Lake Munson

Photo of Lake Munson with blue sky, birds and flora

Lake Munson drawdown, April 2023

Lake Munson is an approximately 288-acre, cypress-rimmed lake located south of the City of Tallahassee. The Lake is believed to have originally been a cypress swamp but has since been impounded and now functions as a shallow man-made lake. The Lake receives much of its water from the heavily developed areas, through Munson Slough and its tributaries. Lake outflow continues southward via Munson Slough and finally drains into Ames Sink. Dye trace studies have confirmed a direct connection between Ames Sink and Wakulla Springs. The assessment of data, analysis, and scientific findings is consistently conducted to determine optimal strategies and emerging possibilities aimed at enhancing the water quality of Lake Munson in Leon County. The primary objective is to achieve significant improvements in lake water quality while minimizing adverse effects, and this effort remains ongoing.

Through the mid-1900s, decades of development in the Tallahassee red-clay hills, wastewater treatment facilities discharging to the tributary system, and drainage activities focused on flood reduction contributed to high nutrient loads entering Lake Munson, resulting in severe water quality and ecological problems. In the early 1980s, Lake Munson was ranked one of the most polluted lakes in the State. Since then, efforts to restore this valuable resource, improve the water quality, and reduce the nutrient loading in Lake Munson have been ongoing, including hundreds of millions of dollars of capital investment by Leon County, the City of Tallahassee, and Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency. The water quality in Lake Munson and the ecological health of the Lake have greatly improved since the 1990s and continue to improve and the water in Munson Slough and Lake Munson is cleaner than the water quality required by the State for most standards and has almost met one remaining standard.

Water quality improvements are not always immediately noticeable or profound and sometimes waterbodies experience setbacks as the system stabilizes with the improving conditions. Despite the better water quality, in-lake mitigation, and investments in upstream infrastructure, in recent years, Lake Munson has continued to experience invasive vegetation and snails, low game fish productivity, and depressed oxygen levels.

The County’s goals for Lake Munson include the water quality exceeding the State standards, a healthy ecosystem with native vegetation, a healthy and beneficial fish and wildlife habitat, and fewer algal blooms. While nothing in nature can truly be the same after outside influence, because of the active efforts of the County and other agency partners, the Lake has, and will continue to, recover from its chronic history of poor water quality with high nutrient loads and ecological problems.

Link to Homepage of Leon County Water Resources