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Winter Haven Chain of Lakes

Highlights SWIM Program

  • System of 19 interconnected lakes, made up of two major groups with 5 in the Northern chain and 14 in the Southern chain
  • Lakes were interconnected though the construction of canals to promote recreational access
  • Located in Polk County
  • 32-square-mile watershed


Two main challenges exist in the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes watershed:

  • Nutrient loading from urban runoff
  • Destruction of natural systems

Strategies Map

Through cooperation with other government agencies, these challenges are met by:

  • Developing projects aimed at the reduction of non-point source pollutant loadings through pollutant reduction goals and stormwater management
  • Restoring upland and aquatic habitats while preserving plant and wildlife populations
  • Implementing ecologically and environmentally sound land use practices

Success indicators

Successful project implementation is indicated by:

  • Water quality improvements including a reduction in non-point source loading of phosphorus
  • An increase in native aquatic and upland vegetation and decreases in non-native or undesirable species

Future goals are then developed through an adaptive management process, always striving to help restore Florida’s natural ecosystems.