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 Last updated: December 01, 2016

Northwest District Northwest District Water Quality Outlook

  Florida Department of Environmental Protection    Florida Department of Health Escambia County Logo


The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) and the FDEP's Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration (DEAR) Northwest Regional Operation Center partner in a water quality report for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

The site map below identifies sampling sites along rivers, estuaries and beaches from the DOH in Escambia County Florida's Healthy Beaches Program monitoring and quarterly monitoring by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The water quality outlook keywords provide a guide to the ecological indicators and measurements utilized in this report.

Related Information:


MAT-DEP Water Quality Monitoring Activity Tracker

The Escambia County Health Department DEP Exit Disclaimer Link

The Florida Healthy Beaches Program DEP Exit Disclaimer Link


Florida Healthy Beaches Program Bacteria Action Values FAQ

Red Tide Status Report
 DEP Exit Disclaimer Link


Establishing Numeric Criteria for Florida's Waters


Florida's Surface Water Quality Standards


Sites 1, 2, 6, 7, and 15 are sampled bi-weekly from March to October as part of the Florida Department of Health's Healthy Beaches Program. Site 3 is sampled weekly and supported by  the City of Pensacola. For current beach data see The Florida Healthy Beaches Program website. For current health advisories contact the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County at (850) 595-6700 or the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County at (850) 983-5200.

Map of Surface Water Quality Monitoring Locations

Week of
Week of
Location Water Temp  Salinity
(Parts Per Thousand)

(Parts Per Million)

(Single Sample)
1*   Big Lagoon West Beach State Park 72°F 29.5 6.7 NA Not
2*   Bayou Grande Navy Point
Park North
74°F 25.4 6.4 NA 2 None
11/28/2016 3* Bayou
Bayview Park 65°F 23.4 7.6 NA Not
  4 Pensacola
Wayside Park (SW) 85°F NR 7.1 NA 2 None
  5 Pensacola
Entrance of Fort Pickens 85°F NR 8.3 NA Not
6*   Santa Rosa Sound Quietwater
70°F 28.0 6.7 NA 10 None
7*   Gulf of Mexico Pensacola Beach 73°F 33.0 6.6 NA 12d None
  8 Santa Rosa
Navarre 84°F NR 6.1 NA 2 None
  9 Blackwater
69°F 0.9 6.2 74 NA None


Mayo Park 73°F 0.0 6.8 102 NA   None
  11 Coldwater Creek
Hwy 191 74°F 0.0 7.1 88 NA
  12 Escambia Bay Floridatown 87°F 16.6 3.5 NA 41 None
  13 Santa Rosa
86°F NR 7.4 NA Not
  14 Upper
Perdido Bay
Bay Forest Drive 86°F NR NR NA 4 None
15*   Bayou Chico Lakewood
73°F 23.5 5.9 NA 14 None
  17 East Bay Redfish
83°F NR 5.7 NA 38 None
  18 Perdido
Lower Bay 83°F NR NR NA 10 None
  19 Innerarity


84°F NR NR NA 12 None
  20 Escambia


84°F 6.5 3.2 70 NA  None

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. Report provided as a public service the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (1-850-595-0571), and the *FDOH-Escambia (1-850-595-6700). To contact Santa Rosa County DOH (1-850-983-5200). For current open/closed status of shellfish harvesting areas, contact the Division of Aquaculture Shellfish Information Hotline(1-850-747-5252). NR=Not Reported, NT=Not Taken, NA=Not Applicable

Sites with an asterisk (*) are monitored under the Health Beaches Program by the DOH in Escambia County.



Water Quality Outlook Keywords


Enterococci  - For information on the marine beach waters samples provided by the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County provided in this report under the Florida Healthy Beaches Program, please see Florida Department of Health (DOH) document for Bacteria Assessment Action Values Frequently Asked Questions.

For more information or current swimming advisories, call the Department of Health in Escambia County at 595-6700 or the Department of Health in Santa Rosa County at 983-5275.


Fecal Coliform - Fecal Coliform bacteria live within the intestines of warm blooded animals. The presence of these bacteria may indicate sewage contamination and the presence of other harmful pathogens which pose significant threat to humans. Contaminated water can cause disease either by direct contact, which threatens recreational water users, or by ingestion of contaminated shellfish. Livestock, inadequate wastewater treatment plants, leaky septic systems, sanitary landfills, and stormwater runoff are common sources of fecal and other bacteria. The DEP is currently in transition from Fecal Coliform bacteria indicator to Escherichia coli bacteria indicator for those waters that are predominately fresh water.

Coliform Count - Following membrane filtration of a water sample containing  Fecal Coliform bacteria,  the membrane is placed upon suitable microbiological growth media and incubated at 44.5 degrees Celsius for 24 hours.  The number reported represents the number of colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water. Exceeding 800 colonies/100 milliliters for any single sample and a 30 day geometric mean exceeding 200 colonies/100 mls indicates that the waterbody sampled does not meet recreational water quality standards and contact should be avoided. Exceeding 400 colonies/100 milliliters in 10% of samples taken in a 30 day period indicates that the waterbody does not meet recreational water quality standards and caution should be exercised. 

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.

Temperature - Temperature is a critical factor influencing several aspects of the aquatic ecosystem. It influences biological activity and many chemical variables within a water body. As water temperature increases, the capacity of a water molecule to retain dissolved oxygen decreases. Water temperature influences the rate of plant photosynthesis, the metabolic rates of aquatic organisms, and the sensitivity of organisms to toxic wastes, parasites, and diseases.


Dissolved Oxygen - Dissolved oxygen is an essential indicator in assessing an estuary’s health and normally measured in parts per million (mg/liter). 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.  Please see Technical Support document Derivation of Dissolved Oxygen Criteria to Protect Aquatic Life in Florida's Fresh and Marine Waters for more information.


Field Notes - Field observations which may include the presence of seaweed, algae, sea nettles and jellyfish, or Fish Kills.

For more information, contact: