Saltwater wetlands are essential nursery habitat for many aquatic species. More than 1,600 acres of freshwater and saltwater wetlands were lost in the Sarasota Bay watershed between 1950 and 1990. A recent mapping project showed that more than 100 miles of seawalls and other hardened shorelines dominate the Sarasota Bay watershed.
In response, SBEP and its partners have embarked on saltwater wetland restoration and enhancement projects totaling more than 160 acres. SBEP has adopted an annual goal of restoring at least 18 acres of wetlands per year.
Mangroves are trees that grow in intertidal salty environments. These trees can tolerate frequent flooding and wide variations in salinity.
Most of the fish and shellfish we like to catch and eat spend part of their lives among the roots in the mangrove forests that line the estuaries of southwest Florida.
Coastal marshes are communities of vegetation in areas alternately inundated and drained by tidal action. Salt marshes are found in flat, protected water usually within the protection of a barrier island estuary or along low-energy coastlines. Situated between the land and the sea, salt marshes experience the effects of both salt and fresh water. Tidal effects are greatest on marsh areas below mean low water while upland freshwater sources influence areas above mean high water. Tides flush saline waters over the intertidal zone and rivers carry freshwater in from upland sources with an infusion of sediments and nutrients necessary for the growth and formation of a marsh system.