The Florida Coastal Office is mapping and monitoring seagrass communities in several locations around the state. Different types of remote sensing, such as drones, high resolution satellite imagery, hyperspectral imagery, or LiDAR, can be used to create baseline maps over large areas. These maps can be used to determine seagrass density, coverage, species and prop scar damage. They can also be used to determine changes in each of the above parameters from maps generated from earlier images.
Elsewhere in the state, the Coral Reef Conservation Program conducted benthic habitat mapping in northern Miami-Dade County. This effort was led by Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center National Coral Reef Institute with funding from NOAA, DEP and FWRI. The benthic habitat mapping efforts employed a combined-technique approach combining several types of imagery and ground-truthing. Of the 240.31 km2 mapped, the polygon totals indicated 16.55 percent was seagrass. Notable was south of Government Cut, which showed a wide area of extensive seagrass beds dominated by turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum).
Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve has produced baseline seagrass and submerged resource maps for Taylor County. Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve has also conducted photo interpretation in four-year intervals.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.