Summary:

Mean Nitrogen and Chlorophylla concentrations in Lower Lemon Bay hovered very close to regulatory threshold limits, while the mean Phosphorus concentration continued to be very low.

Lower Lemon Bay is not assigned water quality scores because no target values for nutrients have been established.

Note: Beginning in 2018, additional water quality indicators are being displayed on Bay Conditions pages.

Lower Lemon Bay

Lower Lemon Bay

Water Chemistry Ratings

Total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a levels are monitored carefully by water resource managers and used by regulatory authorities to determine whether a bay meets the water quality standards mandated by the Clean Water Act. The trend graphs for these indicators are shown below, along with their target and threshold values. A target value is a desirable goal to be attained, while a threshold is an undesirable level which is to be avoided. An individual indicator receives an "Excellent" rating if its mean value is below the target, a "Good" rating if its mean value is above the target but does not exceed the threshold, and a "Caution" rating if the mean value exceeds the threshold. Learn More about these ratings and how they are calculated »

The Five-year Rolling Average Graphs below illustrate the general trend of water quality parameters. They show a six-month running average, which moderates high and low values in the data.

Chart Legend
  • Trend Line
  • Annual Mean
  • Target
  • Threshold
Unavailable

Chlorophyll a

Units: mg/l Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 0.011 0.062
Mean 0.006 0.007 0.00605556
Low 0.001 0.001
No. of Samples 24 467

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean
Unavailable

Nitrogen, Total

Units: mg/l Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 0.854 2.660
Mean 0.503 0.514 0.36995208 0.0000000000
Low 0.356 0.021
No. of Samples 12 471

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean
Unavailable

Phosphorus, Total

Units: mg/l Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 0.100 1.300
Mean 0.060 0.081 0.14934324 0.0000000000
Low 0.036 0.010
No. of Samples 12 450

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Dissolved Oxygen

Units: mg/l Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 6.80 13.00
Mean 4.74 6.05 1.62461 0.0000000000
Low 1.85 1.30
No. of Samples 10 5970

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Apparent Color

Note: The latest available sample for this parameter is from December 2009
Units: PCU Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 210.00
Mean 17.35 23.71509
Low 1.00
No. of Samples 0 440

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Dissolved oxygen saturation

Units: percent (%) Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 71.90 210.45
Mean 56.50 88.44 22.73474
Low 30.00 22.34
No. of Samples 5 2158

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Nitrogen, Kjeldahl

Units: ug/l Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 850.00 2240.00
Mean 520.00 612.73 355.97994
Low 350.00 21.30
No. of Samples 12 463

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Nitrogen, Nitrite + Nitrate as N

Units: ug/l Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 6.00 269.00
Mean 4.17 27.77 29.52822
Low 4.00 4.00
No. of Samples 12 175

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

pH

Units: None Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 8.72 9.76
Mean 8.11 7.98 0.39806
Low 7.02 3.20
No. of Samples 11 4828

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Salinity

Units: PSS Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 37.00 63.10
Mean 33.11 33.27 3.11054
Low 29.58 3.70
No. of Samples 22 6927

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Specific conductance

Note: The latest available sample for this parameter is from December 2009
Units: umho Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 58890.00
Mean 51949.64 4495.0873
Low 11990.00
No. of Samples 0 1033

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Temperature, water

Units: deg F Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 87.98 99.50
Mean 74.51 77.89 8.92223
Low 59.72 34.16
No. of Samples 11 7045

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Turbidity

Units: NTU Year
2018
Historical
period of record
High 8.80 40.00
Mean 3.52 3.23 2.53405
Low 1.50 0.18
No. of Samples 12 4551

Five-year Rolling Average

  • Annual Mean

Other Measures of Bay Health

In addition to nutrient levels and chlorophyll concentration, dissolved oxygen levels, and water clarity are also objective indicators of bay health. These have complex interactive cycles which are affected by rainfall, temperature, and tidal action, as well as other factors. High nutrient levels (nitrogen and phosphorus) can stimulate excessive growth of marine algae (indicated by chlorophyll a level), resulting in reduced water clarity (and increased light attenuation) and depleted oxygen levels. Both plants and animals in a bay need oxygen to survive, and the seagrasses which provide food and cover for bay creatures need light for photosynthesis.

