By: Paul Crowell
Keystone has been blessed with multiple water bodies including a myriad of lakes and several important watersheds. Our abundance of water bodies provides recreation, aesthetics, and vital aquifer recharge for our drinking water and wells. As a result, Keystone Civic Association and its members network and coordinate with multiple environmental agencies such as Tampa Bay Water, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Hillsborough County Public Utilities and University of Florida IFAS Lake Watch. With our many waterfront properties, rural nature and dependence on wells, it is critical that our aquifer and water resources are healthy and environmentally secure for the future.
Recently Hillsborough County Public Utilities, in conjunction with USF, has initiated an aquatic system assessment that includes lake vegetation assessment, bathymetric mapping, vegetation index, submerged aquatic vegetation (percent area covered and percent volume inhabited), as well as water quality sampling for various water bodies throughout Hillsborough County. Recently on one such lake (Lake Pretty) Hillsborough County conducted the first water quality sampling event that includes acquiring the physical water quality parameters (Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Conductivity, Temperature, and Salinity) as well as laboratory analysis of the water samples for Nutrients and Bacteria. The County will return to the lakes for an additional two sampling events. USF will access the lake on two separate events (1) habitat assessment & (2) water quality sampling. Once all the information has been collected, a single assessment report will be generated discussing the results of the aquatic systems assessment and will be posted on the Hillsborough County Water Atlas. https://www.hillsborough.wateratlas.usf.edu/
Thanks to Ryan Riordan and Tony Green, environmental specialists from Hillsborough County Public Utilities, for their dedication in preserving our valuable resources and our rural heritage.