Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative

​​Newnans Lake is a state designated impaired water body in Gainesville that contributes flow to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Orange Lake, the Ocklawaha River, ​the St. Johns River and the Floridan aquifer, the source of our drinking water. Fishing, hunting and boating with two County boat ramps and a handful of public access recreational areas managed by various state and local entities provide multiple benefits to the County’s citizens.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll a levels exceed acceptable criteria as set forth by the state. The Orange Creek Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) calls for a 74% reduction in nitrogen (a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, of 1.29 mg/L Total Nitrogen) and a 59% reduction in phosphorus (a TMDL of 0.06 mg/L Total Phosphorus).

The Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative is a systematic approach for identifying the most cost effective methods for reducing increasing nutrient pollution to these water bodies. The main focus of the initiative is to reduce current nutrient inputs to prevent further pollution. The Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative will identify the most cost effective restoration projects and lays the foundation for taking advantage of future funding opportunities and grants to improve water quality in this region. The County is using state-awarded funds of $456,000 to enact this project. So far, the project includes reducing phosphorus loading from the exposed Hawthorn Group formations (that contain naturally occurring phosphorus) in Little Hatchet Creek through stormwater flow reduction, streambank restoration and erosion control, and advanced phosphorus removal technologies.

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Take a virtual tour of Little Hatchet Creek! If the embedded video above does not work, click HERE to view it on YouTube.  

This page will be used to publish information and updates on the initiative. The tabs below contain more information about Newnans Lake. For more information, please contact Water Resources staff at (352) 264-6800.

Newnans Lake during the drought of 2012
Newnans Lake during the drought of 2012. Photo by John Moran.
Watershed Facts
Watershed Facts
  • Newnans Lake depth averages 5 feet, with a maximum of 12 feet.
  • In 2000, the largest archaeological canoe find placed this lake on the National Register of Historic Places, under its Seminole name, Lake Pithlachoco, “place of long boats.” Radio carbon analysis of the oldest canoes dates them as old as 5,000 years old. You can see the canoes with the “Dugout Canoes: Paddling through the Americas” exhibit, currently a traveling exhibit and available for rental. View a YouTube video featuring the discovery of the dugout canoes.
  • Much of the Newnans Lake watershed lies on the Hawthorn Group, a naturally rich source of phosphorus that could be contributing high amounts of phosphorus to the lake.

Orange Creek Basin Management Action Plan Area


Reports and Presentations
Reports and Presentations


Other Resources