Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Saint Petersburg, FL, United States

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Saint Petersburg, FL, United States
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Cloern J.E.,U.S. Geological Survey | Abreu P.C.,Grande Rio University | Carstensen J.,University of Aarhus | Chauvaud L.,University of Western Brittany | And 8 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2016

Time series of environmental measurements are essential for detecting, measuring and understanding changes in the Earth system and its biological communities. Observational series have accumulated over the past 2-5 decades from measurements across the world's estuaries, bays, lagoons, inland seas and shelf waters influenced by runoff. We synthesize information contained in these time series to develop a global view of changes occurring in marine systems influenced by connectivity to land. Our review is organized around four themes: (i) human activities as drivers of change; (ii) variability of the climate system as a driver of change; (iii) successes, disappointments and challenges of managing change at the sea-land interface; and (iv) discoveries made from observations over time. Multidecadal time series reveal that many of the world's estuarine-coastal ecosystems are in a continuing state of change, and the pace of change is faster than we could have imagined a decade ago. Some have been transformed into novel ecosystems with habitats, biogeochemistry and biological communities outside the natural range of variability. Change takes many forms including linear and nonlinear trends, abrupt state changes and oscillations. The challenge of managing change is daunting in the coastal zone where diverse human pressures are concentrated and intersect with different responses to climate variability over land and over ocean basins. The pace of change in estuarine-coastal ecosystems will likely accelerate as the human population and economies continue to grow and as global climate change accelerates. Wise stewardship of the resources upon which we depend is critically dependent upon a continuing flow of information from observations to measure, understand and anticipate future changes along the world's coastlines. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


PubMed | University of Aarhus, Sun Yat Sen University, CAS South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Tampa Bay Estuary Program and 6 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Global change biology | Year: 2016

Time series of environmental measurements are essential for detecting, measuring and understanding changes in the Earth system and its biological communities. Observational series have accumulated over the past 2-5 decades from measurements across the worlds estuaries, bays, lagoons, inland seas and shelf waters influenced by runoff. We synthesize information contained in these time series to develop a global view of changes occurring in marine systems influenced by connectivity to land. Our review is organized around four themes: (i) human activities as drivers of change; (ii) variability of the climate system as a driver of change; (iii) successes, disappointments and challenges of managing change at the sea-land interface; and (iv) discoveries made from observations over time. Multidecadal time series reveal that many of the worlds estuarine-coastal ecosystems are in a continuing state of change, and the pace of change is faster than we could have imagined a decade ago. Some have been transformed into novel ecosystems with habitats, biogeochemistry and biological communities outside the natural range of variability. Change takes many forms including linear and nonlinear trends, abrupt state changes and oscillations. The challenge of managing change is daunting in the coastal zone where diverse human pressures are concentrated and intersect with different responses to climate variability over land and over ocean basins. The pace of change in estuarine-coastal ecosystems will likely accelerate as the human population and economies continue to grow and as global climate change accelerates. Wise stewardship of the resources upon which we depend is critically dependent upon a continuing flow of information from observations to measure, understand and anticipate future changes along the worlds coastlines.


Greening H.S.,Florida Oceans and Coastal Council | Cross L.M.,Heritage Foundation | Sherwood E.T.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program
Ecological Restoration | Year: 2011

Recovery of seagrass coverage in Tampa Bay, Florida, to levels observed in 1950 (15,380 ha) is a long-term goal adopted by local, state, federal, and private partners participating in the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. Nitrogen controls initiated in 1980 and continuing through present (from wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater treatment, fertilizer manufacturers, and power plants) resulted in a 60% total nitrogen load reduction compared to the mid-1970s. As a result, annual water clarity targets (measured as light attenuation and chlorophyll-a concentrations) are being met, and seagrass coverage in 2008 was the highest recorded since 1950 (but still 3,380 ha lower than 1950 coverage). However, seagrass coverage in all areas of the bay is not increasing at the same rate. Wave energy and tidal scour affect longshore sandbars, and in turn seagrass recovery in some areas. Localized water quality factors, including colored dissolved organic matter and turbidity may have impacts on seagrass growth in other areas. Have we had an effect on seagrass recovery in Tampa Bay? Yes, but it will take more than maintaining a successful nutrient management strategy to reach the recovery goal. A multiscale adaptive research and application approach is currently underway to ensure continuation of the upward trend in Tampa Bay seagrass coverage. © 2011 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.


Greening H.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Janicki A.,Eden Inc | Sherwood E.T.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Pribble R.,Eden Inc | Johansson J.O.R.,Eden Inc
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2014

