An approximately 400,000-acre habitat along Florida’s Nature Coast—which encompasses the shorelines of Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties bordering the Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa—is one of the healthiest seagrass habitats in the state. Here, seagrass mingles with mangrove islands, salt marsh, naturally occurring algae, sponges, and corals to provide habitat for recreationally and commercially important marine species that are the lifeblood of the region’s economy. The area is home to the “Manatee Capital of the World” and offers world-class fishing and other recreational opportunities that draw hundreds of thousands of tourists, support thousands of jobs, and generate millions of dollars annually. Protecting seagrass is vital to the health of the oceans as well as to businesses and coastal economies.
The map below shows seagrass density throughout the state and along the Nature Coast.
Holly Binns directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ efforts to protect ocean life in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Caribbean.