Monday, August 5

Is My Back Yard Pond a Lake?

Jacksonville pond not lake
I read somewhere that there are more lakes in Florida than in Minnesota (Land of 10,000 named Lakes) or Wisconsin (15,000) COMBINED. 30,000 lakes! All the water, if nothing else, reminds me of Wisconsin. When we moved to Kansas for a year, it was very different that way. I think I counted five lakes in the state, with two of them man-made. But it also got me to wondering if some of the 30,000 lakes in Florida are also man-made or even subdivision-made. Basically, what makes a lake, and is that a pond or a lake in your back yard?

Since Florida does not seem to have a strict set of criteria for determining what is a lake, I'll use some widely available online descriptions that might help determine if you've got a pond or a lake in your yard, and I'll use the 1.3-acre pond/lake behind my house as the exemplar. As a side note, if you use the Measure Distance tool on Google maps to make a polygon, it will give you a square foot measurement that can be converted into acres.
A lake is an area of open, relatively deep water.
My pond is open, and it's probably like the new ones going in along Kernan, so maybe 15-20 feet deep in the middle. Between 3 and 4 million gallons of water, I'd guess. That sounds like a lot, but part of being a lake is that my pond needs to be:
large enough to produce a wave-swept "washed" shoreline, which can prevent vegetation from growing along the shore.
I don't think my pond really does that, though there are waves because it's kind of long and narrow, like a little river pond. And there's a pump of some sort that keeps things moving, which might be cheating.

Lakes have layers of temperatures, while ponds are more consistent. I am going to assume that my pond doesn't get down to 50 degrees at 20 feet deep. But I do think there's probably a mucky, oily mess.
If the water is deep enough that light does not penetrate to the bottom, and photosynthesis is limited to the top layer, the body of water is considered a lake.
I think I can see plants that seem to be rooted out a ways. But not right in the middle. Some lakes have plants near the shore, too, so this one is kind of inconclusive.
Even in cold climates, most lakes are large enough so that they don't freeze solid, unlike ponds.
Since I'm in Jacksonville, my pond-lake isn't going to freeze solid. If it was in Minnesota, probably. But not with that pump going all day, I suppose.
If the lake is large enough, it can affect the surrounding climate, whereas ponds are usually affected by the surrounding climate.
I can say this for sure: on a hot Florida afternoon, there's no relief for me by standing next to my pond and waiting for some wind.

In the end, it's a pond. The fish, ducks, and turtles don't seem to care one way or the other. Still, even if it is just a pond, maybe we should name it. Golden, Walden (actually a lake). Maybe we'll call it Wisconsin Pond. It does make me wonder about the 3 acre pond lake at Faithbridge Church a couple blocks away. Lake Narcissus near The Dunes is 11.5 acres as a reference. And there are some even larger bodies of water in the area without names, so I still don't know.

Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
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Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
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Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
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