Special taxing districts
 Thank you for your generous...
 Volunteer bulletin board
 Lakewatch needs you
 Florida Lakewatch long-term fish...
 Outstanding Lakewatch voluntee...
 Featured fish: redbreast sunfi...


Florida Lakewatch newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055470/00032
 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: 2008
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: UF00055470:00032


This item has the following downloads:


Table of Contents
    Special taxing districts
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Thank you for your generous donation
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Volunteer bulletin board
        Page 6
    Lakewatch needs you
        Page 7
    Florida Lakewatch long-term fish monitoring program
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Outstanding Lakewatch volunteer
        Page 10
    Featured fish: redbreast sunfish
        Page 11
        Page 12
Full Text



Special Taxing Districts:
A Possible Solution For Helping Lakefront Property Owners Fund Lake Management Expenses

We see it all the time. Some
aspect of lake management is
needed, but it never happens in a
timely manner because there is no
plan in place and no funds
available to implement the plan.
Before you know it, a minor
problem becomes a major problem
with associated major costs to fix
For example, invasive aquatic
plants may be introduced into a
lake and they should be managed
before they get out of control. If
the plants are not controlled, they
can limit use of the lake and
negatively affect property values

if someone decides to sell their
waterfront property. Aquatic plant
management can be costly and it is
often difficult to quickly collect
enough money from lakefront
property owners to deal with the
plants before they become a big
problem. Before you know it what
might have cost hundreds of
dollars to fix now costs thousands
or even tens of thousands of
A possible solution for funding
such lake management expenses
may be the establishment of a
special taxing district. The reason
for establishing this type of special

taxing district is to collect the
necessary funds required for
maintaining, improving, managing,
and administering common
properties in and around a lake or
group of lakes. Usually, these are
lakes where the land surrounding
them is privately owned and with
no public access. Because these
lakes are often considered to be
"private lakes," there are generally
no public funds available for
managing them. Establishing a
special taxing district to insure that
money is available for lake
management activities has proven
to be successful strategy for some
lakes in Florida. A special taxing
district's Board of Trustees is
responsible for setting the priorities
for the special taxing district's
When considering a special
taxing district as a solution, there
are some factors to consider. First,
is whether or not your local city or
county government has the power
to establish such a taxing district?
This can be determined by reading
Continued on page 2.

the city or county charter or state
law. Second, is whether or not
your city or county wants to
establish a special taxing district.
Besides obvious political reasons,
there are staffing and financial
implications for local government,
especially when other critically
needed services may be reduced or
eliminated. Although the special
taxing district bears most of the
burden for operating the district,
local government does share some
of the costs. This could mean
creating a new skilled position or
shifting responsibilities at some
For example, Hillsborough
County has managed to have one-
half of a full-time position
dedicated to its 46 special taxing
districts for the past 20 years
because the ordinances are
standardized, the districts are
limited in scope, and the trustees
do all the day-to-day work. Under
the state-mandated fiscal
constraints, counties and cities
would most likely give a special
taxing district administration a
lower funding priority. Another
factor to consider is the will of the
group to administer their special
taxing district. This is something
that requires a long-term
commitment and a capacity to
administer because a district is
designed to provide for ongoing
maintenance, not just the most
immediate crisis. It also requires
trustees who are willing to attend
monthly meetings. Trustees must
be skilled in taking minutes,
running meetings in a business-like
fashion, dealing with budgets, and
accounting for funds and
expenditures. In an era where time
is precious and people have
multiple commitments to family
and work, for many, community
service is not a high priority.

Following are several points about
the formation, structure, and
operation of a special taxing
district as defined by the
Hillsborough County Board of
County Commissioner's
neighborhood district program.
There are 46 of these districts in
unincorporated Hillsborough

Steps to Establishing A District:

To informally start the process
of creating a special taxing district,
county staff meets with a
neighborhood leadership group to
explain what a special taxing
district is and how it operates. If
the group then decides to proceed
further, it will work with county
staff to define the boundaries of
the proposed taxing district, the
methodology for charging the
assessment, and the maximum
assessment rate. The formal part
of the process begins with a public
meeting for the community in
which the group supporting the
establishment of the district and a
county representative explain the
reason for the district and how a
district operates. The group can
then start circulating a county-
prepared petition.
To proceed to the next step,
some board policies require that a
minimum of 51% of the property
owners in the proposed district
must sign a county-approved
petition form. This petition must
state the maximum amount of the
proposed assessment. After a title
abstractor or attorney verifies that
the names on the petition truly
represent a minimum of 51% of
the property owners, the Board of
County Commissioners can direct
their staff to develop an
ordinance. The Board will also
schedule a public hearing where

the public may comment on the
proposed ordinance. Then the
Board votes at this hearing. The
county pays for advertising the
public hearing but the community
pays for the petition verification.
The county uses a standard
ordinance for establishing the
special taxing district.

