Happy 20th birthday Florida...
 Featured bird: boat-railed...
 Aquatic plants
 Volunteer bulletin board
 Featured fish: dollar sunfish
 Aquatic plants (cont.)
 Lake Griffin fish stocking


Florida Lakewatch newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055470/00027
 Material Information
Title: Florida Lakewatch newsletter
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida LAKEWATCH
Publisher: Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida (UF)
Place of Publication: Gainesville FL
Creation Date: 2006
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subjects / Keywords: Lakes -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
General Note: Description based on v. 9 (spring 1997); title from caption.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: v. 33 (2006).
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 65383070
lccn - 2006229159
System ID: UF00055470:00027


This item has the following downloads:

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Table of Contents
    Happy 20th birthday Florida Lakewatch
        Page 1
    Featured bird: boat-railed grackle
        Page 2
    Aquatic plants
        Page 3
    Volunteer bulletin board
        Page 4
    Featured fish: dollar sunfish
        Page 5
    Aquatic plants (cont.)
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Lake Griffin fish stocking
        Page 8
Full Text


Happy 20th Birthday Florida LAKEWATCH I

On August 16, 1986 the first Florida
LAKEWATCH samples were collected
from Lake Santa Fe in Alachua County
and Lake Broward in Putnam County.
After these first samples LAKEWATCH
grew rapidly because the people of
Florida have a great love and concern
for the water resources in the state.
However, Figure 1 shows that the
number of samples that LAKEWATCH
can process has stabilized at about 4,500
per year. While LAKEWATCH is the
countries largest and most successful
volunteer monitoring programs it still
can only process samples from
approximately 600 of the 7,700 lakes in
Florida and approximately 150 coastal
locations. Yet, calls for assistance come
to LAKEWATCH everyday from
throughout Florida.

To meet the demands, LAKEWATCH
plans to expand the number of lakes and
near-shore coastal areas it can process.
Current funding and facilities limit
expansion. With this in mind, Dr. Daniel
E, Canfield, Jr., the staff of Florida
LAKEWATCH, and a number of
LAKEWATCH volunteers are
attempting to expand the program and
make it more stable to make sure
LAKEWATCH can help the citizens of
Florida long into the future. The first
step in this process is to build

"A Home for Florida

To do this, LAKEWATCH is seeking
help from all who benefit from the
program. So please read the letter in this
newsletter written by Dr. Canfield to the
LAKEWATCH volunteers and help as
you can.

Number of LAKEWATCH TP Samples






1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 91011121314151617181920
Year of Program

Figure 1. Annual number of total phosphorus samples processed by Florida

A Home for Florida
July 12, 2006


August 2006 is Florida LAKEWATCH's
20th anniversary! The first water samples
were collected by LAKEWATCHERS at
Lake Santa Fe (Alachua County) and
Lake Broward (Putnam County). Since
1986, LAKEWATCHERS have sampled
more than 1000 lakes and numerous near-
shore coastal waters in 50 counties. The
Florida Legislature in 1991 officially
established Florida LAKEWATCH within
the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic
Sciences at UF/IFAS (Chapter 91-69; s.
240.5329, F.S.; now F.S. 1004.49).
LAKEWATCH Florida's largest and the

nation's premier citizen volunteer
monitoring program. But, we now must look
to the future. This is especially true as
population growth in Florida put ever-
increasing pressure on our water resources!

It is my hope that you believe in Florida
LAKEWATCH as much as I do. Florida
LAKEWATCH has always had and will
continue to have in its mission working with
the volunteers first! LAKEWATCHERS
have through the sampling of their lakes
provided themselves an "insurance policy"
so if a change or changes were to occur at
the lake it would be documented. The
LAKEWATCH team has developed a
database that is used by many groups and is
a tremendous asset to international, national,
state, regional and local water resource
Continued on Page 2

managers and researchers, lake
homeowners associations, educational
institutions, consultants, and the general
public. Together, we have solved
problems at individual water bodies, we
have addressed not only water quality
issues, but also aquatic plant management
problems and fisheries problems and we
have developed lake management plans
for lakes. The LAKEWATCH team has
also influenced public policy. Now, I
believe that the present LAKEWATCH
team needs to take a bold step to help
insure that Florida LAKEWATCH will be
there for future Floridians.

