Tampa Bay Beautification
The map to the right allows viewing of the TBB Restoration Sites. The site name appears when you mouse over its position. By clicking the site you can navigate to the site page
The City of Tampa is home to more than 300,000 people, and is surrounded by the largest open water estuary in Florida. The Tampa Bay estuary is a natural treasure in the Southwest Florida region and serves as an anchor for much of the metropolitan areas’ tourism and commerce. The condition of the shorelines is critical to the health of the estuary. The shoreline is defined as the area where a waterbody meets land; this interface is vitally important to the health of our natural ecosystems. The shoreline can be thought of as a ribbon of life that surrounds our water resources. The natural habitats that occur within this zone are some of the most productive on earth, and the aquatic life that thrives here serves as the basis for many of the world’s recreationally and commercially important fisheries species. The City of Tampa is blessed with 183 linear miles of shoreline, of which approximately seven (7) is located within publicly-owned City parks.
As is the case in many urbanized areas, much of the shoreline has been altered from its native state. Alterations of the shoreline have reduced biological productivity, degraded water quality, and reduced available habitat for commercially important species, and endangered birds and reptiles. Within the region, a number of different types of natural communities thrive on the shores. In the freshwater systems, cypress swamps and herbaceous wetlands thrive. While where the tides bring saltwater to the shore, the plant communities change from leatherfern to cordgrass and finally tropical mangrove species within the saltiest portions of the estuary.
Restoration of Shoreline Habitats
Restoration of shoreline habitats has been successful in the past eight years as a total of 2,396 acres have been restored since 1994 by various agencies and stakeholders. The restoration of 378 acres of oligohaline marsh has exceeded the initial goals set forth in the Tampa Bay Estuary Program’s (TBEP) Charting the Course plan from 1996.
The Tampa Shoreline Restoration Initiative
In 2003, the Mayor’s Beautification Program (now renamed Tampa Bay Beautification) received funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Pinellas County Environmental Fund, and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission for the Tampa Shoreline Restoration Initiative (TSRI). The project focus is the shoreline restoration and wildlife habitat protection in thirty (30) of Tampa’s parks shown on the map to the right. The parks collectively contain 100,000 linear feet of shoreline.
The TSRI Management Plan
To strategically look at the opportunities for restoration, the TSRI proposed the creation of a masterplan document. This document is meant to serve as a guide to prioritizing and targeting resources to restore the shoreline owned by Tampa’s citizens through the City park system. The plan provides an overview of the existing conditions in each of the thirty parks, and identifies and prioritizes restoration and invasive and exotic plant removal.
In the Tampa Bay area, a number of different organizations play a role in shoreline restoration and maintenance. This plan attempts to not only document existing conditions and make recommendations, but also identify all of the groups that are working on shoreline restoration within the study area of the thirty (30) parks. Furthermore, the plan aims to establish guidelines for monitoring and tracking the health of these vital systems in the future so that they can be maintained to maximize their recreational and ecological benefits. The TSRI Management Plan is implemented as a "live document" through this part of the Tampa Bay Water Atlas.
Select a restoration site by clicking on one of the points within the map to your right or by choosing a site from the following list: