The Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA) is mapping and monitoring seagrass communities in several locations
around the state.
Different types of remote sensing, such as high
resolution satellite imagery, hyperspectral imagery, or
LiDAR, can be used to create baseline maps over large
areas. These maps can be used to determine seagrass
density, coverage, species and prop scar damage. They
can also be used to determine changes in each of the
above parameters from maps generated from earlier
images. High resolution satellite imagery of St. Joseph
Bay was collected in November 2010 and is being compared
to hyperspectral imagery from October 2006 to identify
Elsewhere in the state, the Coral Reef Conservation
Program is conducting benthic habitat mapping in
northern Miami-Dade County. This effort was led by Nova
Southeastern University Oceanographic Center National
Coral Reef Institute with funding from NOAA, FDEP and
FWRI. The benthic habitat mapping efforts employed a
combined-technique approach combining several types of
imagery and ground-truthing. Of the 240.31 km2 mapped, the polygon totals indicated 16.55% was Seagrass. Notable was south of Government Cut,
which showed a wide area of extensive seagrass beds dominated by
turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum).
Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve is
producing baseline seagrass and submerged resource maps for Taylor County.
Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve also conducts photo
interpretation in four year intervals.
Hyperspectral imagery can provide exceptional detail
with even submerged resources.
Quadrats are used at each station to ensure that the
same area is being measured.
This large-scale mapping is complemented by
ground-truthing in several preserves, including
St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve,
Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and the
Charlotte Harbor aquatic preserves. Annual and
bi-annual monitoring is conducted at the same stations
within each preserve. Measurements of species composition, percent coverage, blade length, shoot density, water depth, sediment,
and epiphyte load are taken at each station.