Florida LAKEWATCH needs a better
"home" that can improve program
services now and in the future. Florida
LAKEWATCH staff members and
facilities are currently scattered amongst
multiple buildings and sites. The present
facilities cannot be expanded to meet
growing demands. Florida
LAKEWATCH needs a permanent
"home" where it can improve program
services now and in the future. New
facilities will increase communication,
create efficiencies and enhance the ability
of staff members to deliver services to the
citizens of Florida. Plans have been
developed for a 10,000 square foot
complex on the UF/IFAS Millhopper site
that will greatly expand current
opportunities for research and delivery of
services and permit much needed future
expansions over the next 20 years. The
new facilities will include a
bacteriological laboratory, a toxic algal
laboratory, a fish tissue laboratory and a
general fisheries laboratory, all of which
will provide state of the art resources
needed to continue critical water quality
analyses. The facilities will provide office
and laboratory space needed to attract
internationally recognized eminent
scholars to assist with addressing the
issues raised by the LAKEWATCH team.
A pavilion will permit Florida
LAKEWATCH to continue its award-
winning youth education program,
Fi, i1 -. I., Success. Training youth to be
future LAKEWATCHERS is a critical part
of our mission. And lastly, the
construction of a large conference room
will finally provide a site where
LAKEWATCHERS can meet to provide
their insights and experiences on specific
issues to each other and directly

communicate their concerns to assembled

The vision for a new "LAKEWATCH
HOME" is an exciting prospect. On July 9th,
I met with leaders from various statewide
LAKEWATCH groups. This group of
dedicated volunteers agreed to help raise
$1,000,000. This money will be matched
dollar for dollar by the Florida Legislature
resulting in a total building fund of
$2,000,000. This money will not only build a
facility for future LAKEWATCH activities,
but it will also show the State that Florida's
citizens are willing to do what it takes to be
good stewards of the water resources of

So, I am writing to ask for your help.
Construction costs are significant, but our goal
is very reachable if we all work together.
LAKEWATCHERS can contribute
individually and/or each LAKEWATCHER
can reach out to their lake neighbors and
others in their community that benefit from
healthy water resources. Each of you probably
knows other individuals or groups in your
communities that might contribute. I hope you
will contact them, or work with our Director
of Development Josh McCoy at 352-392-
1975 to determine the best course of action.
Often it is not what you know, but whom you
know! With networking, creativity and hard
work, we can make this happen.

Florida LAKEWATCH is housed within the
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
at the University of Florida. All contributions
to Florida LAKEWATCH are tax deductible
and should be made payable to the University
of Florida Foundation, Inc. Please include a
note or a memo on the check indicating that
you would like this gift designated to the
Florida LAKEWATCH building fund. Josh
is also able available to discuss non-cash gifts
as well.

Please mail any donations to:

IFAS/SHARE Development Office
1001 McCarty Hall D
PO Box 110170
Gainesville, FL 32611-0170
Attention: Josh McCoy

For the 20 years that Florida LAKEWATCH
has been in existence, the LAKEWATCH
group has worked hard to gather the funds
needed to keep the program alive. I have never

asked volunteers for more then their time
to take water samples. However, funds
are becoming ever more difficult to
obtain and now I need your help! I look
forward to working with you on this great
endeavor. With your help, Florida
LAKEWATCH will successfully obtain
a needed stability that will serve current
and future LAKEWATCHERS for many
years to come!


