The lakes are a valuable natural resource in the Lakeland community. There are a total of 38 named lakes within City limits as well as numerous smaller lakes. Sizes among the 38 named lakes range from 2.5 acres (Lake Blanton) to 2,272 acres (Lake Parker) of which 17 are natural and 21 are man-made.
The City of Lakeland's Lakes and Stormwater Division and Polk County Natural Resources actively monitor water quality on 15 of the major lake systems for physical, chemical, bacteriological and/or biological parameters. Water samples from the lakes are routinely collected and analyzed in a laboratory. Scientists at the City and the County frequently review lab results to monitor for any changes in water quality.
Water levels are also monitored at 14 lakes. The levels are managed and kept within a specified range set forth by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. These levels are maintained to help protect lake ecology and alleviate flooding potential.
Aquatic plants in the lakes provide an important role in water quality. The plants also provide essential habitat and are a food source for diverse wildlife such as swans, turtles, otters, birds, alligators, ducks, and fish. The management of aquatic plants is a cooperative effort between the City of Lakeland and Polk County Natural Resources under the authority of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A brief overview of each lake, along with monitoring data and other lake information, can be found at the Polk County Water Atlas.