmental components. 
Lake Munson was ranked by the State of Florida as the seventh most degraded lake in 1982. It remains substantially degraded since being listed as the ninth water body in priority in the 1988 Northwest Florida Water Management District's Surface Water Improvement and Management Program. Lake Munson historically received flows from the wastewater treatment facilities serving the City of Tallahassee (diverted to spray irrigation in 1984), the Dale Mabry treatment plant (closed), and other package treatment plants. During the early 1940's, a coal gasification plant discharged to the system. Prior to the implementation of water quality standards, the Lake Munson tributaries received discharges from numerous service stations, automobile repair facilities, and an oil recycling facility. These historic uses are believed to be the sources of high levels of petroleum byproducts and nutrients present in the lake sediments. Fish surveys by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission date back to 1954, at which time the lake was considered a good water fowl hunting area and a cracker fishing lake. Even in 1954 many residents avoided fishing the lake due to the wastewater effluent discharges and the occurrence of algal blooms. The decline in the lake led to a 1977 drawdown and supplemental restocking program which failed to produce the desired effect. The survey taken in 1986 indicated an overall 75 percent decrease in fish biomass from the 1976 survey. Numerous flood studies were commissioned by the City of Tallahassee and Leon County, such as the study completed in 1972 which recommended either a 500-foot bottom width ditch for the mile upstream of Lake Munson, or the construction of flood-storage in three upstream wetlands, among other things. The area was also studied as part of the USEPA 208 program. The Lake Munson Basin was modeled as part of the 1991 City of Tallahassee and Leon County Stormwater Management Plan developed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD). Several recommendations included non-structural improvements such as enforcement of floodplain development restrictions; floodplain and wetland acquisition; and development setbacks for the upstream natural system. Structural improvements included the construction of stormwater treatment facilities in each of the tributary systems, with a focus on the overall basin improvement rather than achieving a current water quality standard with any of the facilities. The lake itself was studied by the NWFWMD under the USEPA Clean Lakes Program, culminating in the issuance of the "Diagnostic Feasibility Report for Lake Munson". This report provided substantial background information for this paper. The report issued in August 1992 recommended constructing seven upstream water quality facilities prior to implementing the in-lake restoration efforts. Of these facilities, two are complete, two are in planning, the City of Tallahassee is reevaluating two of the facilities, and the final is part of Leon County's current project. In addition to the technical studies, the Leon County Board of County Commissioners created a Lake Munson Action Team comprising seven technical staff members from various resource agencies and five private citizens concerned with the lake. The Lake Munson Action Plan prepared by the committee recommended implementation of the 1991 NWFWMD Basin Management Plan, increased inspection and maintenance of existing stormwater facilities, in-lake restoration and upstream trash rack construction, and a public awareness and education program. The Plan was presented for public comment and adopted by the Board in November 1994. The public comments were supportive of restoration, but skepticism about the implementation remained high.


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Contact Info:
LC Public Works Dept
2280 Miccosukee Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32308



Project Manager:
Theresa Heiker