Daniel Canfield, Jr.,
Professor of Limnology
Founder and Director of Florida

Featured Bird

Boat-tailed Grackle
(Quiscalus major)

The Boat-tailed Grackle is a member of
the Blackbird Family (Icteridae) and it
is frequently observed near Florida
water bodies. They are common
residents along the Atlantic and Gulf
coastal areas from New Jersey south and
west to Louisiana and Texas and are also
found inland in peninsular Florida. They
favor freshwater and saltwater marshes
but can also be found on mud flats,
beaches, farmlands, roadsides, city
streets, plazas, stockyards, garbage
dumps, and MacDonald's parking lots.

Male and female Boat-tailed Grackles
differ in color and size. The noisy males
are hard to miss when they are perched
on power lines and telephone poles.
Their voice is a loud, sharp, harsh jeeb-

Continued on Page 5

Aquatic plants are diverse and include flowering vascular plants, mosses, ferns,
and macroalgae. Every water body contains aquatic plants. The plants may be
so small that they are not easily visible to the naked eye (algae) or may be
larger and easily seen by the naked eye (macrophytes). The area in a water
body from the shoreline outwards toward the open water where rooted aquatic
plants occur is called the littoral zone. There are four major groups of aquatic
plants that can be found in the littoral zone. These four plant groups are known
as emergent, floating-leaved, submersed, and free-floating plants.

Emergent plants are usually perennials that are typically rooted with their bases
submersed below the water and their leaf portions emerging above the water's
surface. Some common emergent plants include maidencane, torpedograss,
bulrush, and cattails.

Floating-leaved plants are rooted in the bottom with their leaves floating on
the water surface. Waterlilies and spatterdock are representative species of the
floating-leaved plants. The plant's leaves are attached to roots or rhizomes by
a tough, flexible petiole that is the part of the leaf that attaches the leaf blade to
the rhizome or stem tissue.

Submersed aquatic plants usually are found growing completely underwater.
Submersed plants include muskgrass, stoneworts, pondweeds, tape-grass, and

Free-floating aquatic plants are those that float on or just under the water's
surface. These plants are not usually rooted to the bottom except during times
of drought when most of the water has dried up. Free-floating plants include
small ones such as duckweed and mosquito fern to larger varieties such as
water hyacinth and water lettuce.

Biology of Aquatic Plants

Many factors determine the distribution of aquatic plants in a water body. Some
of these factors are light availability, nutrient concentrations (total phosphorus
and total nitrogen), bottom substrate characteristics, size and shape of the water
body. While these environmental characteristics determine plant distribution
and abundance, the plants themselves can influence many environmental and
biological interactions. The following paragraph will deal with a few interactions
to help understand the role these plants play in a water body and therefore help
in the decision making process for aquatic plant management.

Aquatic plant beds can increase water clarity by reducing water turbulence
and allowing suspended particles to settle out. Aquatic plants also can reduce
wave action therefore protecting the shoreline from erosion. However, these
mechanisms do increase the accumulation of sediments.

When planning aquatic plant control the relationship between aquatic plants
and water clarity must be discussed. If water clarity decreases from an aquatic
plant removal project, people may decide the plant problem was not as bad as
the reduced water clarity. This usually will not occur in a water body with less
than 30% of the surface area covered. However, if the water body had 50% or

Continued on Page 6


1 Pontederia cordata
2 Nuphar Luteum
3 Hydrilla verticillata

We have a new water collection center in Pasco County. It is located in the Land-O-Lakes Community Center.
813-929-1229 on Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm to let them know when you will be coming and they will
show you where the freezer and supplies are located. There is the possibility for evening water sample drop-
offs. Contact Cindy or Mandy for a current evening schedule (subject to change).

The address is:
Land-O-Lakes Community Center

From the intersection of Highway 54 and Highway 41,
go north on Highway 41 for about 3 miles and the
Land-O-Lakes Community Center will be on your left.

Operating Hours:
Contact Person:

Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm
Cindy or Mandy

We Miss You Julie!!


I am writing to you to say good-bye. I have taken a
new position in the panhandle of Florida. I am working
with a group similar to LAKEWATCH but on a local
level. I have been with LAKEWATCH for the last 13
years-first as a graduate student and then ultimately
as a Regional Coordinator. I wish each of you the best!
Keep up the sampling-you are creating a legacy for
your children, grandchildren and the State!

