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.


 Content Editor


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
  • December 2018 (agency stakeholder meeting) Environmental Consulting & Technology Presentation 2018 Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative Stakeholder Presentation.     


  • September 2018 Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative Report,Phase 2: Environmental Consulting & Technology. 

  • December 2017 Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative Report, Phase 1: Environmental Consulting & Technology, and Appendix G of the report as a separate PDF file. 
  • Sediment Phosphorus Stability in Little Hatchet Creek
    DB Environmental explores the various forms and amounts of phosphorus along Little Hatchet Creek as part of the Newnans Lake Initiative Project. Released 2017. 
  • August 2017 (agency stakeholder meeting) Environmental Consulting & Technology presentation on Newnans Lake Improvement Initiative: Phase I Project Recommendation
  • May 2017 (agency stakeholder meeting) Environmental Consulting & Technology presentation on Little Hatchet Creek Restoration & Gum Root Swamp Investigation
  • February 2017 (agency stakeholder meeting) Environmental Consulting & Technology presentation on Little Hatchet Creek Streambank Restoration and Erosion Reduction
  • November 2016 (agency stakeholder meeting) Environmental Consulting & Technology presentation on Little Hatchet Creek Streambank Restoration and Erosion Reduction
  • Projects to Reduce Nutrient Loading to Newnans Lake from Little Hatchet Creek and Gum Root Swamp
    A 2015 report prepared by Dr. Lippincott explores several avenues for reducing nitrogen and phosphorus loading to Newnans Lake. Three specific projects are discussed: eliminate the wastewater nutrient load of a nearby subdivision, reduce phosphorus load from Little Hatchet Creek, and reduce phosphorus load from Gum Root Swamp.
  • Assessment of Dredging Sediment from Newnans Lake to Improve Water Quality
    Dr. Lippincott's 2015 assessment of the pros and cons of dredging Newnans Lake, including discussions of feasability, cost effectiveness, and alternatives to dredging. 
  • 2014 Phase II Orange Creek Basin BMAP
    This 2014 document describes the management priorities for the second phase of the Orange Creek Basin Management Action Plan. For this second BMAP iteration, new strategies are proposed for continuing water quality improvements in impaired waters of the Orange Creek basin, to help in achieving the nutrient and fecal coliform TMDLs. The second phase of the BMAP focuses on identification of nutrient sources that cause impairment to the basin's lakes (Newnans Lake, Lochloosa Lake, Orange Lake, and Lake Wauberg). 
  • Orange Creek Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP)
    The 2007 BMAP addresses waterbodies in the Orange Creek basin with water quality impairments and focuses on sources and reduction of nutrients in lakes and fecal coliform bacteria in streams verified as impaired, and for which total maximum daily loads were established. 
  • Final Nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Newnans Lake 2003
    The Final Newnans Lake TMDL document (2003), which Florida Department of Environmental Protection adopted by rule, establishing the maximum amount of specific pollutants that a waterbody can assimilate while maintaining water quality standards for designated uses.
Other Resources