The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program works with scientists from other organizations to produce reports on technical projects related to Bay water quality and habitats. These reports are listed by category below.
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Sarasota Bay Economic Valuation Study
In 2014, SBEP completed an Economic Valuation Study to better understand the total value of Sarasota Bay resources and the ecosystem services that the Bay provides to the surrounding community. The SBEP Policy Board approved funding for the two-phase study which was recommended by the SBEP Citizen Advisory Committee.
The Economic Valuation Study was led by Paul Hindsley, Ph.D., an Environmental Studies Professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg and the Coordinator of Eckerd’s Coastal Management Program. The two-year study was divided into two phases. Phase I focused on the total capitalized value of single family properties on or near the bay while Phase II included a survey of residents and visitors to learn how people access and use resources associated with Sarasota Bay.
In this study, the authors calculated several different types of economic values: 1) economic value for recreation trips to the Sarasota Bay Estuary, 2) economic value for living in close proximity to the Sarasota Bay Estuary, and 3) the economic value of key Sarasota Bay Estuarine resources. They also estimated the economic impact of visitor-based recreation.
The study concluded that the value of Sarasota Bay resources to households in Sarasota and Manatee counties is $11.8 billion.
Fisheries-Independent Monitoring (FIM) Reports
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program’s (SBEP) Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan stresses the importance of restoring and protecting juvenile fish habitats. Sarasota Bay’s estuarine habitats have been subjected to increased urbanization since the 1950’s. Understanding the distribution, abundance, and habitat
use of nekton (fish and macroinvertebrates) within these habitats is critical to protecting and restoring these estuarine areas.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWCC) Fisheries-Independent Monitoring (FIM) program has been monitoring nekton assemblages in Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, estuaries that are adjacent to Sarasota Bay, since 1989. The goal of the FIM program is to provide timely, accurate, and consistent
fisheries-independent data and analyses to fisheries managers for the conservation and protection of Florida’s fisheries. The sampling design and data collected are intended not only to assess fishery stocks, but to also describe habitat utilization, biodiversity, nekton communities, and to document changes within Florida’s estuarine systems.
Other Fisheries Reports
Numeric Nutrient Reports
In October 2009, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) Policy and Management boards directed the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to develop numeric nutrient criteria for the estuarine waters of the Sarasota Bay system. The primary objectives of this project were to: 1) develop a data base of water quality and nutrient loads for each of the major bay segments; 2) define the chlorophyll a thresholds that meet light attenuation and seagrass targets in each bay segment; 3) define the quantitative relationships between nutrient concentrations or loading and chlorophyll a concentrations in each bay segment; and 4) estimate the numeric nutrient criteria, i.e., the nutrient concentrations or loading consistent with the chlorophyll a thresholds, for each bay segment.
Tidal Creek Criteria
Numeric nutrient criteria established for tidal creeks must consider the different ecological processes and functions that distinguish them from both from the freshwater systems upstream and the open estuary downstream. Only with careful consideration of these attributes can criteria be developed that will maintain the function of tidal creeks in support of the greater estuarine ecosystem.
Given these considerations, the SBEP commissioned a study on numeric nutrient criteria in tidal creeks.