Florida Plays Host to Abundant Seagrass
Protection of these important habitats is vital for coastal economies
Along Florida’s west coast, seagrass meadows bolster economic activity by nurturing commercially important fish, stone crabs, and shrimp and drawing tourists from around the world for manatee watching, scalloping, fishing, snorkeling, and paddle sports. A seagrass habitat of about 400,000 acres along the state’s Nature Coast—which encompasses the Gulf of Mexico shorelines of Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties north of Tampa—is one of the healthiest in the state. But it faces growing threats, including degraded water quality, changing ocean conditions, and damage from careless boaters. Conserving Florida’s seagrass is vital for the economies and way of life of coastal communities in the region.