Lake Info

Essential Facts about Lake Santa Fe 

On Lake Santa Fe, the “ordinary high water” line, at 141 feet above sea level, has been defined by the state of Florida to be the line that divides private property ownership from sovereign lands belonging to all citizens of the state of Florida. 
Lake Santa Fe is considered to be a “high” lake when compared to other lakes of Florida. Underlying this area of Florida are the sediments of the Hawthorn Group comprised of varying amounts of sands, clays, carbonates (limestone and dolomite), and phosphates. These sediments are typically 100 feet or more in thickness and serve to separate the surficial sands and clays from the Floridan aquifer. 

30Slide318-SantaFeLakeFloridaWater Sources  Rainfall and water discharged from wetlands are considered the primary sources of water in the lake. A secondary source is groundwater seepage from the surficial aquifer (water table). No “boiling” springs have been found in Lake Santa Fe, but scientists believe that many seeps help to keep the lake water level relatively stable. 

Depth and Volume
When measured from the ordinary high water line, big Lake Santa Fe has depths of approximately 30 feet. Little Lake Santa Fe measures approximately 22 feet at its deepest point. The surface area of water on the lake covers 8.05 square miles. 

Color
Many people wonder why the water of Santa Fe Lake is so dark. Tannins from the plant life surrounding the lake flow into the water, giving it a natural “tea” color. This is by no means an indication of the health of our water, but is simply one of the attributes of a cypress-lined water body. In fact, the low PH and low light penetration help prevent the growth of algae in the water. 

Levels
We know that historically lake water levels have fluctuated dramatically. While low water levels are often considered an inconvenience, it is helpful to think in broad terms, as the rise and fall of water is very important to the health of the lake. One example of this is our cypress canopy. Cypress sprout only on land, and must reach a height of approximately eighteen inches in order to survive in water. So every cypress tree you see growing in the water once sprouted on dry land! Low water levels promote the growth of a new generation of trees and shoreline vegetation, which help filter runoff and keep our water healthy.