How healthy are our coastal waterways? Collected water quality data give us various measures of ecological health, but taken together, what do they tell us about the overall quality of our coastal systems? How do these measures compare from year to year? From bay to bay? Where has progress been made? Where is more effort needed?
The Conditions Overview below gives a comparison of the eight major bay systems that comprise Sarasota's coastal watersheds with regard to three important indicators of water quality. The Bay Conditions Index incorporates all three indicators, or you can view each indicator separately. Ratings are given on a calendar year basis, and are determined by comparing the average value of the selected indicators to target (desired) and threshold (undesirable) levels. Assessment of whether a particular indicator has exceeded its regulatory limit is performed solely by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and depictions on the Atlas are for information purposes only.
To view a page with more detailed condition information for a particular bay system, click on its name below. There you will find high, low, historical and average values for the water quality parameters used in determining the ratings, as well as other important measures of bay health, water quality contour maps, seagrass coverage maps, and watershed land use/land cover characteristics.