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St. Andrews Aquatic Preserve Project Spotlight

"St. Andrews Bay is one of the most highly diverse estuaries in America, with over 2,900 species. On any given day, you can find almost anything in the clear waters of St. Andrews Bay. It is also one of the most fragile coastal estuaries that needs our continued protection."

Mike Brim, Executive Director
St. Andrews Bay Environmental Science Team

Nesting sea turtle

Signs alert boaters to the presence of seagrass

Educational Signage

A signage program was begun to address the decline of seagrass within the preserve. Educational signs have been placed around the bay area informing boaters of the shallow seagrass beds and what to do while boating in these areas. Signs have been placed at Grand Lagoon, Alligator Point, the bay side of Shell Island and the shoreline around Tyndall Air Force Base within the St. Andrews Aquatic Preserve. This educational initiative will contribute to reduced impact on seagrass and accelerated recovery in areas previously affected. In addition, signs have been placed in the water marking the 3 foot contour (at low-tide) in some parts of the bay.

Benthic Sampling

Sand is being mined in the preserve to re-nourish some of the beaches in Bay County. The Aquatic Preserve office was performing benthic sampling and analysis to determine any impacts from this procedure, long and short term. This study has statewide implications that could relate to such projects which occur all across Florida.

 Quick Facts about St. Andrews Aquatic Preserve
Map of St. Andrews Bay Aquatic Preserve

Location:

Bay County

Acreage

24,000 acres of sovereign submerged lands

Contact:

Beth Fugate, Manager
Florida Coastal Office
160 Government Center
Pensacola, FL 32501-5794
(850) 595-0683
Beth.L.Fugate@dep.state.fl.us 

Shell Island off of Alligator Point

Shell Island off of Alligator Point

Osprey

Osprey

Rock jetties help protect the beach

Rock jetties help protect the beach.

Campground in the sand dunes

Campground in the sand dunes

  • Relatively clear water is one of the characteristic features of St. Andrews Aquatic Preserve. Several factors contribute to the bay's clarity, such as its spring-fed tributaries, low amounts of silty clay in the local soils and the filtering effect of the marshes and seagrasses.

  • The rock jetties at the entrance to the bay are inhabited by a myriad of tropical species of fish and invertebrates. Semi-tropical fish species such as cocoa damsels, angelfishes, parrotfishes, spadefishes, and butterfly fishes are frequently observed during the warmer months of summer.

  • The sea grass beds that are dominant on the back of Shell Island within the preserve have a diverse assemblage of fish populations including mullet, pinfish, needlefish, mojarra, seahorses, pipefish, blennies and gobies as well as the young of many commercially and recreationally important species.

Last updated: September 30, 2014

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