Seagrass Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Report No. 1 (2013)

This report describes the status and trends of seagrass communities in estuaries and nearshore waters of Florida.

Seagrass bed with mixed speciesFlorida seagrass beds are extremely valuable marine habitats. Many economically important fish and shellfish species depend on seagrass beds for critical stages of their life history. Seagrasses provide food and shelter for endangered mammals and turtles and also play a role in nutrient cycles, sediment stabilization, coastal biodiversity, and the global carbon cycle.  Seagrasses cover more than 2 million acres of shallow sediments near Florida's coastline and in its estuaries and bays. An additional 2 million acres likely exists offshore in deeper waters in the Big Bend region and off the southwest Florida coast.

During the 20th century, seagrasses experienced significant declines in acreage, as well as changes in species and in the density and size of beds. Recognizing the value of seagrass beds spurred agencies and governments, from local to federal, to restore and protect this resource. This report is the first effort by the Seagrass Integrated Mapping and Monitoring (SIMM) program to provide scientists, resource managers, legislators, and other stakeholders a summary of the status of seagrasses in Florida. The FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute developed the SIMM program to protect and manage seagrasses in Florida by providing a collaborative resource for seagrass mapping, monitoring, and data sharing. Given the budget problems that many agencies are facing, the program directs its efforts at leveraging resources as well as decreasing and sharing costs for seagrass mapping and monitoring.

The editors organized this report to provide information to a wide range of readers. The Executive Summary gives an overview of the monitoring and mapping efforts throughout Florida and a statewide summary of seagrass status. The Introduction presents the history of the SIMM program and the rationale for developing it. Chapters provide information from researchers and managers on each estuary or region of Florida coastal waters. The 24 chapters are in geographical order, beginning in the western Panhandle and ending with the northern Indian River Lagoon on Florida's east coast. Within each chapter, contributors provide a concise overall assessment and color-coded "report cards" of seagrass status, as well as a map of the distribution of seagrass beds in the estuary or subregion, created using the latest available mapping product. Most chapters include additional information from monitoring and management programs.

Note: Some chapters have been updated since the release of version 1.0. These updates are noted next to the individual chapter listing.


Access publication (version 1.0)

View individual portions of the complete report

Authors, Contributors, and SIMM Team Members Adobe PDF

Acknowledgements Adobe PDF

Abstract Adobe PDF

Executive Summary Adobe PDF

Introduction Adobe PDF

Chapter Reports

Perdido Bay Adobe PDF

Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound Adobe PDF

Santa Rosa Sound and Big Lagoon Adobe PDF

Choctawhatchee Bay Adobe PDF

St. Andrew Bay Adobe PDF

St. Joseph Bay Adobe PDF

Franklin County Coastal Waters Adobe PDF (v1.1, updated 02/2015)

Northern Big Bend Adobe PDF

Southern Big Bend Adobe PDF

Suwannee Sound, Cedar Keys and Waccasassa Bay Adobe PDF

Springs Coast Adobe PDF

Western Pinellas County Adobe PDF

Tampa Bay Adobe PDF

Sarasota Bay and Lemon Bay Adobe PDF

Charlotte Harbor Region Adobe PDF

Estero Bay Adobe PDF

Rookery Bay Adobe PDF

Ten Thousand Islands Adobe PDF

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Adobe PDF

Florida Bay Adobe PDF

Biscayne Bay Adobe PDF

Lake Worth Lagoon Adobe PDF

Southern Indian River Adobe PDF (v1.1, updated 09/2014)

Northern Indian River Adobe PDF (v1.1, updated 03/2015)

FWC Facts:
Many species of fish (many groupers, snook, etc.) are hermaphroditic and change sex at some point in their life.

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