Julie Terrell

And We Welcome Sky Notestein!!


As a lifelong naturalist and resident of Florida, I am
excited about joining the LAKEWATCH team. I have
found the enthusiasm of LAKEWATCHERS contagious
and look forward to being your partner in the management
of our shared natural resources. My environmental
interests are broad; I hold degrees from the University of
Florida, having earned a BS in Wildlife Ecology and
Conservation (1997) and a MS from the Department of
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2001). For the past six
years I have worked in the spring's coast region of the state
where I was able to gain knowledge in both marine and
fresh water ecosystems. Particular interests to me are the
ecology of the plants and wildlife inhabiting aquatic
systems. I'm looking forward to meeting the diverse
network of citizens and water bodies that comprise
LAKEWATCH. Feel free to contact me at:
skvnote@ufl. edu.

Best regards,
Sky Notestein

Youth Education
Students in the Dunnellon Middle School's Promoting
Awesome Watershed Stewardship (PAWS) program have
been acknowledged for their commitment in taking an active
role in monitoring water quality sampling sites along the
Rainbow River. The PAWS program was selected as the
youth/youth group recipient among the 2006 National Award
Winners in Take Pride In America, a nationwide partnership
inspiring Americans to volunteer in caring for their public
resources. Take Pride In America is an initiative of the U.S.
Department of the Interior that rewards exceptional volunteer
service by individuals and groups with awards and
appreciation certificates.

Congratulations to the students, teachers, assistants, and
community partners for fostering a program that encourages
young people to participate in environmental stewardship.
Great job! Students in the PAWS program under the guidance
of co-teachers Sande Haynes and Joe Acaba joined the
Florida LAKEWATCH program in 2002 and have maintained
sampling through successive school years with new students
and teaching assistants.

Florida LAKEWATCH is currently working with similar
school programs in the state. We are committed to our
cooperative partnerships as they entail considerable time and
commitment from all involved in our education efforts
throughout the state. Again, our LAKEWATCH caps are off
to a group of young volunteers in the Dunnellon Middle
School PAWS program for being acknowledged nationally for
their voluntarism and stewardship.

jeeb-jeeb-jeeb while their song is a variable series of
sharp notes and harsh guttural trills. Male Boat-tailed
Grackles are glossy purple black with a bluish
iridescence on the body and a greenish iridescence on
the wings and tail. Males are usually larger than
females, averaging from 16"-17" in length, and are
much noisier. Females are less conspicuous and might
even be mistaken as being a different species of bird
when compared to males. Females are cinnamon brown
Switch very little iridescence and average from 12"-13"
S in length.

SMt ales and females both have long tails and long
Si ...._ narrow black beaks. The eye color of the Boat-tailed
rev e tGrackle varies from region to region. Along the
S.Atlantic coast north of Florida they have straw-colored
eyes while Florida birds have dark eyes. Grackles west
of Florida to eastern Louisiana have light eyes, but those located further west have dark eyes.

These birds are omnivorous and are known to eat crabs, insects, shellfish, plant roots, seeds, lizards, frogs, grain, and turtles.
They have been observed feeding from the ground, chasing insects in the air, and feeding in the water. Sometimes they follow
farm machinery and capture insects flushed from the plowing and mowing activities. Boat-tailed Grackles are also known to
consume food scavenged from humans picnicking or eating outdoors.

This species tends to nest in large colonies in the same locations from year to year. Boat-tailed Grackles may be unique among
North American songbirds because the sexes remain separate and apart for most of the year, coming together only during nesting
season. They have an odd mating system known as "harem defense polygyny." Females cluster their nests in close proximity
while the males compete to defend the entire colony and to mate. Many males may be attracted to the breeding colonies but only
a few high-ranked dominant males get to breed with the females in a breeding system that is similar to that used by many deer.
But this is not the whole story by a long shot! Although the dominant male may get up to 87% of the copulations in a colony,
DNA analysis has shown that he may actually be the father of only about 25% of the young in a colony. DNA testing has
revealed that the majority of young Boat-tailed Grackles are fathered by non-colony males in areas away from the colonies!

