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.

Water Quality Enhancement

  • 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.

A Rewarding Partnership

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.

Read more about the award.

Habitat Restoration

  • 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.

Public Stewardship

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is dedicated to restoring the area's greatest natural asset - Sarasota Bay. We offer special thanks to our partners: Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Southwest Florida Water Management District.