Bay Water Quality Report
Northwest District Florida Department of Environmental Protection Watershed
Management Section partners with the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioner's
Environmental Council (OCEC) in a monthly water quality report for
Choctawhatchee Bay sponsored by the Okaloosa County Tourist Development
Council. Water quality samples are collected
by the OCEC Aqualab Volunteers and are presented here for informational use only.
The map below
depicts OCEC's Aqualab sampling sites for Choctawhatchee Bay in
Okaloosa and Walton counties.
Water Quality Report Keywords
Okaloosa County Environmental Council
Florida Healthy Beaches Program
of Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Florida's Waters
Establishing Numeric Criteria for Choctawhatchee Bay
*Reported value between
Practical Quantitation Limit (PQL) and Minimum Detection Limit (MDL) and considered an
estimated value. Different PQL levels may be reported for different test
batches. Field observations reflect surface water conditions and samples are
taken in flowing water below the water's surface.
Disclaimer: This report is
provided for informational use only. For current advisories or additional
information, direct contact with the appropriate Department representative
should be made in matters that require confirmation to the intent or
currency of the information presented.
For current open/closed status of
shellfish harvesting areas, contact the Division of Aquaculture Shellfish
Information Hotline (1-850-747-5252).
not taken. NR=Not Reported
Water Quality Report
Salinity- Salinity is a
measurement of the salt content in water and is usually expressed in Parts
Per Thousand (PPT). Seawater has about 35 parts of salt per 1000 parts of
water. Drinking water is less than 0.5 PPT. Salinity
levels control the types of plants and animals that live in the different
zones of the estuary.
Nutrients- Nutrients, which
include ammonia, phosphorus, total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), nitrite and nitrate
are chemicals required by plants for maintenance and growth. Nitrogen and
phosphorus along with water temperature and sunlight control phytoplankton
abundance. Although nutrients are essential for the growth of an estuary's
plants, an excess may trigger a string of events that depletes dissolved
oxygen in the water. Total Nitrogen is the sum of NO2 + NO3 + TKN.
For more information regarding
oxygen is an essential indicator in assessing an estuary’s health. Oxygen
enters the water from the atmosphere and through aquatic plant and
phytoplankton photosynthesis. The oxygen is then available for aquatic
organisms to utilize in basic metabolic processes. Most plants and animals
can grow and do well when the dissolved oxygen level exceeds 5 mg/l. Levels below 3
mg/l causes stress and/or death in many species. Oxygen is used up during the
decomposition of organic material. An overload of nutrients from human
activities cause overgrowth of phytoplankton. The phytoplankton ultimately
die and fall to the bottom where they decompose, using up oxygen. The
dissolved oxygen test
performed by Aqualab field representatives represents an estimate of the
oxygen available at the time of water quality sampling.
Water Temperature- The temperature of the water at the time of
sampling is routinely documented and reported during water quality
monitoring. Water temperature influences biological and chemical processes,
affects local and migrant aquatic species and is a major factor in biological
activity and growth. As temperature increases, the water's ability to
retain oxygen is lowered which decreases levels of dissolved oxygen
available to aquatic organisms, as well as increasing oxygen demands by
stimulating biological growth. Ambient water temperatures affect what
aquatic species live in what water and sudden changes may cause mortality.
observations which may include the presence of
stingrays and jellyfish,
For more information, questions or data confirmation, please contact: