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Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection

St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve

St. Joseph Bay is a large body of water mostly enclosed by St. Joseph Peninsula. The St. Joseph Peninsula is 17 miles long and has an average width of 1,000 feet. It is formed from the Cape San Blas shoals and the historical migration of the Apalachicola River. The cape and the spit sediments are quartz sands originally supplied by the Apalachicola River. Waves and other shore zone processes have put the beaches in a constant state of change over the last hundred years.

Site Management Plans

The Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection is updating site-specific management plans for its aquatic preserves and national estuarine research reserves. Sites in the process of updating their plans will hold public meetings to receive input on the draft plans. The objectives of the meetings are to:

Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve - Water Quality

Water quality monitoring plays a major role in the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserves' (BBSAP) understanding of natural and human impacts on coastal waters. Researchers use water quality data to document short- and long-term changes within the water column in an effort to quantify the spatial and temporal variability and trends. These are applied both seasonally and as a function of tidal forcing, of the selected abiotic parameters (e.g. establish baseline data) within BBSAP.

Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve- Management and Protection of Seagrasses

Seagrass beds are one of the most productive habitats found in the world. The rich biodiversity that makes up seagrass habitat plays a critical ecological and environmental role to Florida's coastal communities. Seagrasses improve water clarity by stabilizing bottom sediments and absorbing nutrients from the water column. They reduce coastal erosion by helping to diffuse wave energy during storm events. Economically, seagrass beds are of critical importance to Florida's commercial and recreational fisheries.


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