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Little Sarasota Bay

Little Sarasota Bay


located within Little Sarasota Bay Watershed

General Information


This slender bay is central to the communities of Sarasota, Osprey, Siesta Key and Casey Key. Native people populated the area from at least 4000 years ago. The first settlers, the Webb family, built Spanish Point in 1847 and farmed there for decades. In 1983, the former Midnight Pass was closed, which reduced tidal flushing and changed the ecosystem of the bay. Today the Neville Preserve and Palmer Point Park are peaceful refuges in the vicinity of the former pass. Several creeks discharge to the bay, including Matheny Creek, Elligraw Bayou, Holiday Bayou, Clower Creek, Catfish Creek, and North Creek. There is a legal discharge of highly purified wastewater in Matheny Creek. Tidal flushing from the bay to the Gulf must go to either Big Sarasota Pass, the Venice Inlet, or both. North of the Blackburn Point bridge, a Manatee Refuge restricts boat speeds in the ICW channel to less than 25 m.p.h. The bay is within the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program study area and is protected by degradation as an Outstanding Florida Water. It is also a SWIM waterbody. Learn more about what constitutes a bay or estuary »

News and Events

No news or events have been posted yet. Be the first to submit news and events to the Water Atlas.

Associated Names

There are no associated names for this body of water.

Bay Condition Reports

Bay Condition Reports give a quick assessment of the water quality in a bay during a particular year by examining three important indicators of nutrient pollution: chlorophyll a, nitrogen and phosphorus.

Click here for a comparison of the eight major bay systems that comprise Sarasota's coastal watersheds.

Or view individual, yearly reports:

Map Legend

Data Summary

Data Summary Icon

This water resource is monitored by 36 sampling locations, which have collected a total of 60,900 samples ranging from 1/11/1971 to 8/5/2015. The sites sampling this water resource are:

Datasource (click for details)Station ID
FDEP Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010538
FDEP Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010539
FDEP Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010605
FDEP Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010609
FDEP Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010668
FDEP Southwest District Sampling Data271425823044
FDEP Southwest District Sampling Data27142728230386
IMAP Water Quality DataSAR200119
IMAP Water Quality DataSAR200120
Mote Marine Historic Data from Legacy STORET271136082295500
Mote Marine Historic Data from Legacy STORET271223082303400
Mote Marine Historic Data from Legacy STORET271237082301600
Mote Marine Historic Data from Legacy STORET271319082302900
Mote Marine Historic Data from Legacy STORET271358082305000
Sarasota County Environmental Services Department Sampling Data14-1
Sarasota County Environmental Services Department Sampling Data14-2
Sarasota County Environmental Services Department Sampling Data14-3
Sarasota County Environmental Services Department Sampling Data14-4
Sarasota County Environmental Services Department Sampling Data14-5
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET14-1
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET14-2
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET14-3
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET14-4
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET14-5
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010539
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010605
Sarasota County Historic Data from Legacy STORET24010609

Water Resource Characteristics

Waterbody Characteristics

Size and Volume

Surface Area 1,828 acres


Watershed Little Sarasota Bay Watershed
Latitude 27° 12' 52"
Longitude 82° 30' 22"
Learn more about Location Information »

Tributaries and Passes


    Watersheds and Drainage Basins

    Watersheds and Drainage Basins Icon

    Watersheds are areas of land with waterways that flow to a common destination. The boundaries between watersheds are elevated areas called divides. In this Atlas, the watersheds are composed of groups of creeks that flow to a single bay or group of bays. Drainage basins are subunits of watersheds and are defined by the main creek that flows through them. Sarasota County has five watersheds, named after the bays or river, and 28 drainage basins, named after the creeks. Stormwater improvements to reduce flooding and improve water quality are based on the drainage basin unit. Learn more about watersheds »

    Little Sarasota Bay is located within the Little Sarasota Bay Watershed.

    Specific drainage basins within this watershed include:

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    Who to call about environmental concerns and to report environmentally harmful activities. For potentially life threatening emergencies dial 911.

    Concern or Activity Contact(s)
    Dangerous Boating / Accidents

    FWCC, Division of Boating Safety
    1-850-488-5600 (to report an accident) or
    1-888-404-3922 (to report unsafe boating)

    Algal Blooms


    Fish Kill

    FWCC, Fish Kills

    General Concerns/Complaints


    Sarasota County

    Industrial Waste/Spill


    Injured Wildlife or Illegal Activities

    FWCC, Wildlife Violations
    or via cell phone, dial *FWC or #FWC depending on service carrier

    Shoreline Alterations, Wetland Impacts


    Aquatic Plant Removal

    1-813-744-6163 or 6164

    Water Pollution, Residuals Landspreading

    1-813-632-7600 or via cell phone, dial #DEP

    Wetlands Issues/Dredge and Fill


    Source(s): University of South Florida, Florida Center for Community Design and Research

    FWCC - Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    FDEP - Florida Department of Enviromental Protection

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      Nautical Charts

      Nautical Charts Icon

      Nautical charts show water depth, the shoreline of adjacent land, prominent topographic features, aids to navigation, and other navigational information. They are maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and have recently been made available as geo-referenced, digital images which can be now be viewed within the Advanced Mapping Tool.

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      Report Water Pollution


      Every one of us contributes pollution to our streams, lakes, bays and oceans. The wastewater, dirt, and debris of our lives eventually drains downstream. Each of us must minimize our contribution to keep our waterways healthy and enjoyable. Some materials are powerful pollutants like raw sewage, petroleum, or pesticides, but even natural, biodegradable plant materials can add nitrogen to water resources and cause algal blooms and fish kills. Please use the information below to assist you in reporting an incident to the correct agency. Learn More about Reporting Pollution »

      To Report Water Pollution:

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      Get Involved


      Sarasota County needs you to help manage and protect its natural resources! Fill out this form, and we will contact you with more information about becoming a volunteer. Learn more about volunteering »

      0 volunteers on Little Sarasota Bay have submitted a water quality sample for this water resource within the last 18 months.

      Become a Volunteer! Click here to sign up for volunteering.

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      Related Links

      Related Links
      Visit the Digital Library to view additional documents related to this water resource – Once at the Digital Library, type in a specific keyword such as "water quality" to narrow the search.
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