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Seagrass Management Plan for Big Lagoon and Santa Rosa Sound

In 1999, the Gulf of Mexico Program awarded a grant to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Northwest District Office in Pensacola, Fla., to develop seagrass management plan for Big Lagoon and Santa Rosa Sound. The plan was completed in December 2001 and focuses on the management issues regarding seagrass communities and the environmental and human surroundings that impact them.

Seagrass beds have long been recognized as a critical coastal habitat for estuarine fisheries and wildlife. They also function as a direct food source for fish, waterfowl, and sea turtles. Seagrasses serve as major contributors of organic matter to marine food webs, participants in nutrient cycling processes, and stabilizing agents in coastal sedimentation and erosion processes.

Seagrass health and acreage is directly proportional to the health and status of many commercially and recreationally important seafood species such as shrimp, crabs, scallops, redfish, speckled trout, and mullet.

Watershed, political boundaries and seagrass distribution of the Pensacola Bay System. The boundary of Escambia County and Santa Rosa County Florida divides the Escambia River, Escambia Bay, Pensacola Bay, and Santa Rosa Sound. The state boundary of Florida and Alabama divides the Perdido River and Perdido Bay. Map showing watershed, political boundaries and seagrass distribution of the Pensacola Bay System.
A conceptual model of seagrass productivity depicting the effects of reduced light on seagrass production. Under low light conditions, less oxygen is produced in photosynthesis, resulting in lower oxygen availability to roots and rhizomes, which cause death of tissues from sulfide toxicity. Designed by Ken Dunton - Used by permission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife. A conceptual model of seagrass productivity depicting the effects of reduced light on seagrass production.
The major factors that contribute to loss of seagrass habitat are primarily from human induced impacts and include dredging, excessive nutrient inputs, and boating activities. - Used by permission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Illustration showing the major factors that contribute to loss of seagrass habitat.
Bruce Beach marsh. A mitigation marsh planted in 1991 by the FL DEP Ecosystem Restoration Section. This photo was taken approximately 10 years after initial planting. Photograph of Bruce Beach Marsh.
FDEP volunteers prepare to vegetate a residential shoreline, November 17, 2000. Photograph of seagrass planting preparation.
Shoreline is planted. November 17, 2000.Photograph of newly planted seagrass on shoreline.
Mature buffer zone after approximately one year of growth. Photograph of planted seagrass on shoreline one year later.
Current seagrass monitoring sites. Big Lagoon has been assigned eight sites with the remaining twelve in Santa Rosa Sound. Site ten is considered to be located within Santa Rosa Sound. Map showing seagrass monitoring sites in Big Lagoon and Santa Rosa Sound.
Beach with submerged vegetation visible. Photograph of beach with submerged vegetation visible.
Closeup of seagrass. Closeup photograph of seagrass in a person's hand.
Seagrass measurement grid. Photograph of seagrass measurement grid.
Diver planting seagrass. Photograph of a diver planting seagrass.
A group of volunteers plant seagrass. Photograph of volunteers planting seagrass.

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Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
228-688-3726
FAX: 228-688-2709


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