Current Restoration Projects
Please use the links above to navigate to the TBEP or TBB Restoration Project home page.
The map to the right allows viewing of the TBEP and TBB Restoration Sites. The Red sites are TBEP Habitat sites, the Orange sites are TBEP Oyster Reef sites and the Green sites are TBB Shoreline Restoration sites. The site name appears when you "mouse over" its position. By clicking any TBEP site you can navigate to the TBEP Estuary Atlas Mapping Component where you can use the Identify tool to view specific site data and where you can download the project database using the download tool.
Please note that the TBEP habitat database is in the process of being updated and current data is provisional.
By clicking any TBB site you can navigate to the TBB site page.
Restoring Florida’s Habitats
Florida's population has steadily increased in the last few decades, with most of this growth occurring along Florida’s coasts. This unprecedented migration to the Florida Gulf and Atlantic coastlines has resulted in a significant loss of natural landscapes. To compensate, public and public-private partnerships have funded property purchases for habitat protection and restoration. Organizations, including the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Tampa Bay Beautification, work with a variety of governmental and non-governmental partners to enhance, establish, and protect valuable habitats. The projects often bring together scientists and community volunteers to effectively manage and restore properties.
The Value of Healthy and Viable Habitats:
Functional habitats containing native species are vital for the health and viability of waterbodies and the many organisms that live in and around the water. Native vegetation, including grasses, shrubs, and trees, serves many purposes such as:
— Filtering pollutants from urban and residential areas
— Decreasing the velocity of stormwater runoff
— Controlling soil erosion
— Providing habitat, nursery areas, and food for faunal species
Humans also benefit from healthy habitats for recreation and other activities, including wildlife viewing.
Tampa Bay supports a mosaic of habitats, including estuarine wetlands, freshwater wetlands, upland forests, seagrass beds, and submerged hard bottom. A key goal of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program is restoring habitats in their historic ratios. This means that certain habitats that have been lost in proportionally larger amounts, such as salt barrens, may be a higher priority for restoration and protection. Both aquatic and terrestrial species occur in the watershed and some species use various habitats at different stages of their life; for example, larval fish utilize the freshwater portions of tidal creeks before venturing into saltier bay water as adults. For these reasons, it is important to provide an appropriate amount of many habitat types. While many organizations in the Bay Area are engaged in varied restoration activities, some groups, such as Tampa Bay Beautification, focus primarily on the restoration of shorelines in urban areas.
Estuarine Habitat Restoration Activities:
The Estuary Restoration Act (ERA), signed into law in November 2000, makes restoring our estuaries a national priority. The Act promotes the restoration of one million acres of estuarine habitat by 2010 by leveraging limited federal resources with state and local funding; developing and enhancing monitoring and research capabilities; and encouraging partnerships among public agencies and between the public and private sectors. (NERI Website).
Agencies in Florida involved with habitat restoration include national agencies such as NOAA, USEPA, USFWS, USACOE and Estuary Programs; state agencies such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Water Management Districts (WMD); and local agencies.
The primary agencies and groups involved in habitat restoration in the Tampa Bay region include the Southwest Florida Water Management District's (SWFWMD) Surface Water Improvement and Management Program (SWIM); the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP); Hillsborough (HC), Manatee (MC) and Pinellas Counties (PC); the cities of Tampa (CoT), St. Petersburg (St.Pete), and Clearwater (Clw); the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP); Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB); Audubon of Florida (Aud), a conservation organization; and Tampa Bay Watch (TBW), a community stewardship organization.
The following web sites contain additional restoration data about national and State of Florida habitat restoration programs:
National Estuary Restoration Initiative (NERI)
Florida Wetlands Restoration Information Center (FWRIC)
The Tampa Bay Habitat Restoration Database
The Tampa Bay Habitat Restoration Database was developed to compile and track the thousands of acres of enhanced, established, or protected habitat in the Tampa Bay watershed. Population growth and associated conversion of land to residential and commercial uses has reinforced the need to preserve and/or restore valuable habitat areas. Numerous agencies in the Tampa Bay area are active in habitat protection and restoration. Some projects include limiting the development rights or purchasing lands for public use, such as parks or preserves. Other times, it is necessary to restore habitats that have been lost or degraded, in order to provide for the needs of wildlife. These projects are time-consuming, costly and labor-intensive, but are an excellent way to replace habitats that have been lost.
The restoration database is the most up-to-date collection of habitat projects that have occurred since the 1970s in the Tampa Bay watershed. Information and completeness vary by project, with more recent projects often containing more detailed information. Please be aware that the current database is the best approximation of habitat protection and restoration projects, but may contain errors. Bay Area scientists and resource managers will continue to update this database with new projects and refine the existing entries.