If you want to be hands-on, collecting water samples, this is the group for you. They are part of University of Florida & have collected lake data from more than 1,100 lakes since 1986. They also monitor rivers, springs & estuaries. LAKEWATCH trained 1,800 citizen-scientists.
Their website contains scientific brochures & videos on every topic you can imagine regarding lakes. You can look up data from lakes in your county.