Sarasota Bay Estuary Program - Sarasota, Florida - Preserving Sarasota's Water Heritage for the Future Return To SBEP Home Page Sarasota Bay Estuary Program - Sarasota, Florida - Preserving Sarasota's Water Heritage for the Future
SBEP Habitat Restoration
About SBEP
Media Center
HAbitat Restoration
The Water Connection
Neighborhoood Action Resources
Educational Outreach
Get Involved!

SBEP Media Center

“The natural hydrology of Sarasota Bay is determined by three things: oceanography of the gulf, the soils and the slope of the land and the climate, which means rainfall and run-off.  So Sarasota Bay does have a natural hydrology and things that humans do have the potential to make the hydrology unnatural and that’s where the problems of Sarasota Bay begin.”
                                                     Ernie Estevez, Ph.D.,Director Center for Coastal Ecology MOTE

Restoring the natural hydrology or flow of water into
the system is essential to sustaining a healthy Bay.

Over the past several decades, the Sarasota Bay watershed—the land area that contributes run-off to Sarasota Bay—have been put under stress by the area’s growth. The importation of water for consumption flood-control projects and the construction of impervious surfaces have changed the natural hydrology, resulting in higher peaks in the natural flow and increases in the delivery of pollutants to the Bay.

Re-establishing and maintaining the natural flow of water into the Sarasota Bay system is essential for sustaining a healthy watershed. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is evaluating possible changes in construction and landscaping practices to reduce the impact on the local hydrology.
In the future, yards may function as individual stormwater treatment facilities. Such ecologically designed landscapes would effectively allow rainwater to be stored and treated on site, preserving the natural hydrology and protecting the Bay. Unfortunately, current development practices tend to compact and modify soils (fill), reducing the ability of post-development soils to support beneficial plant growth and to retain water.

Some of the water from the land reaches the Bay through the ground, but most of it reaches the estuary through creeks and streams. This is a good thing because we can see, improve and protect water that is carried above ground.

Of course, streams may be impaired for reasons other than hydrology.  There may be water-quality issues or habitat problems, but they can all be restored.  The key is citizen participation.

Historically, streams in Sarasota County and elsewhere in Florida have divided neighborhoods.  What we have to do is reorganize neighborhoods so that the stream is the central feature rather than the dividing boundary. This way more citizens can work together and get local governments to do what it’s going to take to restore our waterways.

Back To Top