Governing the District:

A seven-member board of
trustees governs the special taxing
district. Trustees are voters who
are registered in the district. The
Board of County Commissioners
appoints the first set of trustees,
called "interim trustees", from a list
of nominees submitted by the
group supporting the
establishment of the district.
Subsequent trustees are either
elected through a process run by
the Supervisor of Elections Office
or, if there are not enough
candidates to fill vacant positions,
the Board of Trustees may appoint
replacements. The term of a
trustee is four years. Annually,
trustees are required to file
financial disclosure forms with the
state showing their major sources
of income but are not asked to
disclose amounts. There are five
officers, elected by the Board of
Trustees, who serve for two years.
The Board of Trustees
supervises and administers all real
and personal property owned or
leased to or from the special taxing
district. It negotiates the purchase
of real and personal property on
behalf of the district and also
determines and fixes the amount
to be collected as an annual special
assessment within the district. The
Board of Trustees prepares the tax
roll for transmittal to the tax
collector so the assessments may
be put on the annual tax bill.

The Board of Trustees can
enter into contracts and can incur
obligations on behalf of the
district. It may borrow funds
secured by assessment revenues
and may employ and pay
necessary costs associated with
security officers. The Board of
Trustees does not have police
powers and cannot enforce or
assist in the enforcement of deed
restrictions. As well as complying
with its establishing ordinance,
the Board of Trustees must
comply with Florida's Government
in the Sunshine Laws, open
record laws, and all other state
laws pertaining to units of local

Budgets and Financial

Each special taxing district
controls its own budget and
governs its own financial affairs as
long as it conforms to state laws,
county ordinances, and generally
accepted principals of
governmental budgeting and
accounting. The Management and
Budget Department provides
technical assistance to insure that
each district prepares its budget
properly. The Board of County
Commissioners approves each
district's budget after staff
reviews it for consistency with
various standards.
Each special taxing district has
its own bank account from which
disbursements are made and to
which district monies are
deposited. The Tax Collector's
Office deposits assessment
revenues into the district's
account electronically after
deducting 4% in fees for itself
and the Property Appraiser and
applying the appropriate discounts
for early payments. None of the

special taxing district funds flow
through the Hillsborough
County budget or financial
system. Each district is
required to submit an audited
financial statement to the
County annually. Taxpayers
are protected with public
official bonds for those
trustees with check signing

Imposing the Assessment:

Each special taxing district has
the ability to levy a non-ad
valorem or special assessment on
properties located within the
district's boundaries. This
assessment is a government
imposed fee and is not based on
the value of the property. The
ordinance establishing a district
defines the categories of
properties on which the
assessment will be levied and
defines the maximum amount of
the assessment.
The annual tax bill is the
preferred collection method
because this method assures a
100% collection rate. This method
also utilizes the services of the
Tax Collector's Office to enforce
the assessment. Chapter
197.3632 of the Florida Statutes
defines the process the special
taxing district must follow in order
to put the special assessment on
the tax bill. The district's Board of
Trustees is responsible for the
process of putting the assessment
on the annual tax bill and the
district bears the cost of this
process. This process requires two
public hearings. One hearing
takes place before January 1st of
the year during which the
assessment will be levied for the
first time and the second hearing
takes place in the subsequent

summer. The first hearing
requires four weekly
advertisements and the second
one requires the district to send
first class notices to property
owners and also advertise a public

Protecting the Taxpayer:

Two significant protections to
taxpayers are the annual audited
financial statement and the public
official bond. The annual audited
financial statement insures a
review of all financial transactions
and an accurate representation of
the special taxing district's
financial position. The public
official bond protects the district
for up to $5,000 against the
financial implications of the
actions of the three parties with
check signing powers: the
president, vice-president, and the

The annual tax
bill is the
collection method
because this
method assures a
100% collection
rate. This method
also utilizes the
services of the
Tax Collector's
Office to enforce
the assessment.

Thank You For Your

We thank the following people for donating to Florida LAKEWATCH, the LAKEWATCH
building fund and Fishing For Success.

