Sarasota Bay



  • Designated an “Estuary of National Significance” in 1987
  • Surface area of approximately 52 square miles
  • Includes Manatee and Sarasota counties
  • 150-square-mile watershed


Three main challenges exist in the Sarasota Bay watershed:

  • Alteration and loss of coastal uplands and wetlands due to development
  • Spread of non-native animal and plant species
  • Degraded water quality from non-point source pollutant and nutrient loading


Through cooperation with other government agencies, these challenges are met by:

  • Developing a comprehensive conservation and management plan
  • Restoring the balance between coastal upland, wetland, and intertidal habitats
  • Implementing water quality improvement projects

Success Indicators

Successful project implementation is indicated by:

  • Improved water quality
  • Increased hydroperiods
  • Increased coverage of seagrasses within the Bay
  • Reduction/removal of non-native terrestrial and wetland species
  • Increased wildlife use

Future goals are then developed through an adaptive management process, always striving to help restore Florida’s natural ecosystems.