The Boat-tailed Grackle lays 2-5 pale blue eggs marked with brown spots and scrawls in a cup formed from vegetation and mud
that hangs from 2'-10' high in marsh grasses, cattails, saw grass and wetland shrubs and is positioned to be safe from predators.
The female incubates the eggs for about 13 days until the babies hatch. It has been reported that fledglings that fall into the
water can swim well for short distances and use their wings as paddles! Possible predators include alligators, snakes, and birds
of prey. Rats have even been known to eat the eggs and nestlings. There have been cases reported of many Boat-tailed Grackles
that are known to have died from pesticide poisoning.

They have been observed in an unusual behavior known as wanting" This is where a bird disturbs an ant mound with its feet or
belly and then allows ants to crawl up its body and spray their defense chemicals. These chemicals are believed to kill or repel
parasites residing in the bird's feathers. When'"anting," the Boat-tailed Grackles may look like they are shivering because the
ants are climbing on their skin. Sometimes they will even pick up an ant and rub it on their feathers to achieve the same result.

Featured Fish
Dollar sunfish
(Lepomis marginatus)

The dollar sunfish is a small sunfish that is somewhat common in
Florida. It is native to the southeastern United States being found
from East Texas and Southeast Oklahoma across to the Atlantic
and down through Florida.

Dollar sunfish are five inches or less in length and have a
compressed body. The earflap is black with green spots, is angled
Continued on Page 7 P". rOe.

greater of is surface area covered and the plants are removed it
is highly probable that the water clarity will decrease.

Dissolved oxygen levels may vary over a 24-hour period in a
water body that has dense stands of submersed aquatic plants
or high concentrations of algae. During the day oxygen is
produced by the plants however, the plants and other
organisms use up the oxygen at night. Thus, oxygen depletion
is possible in water bodies with large amounts of aquatic
plants or algae and can contribute to fish kills. Low dissolved
oxygen concentrations have a greater chance of occurring
during several days of cloudy weather.

The frequency of low dissolved oxygen and other interactions
between fish and aquatic plants are variable. The relationships
vary because of differences in the aquatic ecosystems, plant
abundance, fish species composition and geographic area. For
example, there are some fish species like the bluespotted
sunfish and warmouth whose abundances usually increase as
plants increase in the water body. Some species such as the
gizzard shad decrease in numbers as the amount of plants
increase in a water body while the numbers of other species,
including the largemouth bass, may not change at all.

The presence of aquatic plants can increase the structural
complexity of lake ecosystems, providing refuge for prey
species and interfering with the feeding behaviors of predator
species. The behavior of small or juvenile fish is strongly
influenced by their exposure to predators. For example, if
small fish are safe from predators they can forage more
effectively without fear of being eaten. The visual and
physical barriers of the plant stems and leaves decrease the
foraging efficiency of predators and as a result, they may grow
more slowly in habitats with more plant structure.

These are only a few of the important relationships that exist
between aquatic plants and fish populations. However, these
relationships give little insight into how aquatic macrophytes
affect fishing. Some anglers enjoy fishing in aquatic plant
beds and some do not, but most anglers agree that too many
plants can impede fishing and boating activities.

Interactions between aquatic plants and other forms of
wildlife, such as aquatic birds, are also highly variable. These
interactions vary because of differences in aquatic systems,
plant forms, species composition, and geographic area. Some
bird species increase in abundance, like the ring-necked duck,
while others species like the double-crested cormorant
decrease in abundance as aquatic plant abundance increases in
a water body.

When are Aquatic Plants a Problem?

If aquatic plants interfere with a particular use of a lake then
they may be considered a problem. Because lakes cannot be
all things to all people, the aquatic macrophyte abundance
within a given lake may be a positive or negative factor
depending on one's intended use of that lake. Thus, defining

the primary use of the lake is the first step when determining
if there is an aquatic plant problem.