$1000 or more

Aquarius Systems (D&D Products
Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration
Bear Lake Preservation Association,
Corner Drugstore of Gainesville, Inc

Allstate Resource Management, Inc
Central Florida Extension and
Research Advisory Committee

Advanced Auto Repair & A/C, Inc

Alfred C. Warrington, V
All Steel Structures of North Florida
Applied Technology & Management,
BCI Engineers and Scientists
Brentwood School

Brian and Danielle Sevier
Campus USA Credit Union
Carter & Drylie, P.A
Castellani Insurance Group, Inc.
Charles A. Dalba
Chester and Foy Winsor
Christopher and Eleanor Conner
D. B. Petty, DVM
David and Judy Williams
David Hermelbracht
David O' Brien/ Surv Tech Solutions

Don Davis/ Teresa Vickers (Capital
City Bank)
Elyse Gile
Faith Presbyterian Church

Edward O. Bernard
Eric and Kelly Schulz

Free Family Foundation Corp
John Gardner Aquatic Systems, Inc

Johns' Lake Improvement Assoc.


Irvin B. Green and Associates, Inc
Little Lake Harris Shores Civic Association


Gainesville Harley-Davidson and Buell,
George and Leslie Jennings, Jr.
Harry Oldford
James and Nancy Dunn

James and Rebecca Cato
Jeff Boston, President State Plastering
Co. Inc
Jim and Barbara Powell
Joel E and Polly Smith
John and Phyllis Nelson
John R. O'Malley
John Taylor
Joseph and Betty Miller
Joseph and Betty Miller
Joseph and Marilyn Heyck
Judith A. Ludlow
Lake Broward Assoc., Inc
Lake Gertrude Property Owners' Assoc.,
Lake Gertrude Property Owners' Assoc.,
Law office of Laurie D. Mitchell, P.A

Lake Mystic Neighborhood Association
Okaloosa-Walton College

Rosegger Aquatic Services, LLC

Tallavana Homeowners'Assoc.

Too Far Inc

Louis and Cynthia Mantini

Lynn and Samuel J. Dowe,r III
Mark and Dorothy Armstrong
Marshall Bloom

Melissa and Stuart Fox
Miller & Brasington, P.L.

Oak Hall School
Oliverne M. Mattson
Pierce and Laura Jones
Richard and Justine Fry
Richard Gray
Robert and Teresa Fagerburg
Robert and Terry Ern
Robin and Michael Creamer
Roger & Marilyn Bachmann
Wanda C. Garfield
Water and Air Research, Inc.

William and Cheryl Stephens

William and Lisa Anne Seaman, Jr

Generous Donation!

Your gift will help secure the legacy by giving LAKEWATCH and its youth education
program Fishing For Success a permanent building of its own!

Less than $100

A. W. and Dorothy Morley
Alan Bachvott
Albert Dan Duerr
Amanda Cole
Amy and Joe Richard
Anna Maria Melton
Audrey S. Reed
Barney and Marsha Sapp
Betty and Merton Bayle
Charles and Glenys Radloff
Charles and Mary Cichra
Charles and Susan Irelan
Clell and Toni Ford
Cynthia Bloomcamp and Thomas
Dana Bigham
Darin and Chrishna Johnson
David and Amy Watson
David and Patricia Sage
David M. Drenan, D. V. M.
Dean and Barbara Martin
Dennis Talbott
Douglas and Faith Hoogs
Douglas and Merrillee Jipson
Eleanor Cummings Foerste
Elroy and Michelle Garcia
Forest Lakes of Cocoa
Condominium Association, Inc.
Frederick Carl Matthaei, III
Gary S. Simpson
George A. Sarosi and Mary A.
George and Mary Bruss
George Braun
Gerald and Ulla Benny

Hal G. Labatt
Heidi J. Egan
Hussein K. Mourtada
Jack Horan
James and Leona Thompson
James and Margaret Decker
Jay D. and Claudia Marshall
Jeanne and Delma Dinkins
Jeffrey E Hill
Jennifer and Robert Lester
Jennifer Shelamer
Jerome Miller
Jerry and Therese Denman
John and Ruth Buntemeyer

John Giambrese
Joseph and Margaret Branham
Joseph G. Wood
Julia Terrell
Karen and Nick Burdash
Karl and Barbara Furman
Karl and Irene Starzinger
Kathleen Carlton Ruppert
L. Melissa Earnest
Laura Wharton
Law Offices of Henry Cawthon
Louise Poundstone

