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Aquatic Preserve Program

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve - Water Quality

Water quality monitoring plays a major role in the 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. Accordingly, it is essen­tial to develop a proficient water quality monitoring program to recognize and prevent potential negative impacts to the aquatic preserve.

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve - Management and Protection of Seagrasses

Seagrass beds are one of the most productive habitats found in the world. The rich biodiversity that make up seagrass habitats 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.

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve - Resource Protection

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve is an important part of the Springs Coast, which extends over a vast area of coastal resources and habitats. It is imperative that these areas be managed in the most effective, comprehensive manner. Having a baseline level of presence and distribution of habitats, composition and abundance of species that depend on those habitats (including salinity and temperature ranges), and updated maps to graphically represent these parameters and how they change over time are all essential tools needs to effectively manage the aquatic preserve.

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve - Public Use

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve encourages sustainable use of natural resources while minimizing user impacts. The preserve pro­vides many opportunities for both recreational and commercial users. Public support and interagency participation are imperative to protecting natural resources. Participation in resource management enables the public to understand the importance of protecting the resource while encouraging recreational and commercial use.


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