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Seagrass Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program

Photograph of clouds reflecting on the water and a seagrass bed underneath the water.

Florida 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 marine wildlife and play a role in nutrient cycles, sediment stabilization, coastal biodiversity, and the global carbon cycle. Seagrasses cover nearly 2.5 million acres of shallow sediments near Florida's coastline and in its estuaries and bays. An additional 2 million acres likely exist offshore in deeper waters in the Big Bend region and off the southwest Florida coast.

During the 20th century, seagrasses experienced large 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. The FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute developed the Seagrass Integrated Mapping and Monitoring (SIMM) Program to protect and manage seagrasses in Florida by providing a collaborative resource for seagrass mapping, monitoring, and data sharing. FWC recently received funding through the state to support SIMM program objectives, including publishing and presenting on region and state-wide seagrass status and trends, identifying data gaps, leading proposal efforts to map and/or monitor seagrasses in data-poor locations, conducting site assessments of past and future seagrass restoration projects and contributing to the development of FWC guidelines for use of nursey stock in seagrass restoration. Managers of coastal ecosystems have used SIMM technical reports for over a decade to inform decisions related to endangered and threatened species, fisheries management, conservation priorities, restoration projects, and monitoring needs.


Contact Becca Hatchell, SIMM Principal Investigator at

Contact Lauren Brisley, SIMM Coordinator at

View and/or download the statewide report and chapters.

Statewide Seagrass GIS Layer