Marie Willis
Merle and Jean Hibbard
Michael Gamble

Michael R. and Maryann Neill
N. E Mills

Nadine D. Foley
Nancy Reancy
Norma Adamczyk
Patricia Hall
Patricia Tierney
Plants By Margo
Pratap Pullammanappallil
Ralph L. Swank, II
Randy Gulledge
Richard and Ann Dominica
Richard and Jo Ann Gwinn
Richard and Margaret Thayer
Rita and Daniel Ughy
Robert and Michelle Frierson

Robert Baker
Robert Mattheu Crossman
Roddi Hoefert & Marita Guilderson
Ronald White
Roy Yanong
Sally B. Peck
Sandy Fisher
Sarah Critcher
Sherolyn Spencer
Sidney and Cynthia Grow
Steven and Rebecca George
Terence and Betty Owen

Thomas and Kristy Harwood
Thomas Luche
Thomas Potts

Todd and Christine Toriscelli
William and Lois Rosenthal

This list contains donors through January 28"', 2008. The LAKEWATCH building fund continues to accept donations.
Your help today will serve generations to come. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, make your
check payable to:
University of Florida Foundation, Inc. -SHARE
Memo or For: Florida LAKEWATCH Building
lail to : Florida LAKEWATCH
Attn: Christy Horsburgh
7922 NW 71" Street
Gainesville, FL 32611-0170

No longer able to sample?
If you are unable to collect samples on your lake and would like to resign, please give us a call and let us
know. We appreciate all of the hard work that you have done and understand that time does not always
allow us to get everything done that we would like. We also ask that you return the sampling equipment to
your water collection center or mail to our office as soon as possible. Be sure to label the equipment kit
with your name, lake name and county so we can credit you with its return. The equipment used to
sample your lake is essential for our program and costs about $400 dollars per kit. It is important that we
re-use this equipment to keep our expenses down. If you have already returned your equipment, thank
you very much, but give us a call and let us know so we can update our records.

Water levels low?
If you are unable to sample due to low water levels and have not contacted us to let us know please
consider giving us a call. We have a toll free number (1-800-525-3928) and it will just take one minute of
your time. This will update our records and help us separate which volunteers can no longer sample due to
low water from those who can no longer sample due to other reasons such as health, time, or etc.

Regional Meeting Schedule for 2008
Here is a list of the 2008 Regional Meetings planned so far. In case of unforeseen circumstances the dates
are subject to change. Look for more details in your invitation a few weeks in advance.

Polk County
Leon County
Osceola County
Lake County
Okaloosa/Walton County
Orange County
Seminole County
Pasco County
Bay County
Putnam County

March 13
March 26
April 24
May 3
May 17
June 26
July 10
July 16
July 26
August 22

Marion County
Volusia County
Hillsborough County
Alachua County
Highlands County
Clay County
Brevard/Miami-Dade County
Duval County
Citrus County
Flagler County

August 29
September 10
October 6
October 20
November 2
November 6
December 6
December 12

Citrus County
There is a change in the collection centerfor Inverness:
The collection center at TOOFAR has been
moved to the East Citrus Community Center.
The new contact information is:
East Citrus Community Center
9907 East Gulf to Lake Hwy.
Inverness, FL 34450
Contact: Mary or Sal
Hours: M-F 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

Keep those samples flowing!

Please be sure to deliver any 2007 frozen water and
chlorophyll samples to your collection center as soon as
possible. This will enable us to prepare the annual data
reports on schedule.

We also take this opportunity to thank you for your hard
work and dedication!


The Florida LAKEWATCH Crew



Lake County

Orange County

Orange County

Akron Lucy
Arlene Middle Bear
Arthur Mill Stream Swamp
Black Mirror
Cook Nellie
CR Big Nettie
CR Small Norris
Crescent 2 North Twin
David Owen
Desire Pearl
Dixie East Pine Island
Dixie West Placida
Dolls Saunders
Eagle Shady Nook
Eldorado Silver
Evert Silver Paisley
Glona South Twin
Grassy Spencer
Haines Sunset
Heron Sunshine
Idlewild Swatara
Jack's Tavares
Lady Umatilla
Linda Unity
Little Mary Woodward
Little Nellie Zephyr
Loch Leven

Adair Lawne
Angelina Lawsona
Apopka Little Down
11 iLittle Pheasant
Baln Wtt /auseon Bay
'" '4Sorna Doone
Big Love
Big S d Bay rne East
L *esst

