SBEP is dedicated to restoring the region’s most important natural asset – Sarasota Bay. The program strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the area’s natural resources for the use and enjoyment by the public. Since 1989, SBEP and its partners have had a vision of Sarasota Bay with clear waters, healthy habitat, abundant wildlife, and a growing community enjoying the Bay’s resources and recreation.
Sarasota Bay is a 56-mile long coastal lagoon comprised of one large bay segment (Big Sarasota Bay) and several smaller embayments including Palma Sola Bay in the north and a series of three embayments (Roberts Bay, Little Sarasota Bay, and Blackburn Bay) to the south. The Bay has four inlets or passes (Venice Inlet, Big Sarasota Pass, New Pass and Longboat Pass).
Sarasota Bay also features a number of creeks and streams that direct water runoff from throughout the larger watershed area. The primary tributaries include Palma Sola Creek, Bowlees Creek, Whitaker Bayou, Hudson Bayou, Phillippi Creek, Catfish Creek, North Creek, and South Creek.
Current Bay Conditions
The USF Water Atlas interactive map tool provides information about ecologically sensitive areas and resources. Visit the following link to see water quality and seagrass data for Sarasota Bay, Palma Sola Bay, Roberts Bay, Little Sarasota Bay and Blackburn Bay. Visitors can use the search function on the right side of the page to access specific locations within the bay and the larger watershed. Explore the Water Atlas Advanced Mapping Tool.
What is an Estuary?
Estuaries are semi-enclosed areas, such as bays and lagoons, where freshwater mixes with salt water from the sea. Teeming with life, our nation’s estuaries provide vital habitats for 80 percent of the world’s fish and shellfish species. Estuaries are an essential resource creating more food per acre than the richest farmland. Click here to learn more about the National Estuary Program.
What is a Watershed?
It’s the area of land that provides water flow from higher elevation to the bottom of a drainage basin. Creeks, streams and the storm drainage system provide channels for directing the water runoff across the watershed into Sarasota Bay. Our local watershed covers 250 square miles and it is the home for more than 500,000 people.