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 charts 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
  • Six-month Moving Average
  • Annual Mean
  • Target
  • Threshold
Unavailable

Chlorophyll a

Units: mg/l Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 0.010 0.062
Mean 0.004 0.007 0.00589908
Low 0.002 0.001
No. of Samples 26 503
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean
Unavailable

Nitrogen, Total

Units: mg/l Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 0.624 2.660
Mean 0.391 0.511 0.36550881 0.0000000000
Low 0.254 0.021
No. of Samples 13 489
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean
Unavailable

Phosphorus, Total

Units: mg/l Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 0.064 1.300
Mean 0.044 0.079 0.14707201 0.0000000000
Low 0.032 0.010
No. of Samples 13 468
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Dissolved Oxygen

Units: mg/l Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 8.30 13.00
Mean 5.01 6.05 1.62489 0.0000000000
Low 3.00 1.30
No. of Samples 13 5987
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Apparent Color

Note: The latest available sample for this parameter is from December 2009
Units: PCU Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 210.00
Mean 18.38 24.33032
Low 1.00
No. of Samples 0 408
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Dissolved oxygen saturation

Units: percent (%) Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 107.70 210.45
Mean 75.14 88.34 22.72503
Low 55.80 22.34
No. of Samples 13 2172
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Nitrogen, Kjeldahl

Units: ug/l Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 620.00 2240.00
Mean 401.54 605.98 351.73832
Low 250.00 21.30
No. of Samples 13 481
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Nitrogen, Nitrite + Nitrate as N

Units: ug/l Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 4.00 269.00
Mean 4.00 25.55 28.95145
Low 4.00 4.00
No. of Samples 13 193
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

pH

Units: None Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 8.11 9.76
Mean 7.86 7.98 0.39777
Low 7.05 3.20
No. of Samples 13 4846
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Rainfall

Units: inches/yr Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 58.9 68.9
Mean 42.0 20.8539441575953
Low 4.0
No. of Samples 362 6015
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Salinity

Units: PSS Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 36.79 63.10
Mean 33.99 33.28 3.10682
Low 27.82 3.70
No. of Samples 26 6963
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Specific conductance

Note: The latest available sample for this parameter is from December 2009
Units: umho Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 58890.00
Mean 51949.64 4495.0873
Low 11990.00
No. of Samples 0 1033
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Temperature, water

Units: deg F Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 89.24 99.50
Mean 80.20 77.89 8.91773
Low 68.18 34.16
No. of Samples 12 7062
  • Six-month
    Moving Average
  • Annual
    Mean

Turbidity

Units: NTU Year
2019
Historical
period of record
High 5.20 40.00
Mean 2.59 3.23 2.53058
Low 1.10 0.18
No. of Samples 13 4569
  • Six-month
    Moving 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 (2019)

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 2019 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 2005 2011 2014 2017 Trend
Urban & Built-up 11,33133.6% 12,87238.2% 13,58940.4% 13,58940.4% 14,05041.7%
Agriculture 2,5157.5% 2,3256.9% 2,2556.7% 2,2556.7% 2,0756.2%
Rangeland 2,2096.6% 4,47913.3% 4,11512.2% 4,11512.2% 3,66210.9%
Upland Forests 9,36027.8% 5,63716.7% 5,10915.2% 5,10915.2% 5,23115.5%
Water 3,1049.2% 3,43710.2% 3,50110.4% 3,50110.4% 3,58610.6%
Wetlands 4,68913.9% 4,26512.7% 4,37513% 4,37513% 4,35512.9%
Barren Land 290.1% 00% 00% 00% 00%
Transportation and Utilities 4431.3% 6551.9% 7262.2% 7262.2% 7232.1%
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.