New program lets college students monitor water quality at Hunters Lake

SPRING HILL, Fla. — A brand new program for Pasco-Hernando State College is giving students a hands-on approach to help monitor water quality in Florida lakes.

Caitlin Gille and her environmental science students from Pasco-Hernando State College are on a mission to help the future of one of Hernando County's biggest lakes. 

"Any outdoor activities that we do here in Florida pretty much center around water so it's important for everybody," said Jason Prystupa, one of the students helping test water quality at Hunters Lake. 

Last year, the county cleared 14 acres of vegetation islands that were floating on top of Hunters Lake. But no one has been testing the lake’s water quality for years, so the college is joining with the 'Lake Watch Project' allowing students to monitor its health.

"I’m glad the students get a chance to have a hands-on learning experience out on the water," said Gille.

The Lake Watch Project relies on citizen volunteers to test water quality throughout Florida. Now several times a year, PHSC students will test water clarity and the amount of fertilizer and sewage runoff that is getting into the lake.

"It's really great to have this data available for researchers so they can make decisions about how to manage water quality," said Gille. 

It's all to keep Hunters Lake clean and beautiful.

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