Aquatic Plant Management

What are some of the problems that aquatic plants can cause
in your lake?

Aquatic plants can:
1. Fill in canals and lake bottoms with decomposing organic
matter and can increase organic sedimentation.
2. Physically block lake access and boat movement on a lake
with both living or dead plant materials. These blockages can
also restrict water movement, causing either flooding or low
water depending on which side of the blockage one is
3. Cause navigation problems that range from minor to
severe for swimmers, water skiers, and other recreational
water users.
4. Provide a refuge for mosquitoes linked to diseases such as
equine encephalitis and West Nile virus. Aquatic plants may
also harbor organisms required for the cycle of parasites that
can cause swimmer's itch.
5. Contribute to severe oxygen depletion killing many
organisms that live in a water body, including fish.

If you think you have an aquatic plant problem, first
determine what federal, state, or local agencies are
responsible for aquatic plant management in that water body.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)
Bureau of Aquatic Plant Management should be contacted to
determine what assistance is available and what an individual
can legally do to control aquatic plants on their water body.
Problems affecting the use of public-access lakes will
normally be the responsibility of public agencies. Decisions
concerning perceived whole-lake problems on private lakes
should be addressed through a lake homeowner's association
after recommendations from public agencies.

Aquatic Plant Control

Methods that may be considered for aquatic plant
management include physical removal, habitat alterations,
biological controls, and herbicides. Each method has pros
and cons concerning effectiveness, cost, and impact on the
lake system as well as lake use.

Physical removal of aquatic plants can range from hand
removal to mechanical harvesting. Generally this removal
method is only effective for a short duration. Physical
removal is expensive because after you remove the plants
you must dispose of them somewhere. Aquatic plants are
heavy and contain approximately 95% water thus requiring
lots of energy to remove the plants. Therefore, the physical
removal technique is better suited for spot treatments in a
water body rather than a whole-lake treatment.

The use of herbicides for controlling aquatic plants can be
very effective but with relatively short-term results (usually

only 1-2 years of control). The use of herbicides in most
water bodies requires a permit from the FDEP Other
factors to consider are that herbicides vary in their
effectiveness for controlling different aquatic plant
species and treatment rates need to be carefully
determined. Application techniques for administering
some aquatic herbicides also require special training. If
herbicides are deemed a viable solution, you may need to
hire someone who is licensed to apply herbicides to control
aquatic plants that are causing problems. Like physical
removal, aquatic plant control strategies using herbicides
can range from spot treatments to whole-lake treatments,
but herbicides are generally the better choice for whole-
lake treatments.

Some biological controls include releasing herbivorous
insects and stocking fish that eat aquatic plants. The most
common biological control for aquatic plant control is the
grass carp. These fish primarily eat succulent submersed
plants such as hydrilla. The State of Florida requires a
permit to stock these fish, which can be obtained from the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FFWCC). When stocked at high densities, the grass carp
can be a very effective and long-term form of biological
aquatic plant control. However, be aware that grass carp
have the potential to eat all the vegetation in your lake,
even desirable species that are not causing problems.
Thus, you should only use grass carp when the complete
control of aquatic vegetation is an acceptable
management objective.

There are several strategies for controlling aquatic plants
and the considerations can be complicated. Before
beginning control, you should formulate an aquatic plant
management plan with the help of aquatic plant
management experts. Contacting the FDEP Bureau of
Aquatic Plant Management would be a good start.

This article is from a chapter of Living at the Lake, A
handbook for Florida Lakefront Property Owners (SP247)
written by Marilyn Bachmann, Mark Hoyer and Daniel E.
Canfield, Jr., in 1999. This book can be purchased from
UF/IFAS bookstore by calling 1-800-226-1764 or online
at: IFASbooks.ufl.edu.

Featured Fish Continued
upward and has a light green margin. Non-breeding fish are olive
on the back with orange and brown flecks and pale yellow to
white on the lower sides and belly. Breeding males are bright red
with blue green spots and have large green specks on the earflap.

