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Fish and Aquatic Resources

This page contains a list of GIS and Mapping projects that are focused on Fisheries and Water Resources. Project topics include coastal habitat mapping, coral reef monitoring, freshwater stream assessments, and species distribution modeling. Most of these projects are led by staff from FWRI's St. Petersburg office.

map of Florida

The Unified Reef Map provides a seamless view of benthic habitats throughout Florida's Reef Tract from the Dry Tortugas, through the Florida Keys, up the Atlantic Coast to Martin County.

Learn more about the Unified Reef Map Project.

screenshot of coral disease dashboard online application

FWC's GIS Team works with numerous collaborators from other state and federal agencies, universities, and research institutions. Check out some of the coral projects we've been involved with:

Coral Disease Response: Staff from FWRI’s GIS group have been heavily involved with the state’s response to the stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) outbreak in Florida’s Coral Reef.  Our staff have been working with numerous response and rescue partners to provide data management support including GIS mapping, application development, and maintaining a comprehensive coral disease database. To view web maps, GIS data, and interactive dashboards for exploring data collected by our response partners, check out the Coral Disease Hub Site.

Sea bottom temperature (SBT) Modeling: The objective of this study was to illustrate that coral bleaching models could be improved through the addition of sea bottom temperature data. Learn more about temperature monitoring in Florida’s Coral Reef. 

Coral Restoration Predictive Model: FWC research scientists have worked with non-profit, academic, federal, and state partners in south Florida to create a dynamic mapping tool that allows users to prioritize restoration sites for multiple user defined restoration activities. 

Reef Fish Connectivity: We developed a model to assess reef connectivity in the Florida Keys using a graph theory approach and examining the relationship between reef fish trophic guilds and habitat connectivity.

Acropora Location Database: The Acropora Location Database provides an effective and accurate depiction of benthic data related to two endangered coral species, Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis. The geodatabase has been populated with multi-agency data from federal, state, university and non-government organizations. These agencies include NOAA, National Park Service, FWC, University of Miami, Univeristy of North Carolina - Wilmington, National Coral Reef Institute and The Nature Conservancy. The database includes Acropora presence/absence and latitudinal /longitudinal coordinates.

Download Acropora occurrence GIS data.

For more information on acroporid corals, visit FWC's Coral site.

This project was funded by award NA1ONMF4720029 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Our section actively participates in mapping projects of statewide significance and scope by either contracting mapping services, acquiring data ourselves, or by advising third parties on upcoming acoustic and marine LiDAR surveys. Additionally, we often serve as a repository for side-scan, multibeam, and marine LiDAR data primarily for benthic habitat mapping and modeling purposes.

FWRI's GIS and Mapping Group is involved in several acoustic mapping projects including:

  • Planning team member of the Southeast Acoustics Consortium (SEAC) SEAC is an informal group of researchers, government employees, non-profit organizations, academics, and industry partners that meets biannually to identify data gaps, inventory acoustic activities, and encourage collaboration throughout the southeast United States. 
  • Riverine Long-Term Monitoring (LTM) Project Dashboard: CSA staff in Tallahassee are using inexpensive fish finders to collect side scan sonar imagery of Florida’s river bottoms and then interpret the imagery to identify important aquatic species habitat such as bedrock, boulders, and sand. CSA staff then create maps of the habitat features to support fisheries research. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is Florida's lead state agency in addressing the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife.  In 2008, FWC instituted the Climate Change Special Initiative to facilitate research, planning and management necessary to understand and respond to the threat of a changing climate.  

Climate Adaptation Explorer

The Climate Adaptation Explorer provides a starting point from which to address the predicted impacts of climate change on Florida’s fish, wildlife, and ecosystems. It is intended to serve as a resource in understanding potential impacts and to help in the development of adaptation strategies that could be implemented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other natural resource management agencies and groups. The goal is that this “guide” will provide the tools for better integration of adaptation actions and tasks into broader policies and programs, serving as a toolkit to help natural resource managers and others understand and address the current and future impacts of climate change on Florida’s ecosystems.

For more information about the project visit the Florida Conservation Planning Atlas.

The Tampa Bay Living Shoreline Suitability Model project provides recommended shoreline protection to local stakeholder groups through the use of an educational program.

Learn more about the Tampa Bay Living Shoreline Suitability Model Project.

The Florida Coastal Mapping Program (FCMaP) is an initiative between Federal and Florida State agencies and other community stakeholders to facilitate the collection of high-resolution Florida coastal seafloor data, from the shore to the continental shelf. The goal is to have a comprehensive high-resolution seafloor dataset of Florida’s coastal waters by 2028. Learn more about the FWRI's involvement with the FCMaP project.

The SAFMC Digital Dashboard provides an interface to explore the marine and fishery resources of the South Atlantic Bight. Users can easily access a variety of web mapping applications and GIS data compiled for the region.

Go to the SAFMC Digital Dashboard website.

Data is an important part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) Water Quality Protection Program. This website was developed by the GIS and Mapping group in conjunction with the FKNMS to host data from three monitoring projects: Water Quality, Seagrass, and Coral Reef Monitoring.

Go to the FKNMS Water Quality Protection Program website.

Riverine Long-Term Monitoring (LTM): CSA staff in Tallahassee are using inexpensive fish finders to collect side scan sonar imagery of Florida’s river bottoms and then interpret the imagery to identify important aquatic species habitat such as bedrock, boulders, and sand. CSA staff then create maps of the habitat features to support fisheries research. 

Florida Freshwater and Tidal Stream Fish Distribution Mapping: This project employed Geographic Information System (GIS) applications and modeling software to generate maps of the potential habitats for 55 species of freshwater fish known to occur in Florida's panhandle region.

Florida Stream Habitat Classification: This project developed a statewide stream habitat classification GIS data layer that is necessary for identifying existing and potential habitats of aquatic species.

Mapping Threats to Florida Freshwater Habitats: This project assembled statewide data layers representing 10 uncorrelated individual threats to Florida's freshwater habitats and created a composite index of the threat data layers to determine relative condition of freshwater habitats within Florida.

stacked text with the words MBON Marine Biodiversity Observation Network in blue

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) project is being developed in collaboration with the Florida Keys and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries and state agencies to monitor marine biodiversity at scales ranging from microbes to whales. 

Learn more about the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) Project

Screenshot of the Florida Fishing Pier Finder map

The new Florida Fishing Pier Finder is an interactive map tool that allows anglers to find publicly accessible fishing piers, jetties, fishing-specific bridges and fishing fingers around the state. It is a detailed map and is best viewed using computers or tablets with larger screens.

You can view the map and use the filter features to search for a location by county, feature name, city, and type of feature such as a bridge or pier. You can also sort by whether a fishing license is provided by the owners of the pier. You can see a list of all the fishing locations that are shown on the map, and as you filter down, the list will get shorter and shorter until you find specific locations for your particular area that you can choose from. Click “empty” to clear the search filters for each parameter. You can also view the map as a street map or use an aerial view.

The Florida Fishing Pier Finder was created through funding from the Sport Fish Restoration program. This federal program collects taxes from purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuel to fund projects that provide better fishing opportunities. So give the new Florida Fishing Pier Finder a try and make some fishing memories on the water.