Cherry Lake

About Cherry LakeA map of Cherry Lake

Cherry Lake is located in the northern part of Madison County, within 1.5 miles of the Florida-Georgia border. County Road 253 runs along the perimeter of the lake and intersects with State Road 53 to the west of the lake. The lake is approximately 479 acres in surface area, with a median water surface elevation of 151.16 feet (ft) above the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88). The lake has a max depth of approximately 14 ft.  

Drainage of Cherry Lake was altered from historical conditions by a man-made canal dug in the 1940s for the purpose of powering a grist mill. Anecdotal reports suggest that over time the bottom of the ditch may have been scoured deeper by the passage of water. Beavers have periodically constructed dams in the canal, which affect lake levels.  

The lake watershed covers approximately 964.6 acres. Most of the land use in the watershed is waters (50.4% - primarily the lake itself), followed by urban and built-up (23.8%) and upland forests (17.2%). Agricultural and range land comprise 4.2% of the watershed; while wetlands comprise a total of 4.1%. The lake is designated as impaired for nutrients due to an imbalance in flora under the Impaired Waters Rule (Chapter 62-303, F.A.C.).

Lake Minimum Flows & Levels

The District's Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs) program is a means to ensure water availability for the present and future, and to prevent "significant harm" to the area's natural resources. The Florida Legislature has directed the five water management districts to establish MFLs for streams, springs, rivers, lakes and other priority water bodies. As defined by statute (Section 373.042 Florida Statutes), "the minimum flow for a given watercourse shall be the limit at which further withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the water resources or ecology of the area."

The District has an accelerated schedule to establish MFLs for its priority water bodies. The District's MFL Program is a science-based process, which the District Governing Board uses to establish MFLs. Before rule adoption by the Governing Board, the science supporting the MFLs will undergo a peer review process initiated by the District. 

The District voluntarily submits to independent scientific peer review for all MFLs established. This practice ensures that the highest degree of scientific certainty is provided prior to adopting an MFL by rule. 

Supporting Technical Data & Reports

The hydrologic regime and water resources values for Cherry Lake are under evaluation. The technical documents have been posted and are available for review at the links below. Due to the impacts of Hurricane Idalia, the District has extended public comment on MFL methods and analyses presented in the technical documents until October 31, 2023. Please email all comments to

Cherry Lake Modeling Report Final Draft

Cherry Lake MFL Report Final Draft

Get More Information

Contact the MFL program at 386.362.1001, or with questions.