Dollar sunfish are found in lakes, swamps, springs, creeks and
small to medium sized rivers. In these habitats they are usually
associated with brush and vegetation and can be found in habitats
with either sand or mud bottoms.

Dollar sunfish feed on a variety of items across their habitat. In
Florida, their main diet consists of aquatic insects while in
Tennessee other food items such as detritus, filamentous algae,
and terrestrial insects were included.

Dollar sunfish spawn from April to September in the St. John's
River but may spawn earlier in southern Florida. An aquarium
hobbyist, Robert Rice, in the article' "The dollar sunfish (Lepomis
marginatus) as an aquarium species ""observed that dollar
sunfish need a chilling period at 60F or lower before they would
spawn. Once the temperature reached 74F they spawned
consistently until the temperature reached 80"F when all spawning

In a study of 60 Florida lakes sampled between June 1986 and
June 1990, dollar sunfish were found in 33% of the lakes sampled.
This suggests that dollar sunfish are relatively common in Florida
however, they were never collected in great abundance in any of
the lakes sampled.

In lakes where they were collected, lake surface area ranged from
22 acres to 13,788 acres and average depth ranged from 2 feet to
19 feet. Some lakes had 100% bottom coverage of submersed
aquatic plants while other lakes were very sparsely covered with
submersed aquatic plants (<1%). Some lakes where dollar sunfish
were collected had very large amounts of planktonic algae with
chlorophyll concentrations > 100 pg/L and Secchi disk visibility <
2 feet. However, other lakes were low in algae and were quite
clear with chlorophyll concentrations < 2 pg/L and Secchi disk
visibility > 16 feet. This study of 60 Florida lakes showed that
dollar sunfish were found in a broad spectrum of lake types and
water chemistries.

While dollar sunfish are not commonly thought of as
sport fish due to their small size, they have potential as an
aquarium species. In the article mentioned earlier, Robert
Rice observed that dollar sunfish in an aquarium would
feed on a variety of food sources including frozen
crawfish, raw oysters, worms, and live insects. He also
noticed that males "establish a hierarchy for everything
from feeding to breeding" while females "float between
territories with little effects." Mr. Rice goes on to suggest
that this species is well suited for the aquarium and that
due to the small mouth size of the dollar sunfish, an
aquarist would be able to keep darters, shiners, and
madtoms in a community tank with dollar sunfish with
few problems.

Lake Griffiin Fish Stocking

If you are looking for a good fishing location then
Lake Griffin in Leesburg, Florida might be your
destination. In the last two years since December of
2004, Florida LAKEWATCH has transferred a total
number of over 9,200 Florida largemouth bass
greater than eight inches in length from non-fished,
private waters into Lake Griffin. This fish transfer
is part of a research/demonstration project to
determine if high numbers of larger-sized Florida
largemouth bass could be successfully collected
from private waters, transported, and stocked into
Lake Griffin to assist in restoring the economic
vitality of Lake Griffin's largemouth bass fishery.

The primary source of fish was from private waters
located on the property of Orlando International
Airport. Access to -i pi p-1ri Twas obtained through
the efforts of Orange County Commissioner Bob
Sindler. With the assistance of John Metcalf, wildlife
manager for the Orlando Airport Authority, the
airport authority provided access to restricted areas
throughout the transfer program. Additional sources
of fish included ponds under control of the
Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the
University of Florida and phosphate pits owned by
Mosaic Phosphate Mines in Polk County, Florida.
Due to concerns expressed by the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC)
regarding possible genetic contamination by
northern strains of the largemouth bass, the fish
populations at each donation site were genetically
tested. Largemouth bass populations from all