NoL i
e South
aep uh MM

CFyst J


Estelle East
La Grange

Rose Hill
San Susan
William Davis

Florida LAKEWATCH Long-term Fish Monitoring Program

Since the beginning of Florida
LAKEWATCH in 1986 over 1000
lakes from more then 50 counties
have been sampled as part of this
successful program. Currently
over 800 citizen volunteers
sample approximately 600 lakes
from Pensacola to Key West. This
large effort focuses mainly on
water chemistry sampling;
however, LAKEWATCH is
interested in understanding and
monitoring all aspects of the lake
One major interest of the
public, LAKEWATCH volunteers,
and biologists alike is the
condition of fish populations in
lakes around Florida. Since 1999,
Florida LAKEWATCH has
monitored fish populations in
many lakes around the state. To
help get more information on fish
communities and long-term trends
in fish populations, Florida
LAKEWATCH began a cooperative
study with the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FFWCC), collecting fish data on
32 water bodies throughout
Florida. In 2006 this cooperative
sampling effort was expanded to
cover 52 lakes statewide. These
lakes were selected to include a
wide range of lake trophic states
and aquatic plant abundances, as
these are two major factors
influencing fish populations in
lakes. The goals of this project

il@ ~l

Florida LAKEWATCH personnel Daniel Willis places
tank from Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando.

are threefold: 1) to identify and
examine long-term changes in fish
communities from a range of lakes
in relation to water chemistry,
lake trophic status, aquatic plant
abundances, and lake morphology
(the shape and structure of a lake
basin), 2) educate the public in
the trends and dynamics of fish
populations in Florida, and 3)
facilitate the interaction and
cooperation among Florida
citizens, the Department of
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
(Florida LAKEWATCH), and the
Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission.


stunned fish into a holding

Water chemistry samples are
collected monthly or quarterly on
the lakes in this long-term
monitoring project by volunteers,
personnel. These samples are
analyzed at the LAKEWATCH
Water Laboratory at the University
of Florida.
Plant surveys are conducted
by LAKEWATCH personnel and are
done on all 52 lakes every other
year (26 lakes per year) during
the summer months (May -
August). These surveys consist of
5 to 30 sample sites depending on
lake size, spaced evenly around

LAKEWATCH personnel Jason Bennett conducting a plant survey on a lake in Orange County.

the lake. Plant species
composition, percent area
coverage, and biomass (weight)
measurements are taken from
each site. A Lowrance high
definition sonar system is used
to map the bottom and measure
amounts of submerged
vegetation throughout the open
water portions of the lake.
Fish community sampling is
done on all 52 lakes each year.
LAKEWATCH personnel sample

twenty-two of these lakes with the
rest sampled by FFWCC. Fish
communities are sampled using
electrofishing. This method uses
a specially equipped boat, which
delivers a strong electrical current
into the water. This stuns the fish
causing them to rise to the
surface where they are collected
and held in a tank on board the
boat. All fish are identified,
measured, and returned to the

lake. The effects of the electrical
current only last a few minutes
and nearly 100% of the fish swim
away with little or no problems.
Data collected are analyzed to
identify changes in fish
populations/communities over the
years sampled. The 2006-2007
LAKEWATCH long term fish report
is on the Florida LAKEWATCH
website at

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Outstanding LAKEWATCH Volunteer

Samuel J. Dower, II grew up
Minnesota and attended the
University of Minnesota befc
joining the Army Air corps d
World War II. In 1944 Sam
married Jean Laugen and togi
they began a family of three
daughters and a son. The fan
moved to Miami, Florida in 1
where Sam worked in constrn
for 30 years. After retiring, tl
family purchased a home on ]
Lizzie in Osceola County in 1

Lake Lizzie is located in St. (
on the Alligator chain of lake
Osceola County. The lake is
923-acre mesotrophic
lake. Mesoptrophic
lakes have moderate
amounts of biological
productivity. Lake
Lizzie is in the
Osceola Slope region.
This region is
composed of lagoonal
deposits with a top
layer of medium to
fine sands and silts.
Lakes in the region
are generally acidic,
low nutrient, colored
According to Sam's
family, he fell in love
with Lake Lizzie and
the Alligator Chain of
Lakes. His passion led
him to action,
volunteering his time
and energy to help
protect the waterways
of Osceola County.
Sam joined the
Alligator Chain of

Lakes Homeowners
Association which is now the
Alligator Lakes Chain Heritage
Association (ALCHA). In
1990, Sam was instrumental in
getting the ALCHA actively
involved in the Florida
LAKEWATCH Program by
serving as a volunteer sampler
on Lake Lizzie over the next
several years. After passing the
sampling responsibilities to
new volunteers, Sam
participated in a pilot bacterial
sampling project conducted by
the University of

. ..... ....

am Dower speaking at one of his many environmental events.


program on the chain of lakes
during the mid 1990's.

