Triangular in shape, Florida Bay is the southernmost part of Everglades National Park. It lays between the Gulf of Mexico and Biscayne Bay and is home to mangroves and sea grass, providing food and shelter to snook, tarpon, sharks, rays, sea turtles, manatees, and many other kinds of sea life.
This 1,100 square mile estuary suffers from changes made throughout the entire Everglades ecosystem. When man altered the state’s plumbing, we altered the way water is delivered to Florida bay, resulting in periods of drought depending upon how much water we can send south with current infrastructure.
Furthermore, time has proven that we must be very careful with the levels of nutrient pollution in the sensitive Southern Everglades. Currently, we are reducing phosphorus levels below 10 parts per billion, but in order to send more water south, we really must clean water starting at the headwaters north of Lake Okeechobee.
It is also becoming increasingly evident that the relationship between nitrogen and phosphorus plays a key role in feeding algal blooms in the marine environment, making projects that clean the water even more important for Florida Bay!
While it may never fully be the same, there are plans in the works to send cleaner freshwater to Florida Bay. Click here to learn more about what the South Florida Water Management District is doing to send more water to Florida Bay.