This newsletter is generated by the Florida
LAKEWATCH program, within UF/IFAS' Department
of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Support for the
LAKEWATCH program is provided by the Florida
Legislature, grants and donations. For more information
about LAKEWATCH, to inquire about volunteer training
sessions, or to submit materials for inclusion in this
publication, write or call:
PO Box 110600
Gainesville, FL 32611
1-800-LAKEWATCH (800-525-3928)
(352) 392-4817
E-mail: lakewat@ufl.edu
All unsolicited articles, photographs, artwork or other
written material must include contributor's name,
address and phone number. Opinions expressed are
solely those of the individual contributor and do not
necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Florida
LAKEWATCH program. Inclusion does not constitute
endorsement, nor does exclusion represent censure of
any item, organization, individual, or institution by the
University of Florida or the Florida LAKEWATCH

donation sites were confirmed to be Florida
largemouth bass.

The major objective of this research/
demonstration project was to stimulate angler
interest in fishing at Lake Griffin. Over the
past two winters, the total number of
largemouth bass stocked into Lake Griffin
measuring greater than 14 inches was over
2,700. Over 1,000 of these 2,700 fish
exceeded 17 inches in length. Individual fish
weights were estimated from fish lengths and
ranged from 2.1 pounds to 11.3 pounds. The
fish transfer project generated considerable
excitement amongst viewers of the release
events and generated positive news stories in
the printed press and television.

For research purposes, all largemouth bass
stocked into Lake Griffin had their left pelvic
fins clipped as a mark for future identification.
This procedure does not injure the fish and
allows professional biologists to distinguish
stocked largemouth bass from Lake Griffin
largemouth bass. In May 2006, Florida
LAKEWATCH sampled the largemouth bass
population in Lake Griffin using electrofishing
and captured a total of 15 marked largemouth
bass from 7 of 12 sampling transects.
Approximately 10% of the total bass caught
by Florida LAKEWATCH were largemouth
bass transferred and stocked into Lake Griffin.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission also used electrofishing to
sample the largemouth bass in Lake Griffin
and collected 19 marked largemouth bass from

1 .,


13 of 29 sampling transects. About 10% of
the bass caught by the FFWCC were
largemouth bass stocked into Lake Griffin.
This limited fish sampling study
demonstrated that many of the 9,200
largemouth bass released into Lake Griffin
had survived, were found distributed
throughout the lake, and comprised a
significant percentage of the fish surveyed by
professional fisheries personnel.

Another method used to mark largemouth
bass in this study was with orange-
colored fish identification tags that were
printed with the telephone number of
Florida LAKEWATCH. In addition to fin
clipping, these tags were also inserted
into 3,589 largemouth bass stocked into
Lake Griffin during the winter of 2005-
2006. The incidence of tag reporting
provided some indirect information for
a preliminary assessment of potential
economic return. No monetary rewards
were offered to encourage anglers to
report capture of tagged fish. Between
January 1, 2006 and June 19, 2006,
anglers placed 218 phone calls to Florida
LAKEWATCH reporting catches of
tagged fish released into Lake Griffin. It
is important to note that when monetary
rewards are not offered, as few as 10%
of fish caught are typically reported. This
information, as well as reports from local
fish camp owners, demonstrated that
anglers were catching a substantial
number of the stocked largemouth bass.

Another way of looking at potential
economic value of the largemouth bass
transfer project to the local community
is to assess the monetary value of the
transferred fish. The State of Florida has
assigned a replacement dollar value and
recreational replacement dollar value for
different sizes of largemouth bass
(Florida Administrative Code 62-
11.001). For bass released into Lake
Griffin during the winter of 2005-2006,
the replacement value in 2005 dollars
was $86,875 while the recreational
replacement value was $144,325. Adding
in the values for bass released into Lake
Griffin during the winter of 2004-2005,
raises the total replacement value since
2004 to $162,353 and the total
recreational replacement value to

The fish transfer/stocking project into
Lake Griffin has now finished its second
year. Florida LAKEWATCH feels that it
has been successful in providing quality
fish for angler to catch in Lake Griffin
while other remedial actions are taking
place to improve the aquatic environment
so that future quality fish populations
may sustain themselves. We are very
appreciative to the Lake County Water
Authority for the funding for this project.