Celebrating achievements is an important part of making progress. Since 1989, the SBEP and its partners have accomplished the following key milestones toward restoring Sarasota Bay.
- In 2009, all major segments of Sarasota Bay met water quality standards and were removed from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) state list of impaired water bodies.
- Nitrogen pollution in Sarasota Bay has decreased by approximately 67% since 1989.
- Direct wastewater discharge to Sarasota Bay, its embayments, and its tributaries has been completely eliminated.
- Summer fertilizer application ordinances have been instituted in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
- 54% increase in acres of seagrass habitats since 1988.
- Over 1,600 acres of intertidal and freshwater wetlands have been restored throughout the Sarasota Bay watershed since 1989.
- The SBEP has developed several Five-Year Habitat Restoration Plans to guide restoration priorities and projects throughout the watershed.
- Over 3,000 artificial reef habitat modules have been deployed in Sarasota Bay to attract fish. The SBEP conducts ongoing studies of fish utilization patterns to better understand the habitat provided by artificial reefs in estuarine environments.
- Three oyster reefs have been built in Sarasota Bay.
- 24 local citizens serve on the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee.
- More than 60,000 students have participated in P.I.E.R. field trips to explore and learn about the Sarasota Bay watershed.
- Since 2003, Bay Guardian Volunteers have clocked over 7,250 hours in support of Sarasota Bay restoration.
- More than 65 local organizations have completed Bay-friendly restoration and education projects with the support of over $275,000 in SBEP Bay Partners Grant funding.
The SBEP received a first place Gulf Guardian Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 recognizing the SBEP's interlocal partners and citizens for their actions to improve Bay water quality. These actions led directly to the astonishing recovery of Sarasota Bay's seagrasses.