Sarasota Bay is a complex environment that has been heavily altered by human activities. However, concerted efforts by local citizens, governments, and non-profit organizations have ensured the persistence of the bay’s unique and essential habitats through conservation and habitat restoration.
Healthy wetlands are important to the vitality of Sarasota Bay because they provide food and shelter for bay life. Wetlands, which include freshwater and intertidal habitats, also filter pollutants, regulate the flow of fresh water into the bay, and store carbon. Intertidal habitats, salt marshes, and mangroves also help protect shorelines from erosion.
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Seagrasses in Sarasota Bay support fisheries, trap sediments,
and stabilize the bay bottom. Thanks to improvements in water quality and clarity, seagrasses continue to rebound in our bays. These flowering plants now cover 54% more bay bottom than in 1988.
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Hard bottom habitat in Sarasota Bay is mainly represented by oyster reefs and artificial reefs. Both types of reefs support multiple fisheries. Oyster reefs contribute to sediment stabilization and water quality.
Click here to read more about Sarasota Bay reefs.