Ecoregions of Florida

Introductory text
Literature cited

Level III and IV Ecoregions of Florida

(NOTE: maps and GIS files may differ. To make sure you are using the most current ecoregion data, download shapefiles of ecoregions)

GIS data (shapefiles, metadata and symbology):

Maps (available in PDF format):

Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. This map depicts revisions of ecoregions, originally compiled at a relatively small scale (Omernik, 1987), as well as subregions of those ecoregions. Compilation of this map, performed at the larger 1:250,000-scale, was part of a collaborative project between the United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Research Laboratory-Corvallis and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection during 1991-1993. Subsequent revisions near the border with Alabama and Georgia were made in 1999 and 2001. However, this map should be considered an interim draft, as further revisions are needed in Florida to make it consistent with more recent state ecoregion projects in adjacent areas and other parts of the U.S. The ecoregions are designed to serve as a spatial framework for environmental resource management: the most immediate needs are for developing regional biological criteria and water quality standards, and for setting management goals for nonpoint-source pollution. Explanation of the methods used to define the ecoregions is given in Omernik, (1995), Gallant et al., (1989), and Griffith et al., (1994).

Literature Cited:

Gallant, A.L., Whittier, T.R., Larsen, D.P., Omernik, J.M., and Hughes, R.M., 1989, Regionalization as a tool for managing environmental resources: Corvallis, Oregon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA/600/3-89/060, 152 p.

Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Rohm, C.W., and Pierson, S.M., 1994, Florida regionalization project: Corvallis, Oregon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, EPA/600/Q-95/002, 83 p.

Omernik, J.M., 1987, Ecoregions of the conterminous United States (map supplement): Annals of the Association of American Geographers, v. 77, no. 1, p. 118-125, scale 1:7,500,000.

Omernik, J.M., 1995, Ecoregions-a spatial framework for environmental management, in Davis, W.S. and Simon, T.P., eds., Biological assessment and criteria-tools for water resource planning and decision making: Boca Raton, Florida, Lewis Publishers, p. 49-62.

Lake Regions of Florida

Introductory text

Lake Regions of Florida--poster front side
GIS data (shapefile and metadata):

Map (available in PDF format):

Report (available in PDF format):

Lake Regions of Florida--poster back side

Florida's lakes provide important habitats for plants, birds, fish, and other animals, and comprise a valuable resource for human activities and enjoyment. More than 7,700 lakes are found in Florida, and they occur in a variety of ecological settings. The physical, chemical, and biological diversity of these lakes complicates lake assessment and management. In many states, it has been shown that water resources can be managed more effectively if they are viewed within a regional framework that reflects differences in their quality, quantity, hydrology, and their sensitivity or resilience to ecological disturbances. To develop cost-effective lake management strategies that protect or restore water quality in Florida lakes, regional differences in the capabilities and potentials of lakes must be considered. Hydrologic unit or basin frameworks are often used for water quality assessments and ecosystem management activities, but these units or basins do not correspond to the spatial patterns of characteristics that influence the physical, chemical, or biological nature of Florida lakes.

General patterns of geology and physiography have been used previously to explain regional differences in Florida lake water chemistry (Canfield and Hoyer 1988; Pollman and Canfield 1991), and ecosystem characteristics of Florida lakes have been summarized (Brenner et al. 1990). Building on this work, as well as on a Florida ecoregion framework (Griffith et al. 1994), we have defined these forty-seven lake regions as part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (FL DEP) Lake Bioassessment/Regionalization Initiative. The spatial framework was developed by mapping and analyzing water quality data sets in conjunction with information on soils, physiography, geology, hydrology, vegetation, climate, and land use/land cover, as well as relying on the expert judgment of local limnologists and resource managers. This framework delineates regions within which there is homogeneity in the types and quality of lakes and their association with landscape characteristics, or where there is a particular mosaic of lake types and quality. More detailed descriptions of methods, materials, and lake region characteristics can be found in Griffith et al. (1997). The identifier for each lake region consists of two numbers: the first number (65, 75, or 76) relates to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) ecoregion number (Omernik 1987; US EPA 1997), and the second number refers to the Florida lake regions within an ecoregion. The Florida lake regions and associated maps and graphs of lake chemistry are intended to provide a framework for assessing lake characteristics, calibrating predictive models, guiding lake management, and framing expectations by lake users and lakeshore residents.

PRINCIPAL AUTHORS: Glenn Griffith (US EPA), Daniel Canfield, Jr. (University of Florida), Christine Horsburgh (University of Florida), James Omernik (US EPA), Sandra Azevedo (OAO Corp.)

COLLABORATORS AND CONTRIBUTORS: Mark Hoyer, Eric Schulz, Roger Bachmann, and Sandy Fisher (University of Florida); James Hulbert, Michael Scheinkman, Ellen McCarron, and Russ Frydenborg (FL DEP); Craig Dye (Southwest Florida Water Management District); Alan Woods (Dynamac Corp.); Curtis Watkins (Florida Lake Management Society); citizen volunteers of Florida LAKEWATCH

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