Sam's passion for conservation
extended well beyond lake
sampling. He routinely
attended county commission
meetings where rules and
regulations were being set
regarding developments near
wetlands and lakes. He voiced
community opposition to rules
that favored increased
development in these areas.
Sam also wrote many letters to
the Orlando Sentinel as a way
to get other residents involved
in this decision-making
processes. He
strongly believed
in public input to
help manage and
protect Osceola

SSam passed away
in 2007 at the age
of 86 and his wife
Jean passed away
this February.
They will be
greatly missed by
their family and all
who knew them.
We are proud to
Sam' s dedication
to conservation
"" and his
22. efforts on behalf of
Lake Lizzie and

Faue Fish: R ba Sun f ki miE A I i 4 I ull F-1 I IuUitu

The redbreast sunfish is
found throughout central and
north Florida and is the
dominant sunfish in some
streams and rivers including
the Ocklawaha, Ochlockonee,
Suwannee, and Santa Fe
Rivers. It has been introduced
into the Blackwater and Yellow
Rivers in the panhandle and
can be found in some lakes
including the Harris Chain,
Starke, and Ivanhoe in central
Florida. The native range of
the redbreast sunfish is from
the Atlantic and Gulf slopes
from New Brunswick Canada to
central Florida and west to the
Apalachicola and
Choctawhatchee river
drainages. The species has
also been widely introduced in
the western and central United
Redbreast sunfish can
grow to 11 inches in length
and attain a weight of up to
two pounds. As the name
suggests, redbreasts are some
of the most colorful fish in the
sunfish family. Males are dark
olive to dusky on the upper
sides and yellow, orange or red
on the belly. The females are
less colorful with their bellies
yellow to pale red. In both
sexes the opercular flap or
"ear" is very long, no wider
than the eye, black without a
light border, and can reach a
length of one inch or more.
Redbreast sunfish typically
inhabit sand-bottomed areas of
coastal plain streams and rivers
and are occasionally found in
lakes. They frequently are
found near boulders, limestone
outcroppings, woody debris,
submersed aquatic

vegetation, or the root systems
of shoreline trees and shrubs.
Redbreast sunfish have one of
the most diverse diets of any
of the sunfishes. They will feed
on bottom dwelling organisms
including insect larvae, snails,
clams, shrimp, and crayfish.
Small fish and even terrestrial
insects that fall into the water
are also prey items.
Redbreast sunfish spawn
from May through August
when water temperatures
range from 680 to 820
Fahrenheit. The males
construct circular depressions
or "beds" in the sand in waters
from one to three feet deep
and usually adjacent to woody
debris such as snags or
stumps. They frequently
occupy "beds" abandoned by
other sunfishes. The males
guard the eggs after spawning
and protect the larvae for a
short period after hatching.
Females can lay 1,000 to
10,000 eggs during a season

depending on their age, size
and health.
In a study of 60 Florida
lakes sampled between June
1986 and June 1990, redbreast
sunfish were found in only 8%
of the lakes. This is not
surprising because redbreasts
are typically stream and river
fish. In lakes where they were
collected, the surface areas
ranged from 24 to 5580 acres
while the average depths
ranged from 6 to 15 feet. The
percentage of the lake covered
in submersed aquatic plants
ranged from 1% to 27%. The
water in these lakes ranged
from slightly clear (Secchi disc
visibility = 5.2 ft, chlorophyll =
18 pg/L) to very low visibility
(Secchi disc visibility = 1.3 ft,
chlorophyll =173 pg/L).
Despite their small size,
red breast are a prized game
fish and are caught on both

(Continued on page 12)

A redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) showing brightly colored breast and long
opercular flap.



Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
7922 NW 71st Street
Gainesville, FL 32653

FCornid a

This newsletter is generated by the Florida
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Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
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Featured Fish: Redbreast Sunfish (Continued from page 11)

A redbreast sunfish swimming in the v

natural bait and artificial lures.
Unlike most sunfish, redbreast
will bite well at night on flies,
small spinners, worms,
crickets, grasshoppers and
small minnows. The flesh is a


sweet, flakey white meat that
is commonly fried after dipping
in seasoned cornmeal or
pancake batter and is excellent