Bay Contour Maps (2018)

Contour mapping is one of the best ways to visualize spatial differences in coastal water quality. The interactive map shown below presents monthly data for one selected water quality indicator atop an aerial view of the bay. Choose a different water quality parameter from the list at the top to change the map. Learn More about Water Quality Contour Mapping »

Showing 2018 Monthly Contour Maps for: January
Loading interactive contour map viewer...
Contour Visibility:

Visit the Water Quality Contour Mapping Tool to view and compare monthly water quality contour maps for ten different water quality indicators. In addition, you can generate your own custom maps.

Contour Legend:

  • Less than 1 mg/l
  • 1.0 - 5.9 mg/l
  • 6.0 - 10.9 mg/l
  • 11.0 - 17.9 mg/l
  • Greater than 18 mg/l

Seagrasses

Among the most important habitats in Florida's estuarine environments, seagrass beds are indispensable for the role they play in cycling nutrients, supplying food for wildlife, stabilizing sediments, and providing habitat for juvenile and adult finfish and shellfish. Use the interactive map below to observe the size, density and location of seagrass beds from year to year. The graph shows how the total amount of seagrass in the bay has changed over time. Seagrass calculations are aggregates of patchy and continuous seagrass measurements only. Recordings of attached algae are not included in these summaries.
Learn More about Seagrasses »

Showing Seagrass Coverage for :
Loading interactive seagrass coverage viewer...
Loading interactive chart...
  • Target 2,880 acres

Visit our Seagrass page to discover the beauty and importance of seagrass habitats, and sign up to help monitor their health.

Impervious Features

Lower Lemon Bay is located within the Lemon Bay Watershed. View details about the Lemon Bay Watershed »

Rain that falls on land that is in a natural state is absorbed and filtered by soils and vegetation as it makes it way into underground aquifers. However, in developed areas, "impervious surfaces" impede this process and contribute to polluted urban runoff entering surface waters. These surfaces include human infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots that are covered by impenetrable materials such as asphalt, concrete, brick and stone, as well as buildings and other permanent structures. Soils that have been disturbed and compacted by urban development are often impervious as well. Learn more about Impervious Features »

The Sarasota County Stormwater Environmental Utility (SEU) mapped impervious surfaces in the County in 2014. A map showing impervious surfaces can be viewed using the interactive Sarasota NPDES Viewer.

10% of the land area within the Lemon Bay Watershed is covered by impervious surfaces

Impervious Surface Coverage by Type

Land Use / Land Cover

Land use within a bay's watershed has a major effect on its water quality. In general, less development means better water quality. Land Cover/Land Use classifications categorize land in terms of its observed physical surface characteristics (upland or wetland, e.g.), and also reflect the types of activity that are taking place on it (agriculture, urban/built-up, utilities, etc.). Florida uses as its standard a set of statewide classifications which were developed by the Florida Department of Transportation. Learn More about Land Use and Land Cover »

Lower Lemon Bay is located within the Lemon Bay Watershed. The chart below shows the land use / land cover characteristics for Lemon Bay Watershed within the boundary of this Water Atlas. View details about the Lemon Bay Watershed »

Acreage and Percentage within each Land Use / Land Cover Category for Lemon Bay Watershed
Land Use Classification 1990 1995 1999 2005 2011 2014 Trend
Urban & Built-up 11,33133.6% 11,68834.7% 12,75437.9% 12,87238.2% 13,58940.4% 13,58940.4%
Agriculture 2,5157.5% 2,1976.5% 2,2846.8% 2,3256.9% 2,2556.7% 2,2556.7%
Rangeland 2,2096.6% 5,08215.1% 4,48613.3% 4,47913.3% 4,11512.2% 4,11512.2%
Upland Forests 9,36027.8% 6,44719.1% 5,87217.4% 5,63716.7% 5,10915.2% 5,10915.2%
Water 3,1049.2% 3,89711.6% 3,62210.8% 3,43710.2% 3,50110.4% 3,50110.4%
Wetlands 4,68913.9% 3,88811.5% 4,17812.4% 4,26512.7% 4,37513% 4,37513%
Barren Land 290.1% 00% 100% 00% 00% 00%
Transportation and Utilities 4431.3% 4701.4% 4651.4% 6551.9% 7262.2% 7262.2%
Land Use Chart

Data Sources

The data sources listed below provided water quality data used to create the report on this page. Not all data sources provided data for every bay, and not every Bay Conditions Report used data from all listed data sources. While some data sources have no data for the scored year, they provided period-of-record (historical high, mean, low) data. Click on a data source name to review its metadata.