In subtropical Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, we evaluated restoration trajectories before and after nutrient management strategies were implemented using long-term trends in nutrient loading, water quality, primary production, and seagrass extent. Following citizen demands for action, reduction in wastewater nutrient loading of approximately 90% in the late 1970s lowered external total nitrogen (TN) loading by more than 50% within three years. Continuing nutrient management actions from public and private sectors were associated with a steadily declining TN load rate and with concomitant reduction in chlorophyll-a concentrations and ambient nutrient concentrations since the mid-1980s, despite an increase of more than 1M people living within the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. Water quality (chlorophyll-a concentration, water clarity as indicated by Secchi disk depth, total nitrogen concentration and dissolved oxygen) and seagrass coverage are approaching conditions observed in the 1950s, before the large increases in human population in the watershed. Following recovery from an extreme weather event in 1997-1998, water clarity increased significantly and seagrass is expanding at a rate significantly different than before the event, suggesting a feedback mechanism as observed in other systems. Key elements supporting the nutrient management strategy and concomitant ecosystem recovery in Tampa Bay include: 1) active community involvement, including agreement about quantifiable restoration goals; 2) regulatory and voluntary reduction in nutrient loadings from point, atmospheric, and nonpoint sources; 3) long-term water quality and seagrass extent monitoring; and 4) a commitment from public and private sectors to work together to attain restoration goals. A shift from a turbid, phytoplankton-based system to a clear water, seagrass-based system that began in the 1980s following comprehensive nutrient loading reductions has resulted in a present-day Tampa Bay which looks and functions much like it did in the relatively pre-disturbance 1950s period. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Sherwood E.T.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Greening H.S.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Janicki A.J.,Eden Inc | Karlen D.J.,Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County
Regional Studies in Marine Science | Year: 2015

Historically, significant impacts to Tampa Bay's water quality (e.g.chlorophyll-a concentrations) and ecosystem (e.g.seagrass coverage) have been documented as a result of early coastal development and urban expansion that occurred between the 1950s and 1980s. Since this time, Tampa Bay's estuarine water quality and ecosystems have significantly recovered. A long-term water quality monitoring program, first established by the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPCHC) in 1972, was instrumental in the development of water quality management targets and regulatory thresholds related to the recovery of seagrass that helped guide restoration activities in the Bay from the 1980s to present. The EPCHC monitoring program has provided over 40years of consistent and quality assured data that have been used to document Tampa Bay's ecosystem recovery, as well as, guide future research, monitoring, and management actions. Forecasted future pressures of continuing coastal population growth and climate change impacts further necessitate the need to maintain long-term water quality monitoring efforts in the Tampa Bay estuary. Maintenance of a robust estuarine monitoring program will not only help to identify future risks to the important environmental assets represented in the Tampa Bay estuary, but also help to identify potential risks to Tampa Bay's economic vitality that are garnered from maintaining a "healthy" Tampa Bay. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Schiff K.,Southern California Coastal Water Research Project | Trowbridge P.R.,San Francisco Estuary Institute | Sherwood E.T.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Tango P.,U.S. Geological Survey | Batiuk R.A.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Regional Studies in Marine Science | Year: 2015

The publisher regrets that this article has been temporarily removed. A replacement will appear as soon as possible in which the reason for the removal of the article will be specified, or the article will be reinstated.The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at . http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Poor N.D.,Kivmetrics LLC | Cross L.M.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Dennis R.L.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2013

Results from air quality modeling and field measurements made as part of the Bay Region Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE) along with related scientific literature were reviewed to provide an improved estimate of atmospheric reactive nitrogen (N) deposition to Tampa Bay, to apportion atmospheric N between local and remote sources, and to assess the impact of regulatory drivers on N deposition to Tampa Bay. Simulations using the Community Multiscale Air Quality model v4.4 modified with the University of California Davis aerosol module (CMAQ-UCD) provided a framework for this review. For 2002, CMAQ-UCD modeled atmospheric loading rates were 6910 metric tons N to the land surface of the watershed and 548 metric tons N to bay surface of the watershed, respectively. If an 18% transfer rate of atmospherically-deposited N from watershed to bay is assumed, then the corresponding atmospheric loading to Tampa Bay was 1790 metric tons N or 57% of the total N loading to the bay. From CMAQ-UCD modeling, oxidized N sources both within and outside Tampa Bay's watershed were important contributors to atmospheric N loading to the bay. Within the watershed, oxidized N emissions from mobile sources had a disproportionately larger impact than did power plant sources on atmospheric N loading. Predicted decreases in atmospheric N deposition to Tampa Bay by 2010 due to regulatory drivers were significant, and plausibly evident in recent declines in ambient air NOx concentrations in urban Tampa and St. Petersburg. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Cicchetti G.,US Ecology | Greening H.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2011

Many types of anthropogenic stress to estuaries lead to destruction and conversion of habitats, thus altering habitat landscapes and changing the "arena" in which the life history interactions of native fauna take place. This can lead to decreased populations of valued fauna and other negative consequences. The Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) pioneered a system-wide management framework that develops estuarine habitat restoration and protection goals based on supporting estuarine-dependent species and the habitat landscapes they require (for example, the extent of seagrass beds, mangrove forests, oyster reefs, or oligohaline marshes) within an estuary. We describe this framework and provide related statistics as methods to help managers set system-wide ecological goals using larger conceptual approaches that are easily communicated to stakeholders and the public; we also discuss applications of the approach to existing and evolving paradigms of estuarine management. The TBEP and partners used this framework to combine a simple and unifying vision with a diverse and complex set of management tools, resulting in greatly improved environmental conditions within Tampa Bay. © 2011 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.


Sherwood E.T.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program | Greening H.S.,Tampa Bay Estuary Program
Environmental Management | Year: 2014

The Tampa Bay estuary is a unique and valued ecosystem that currently thrives between subtropical and temperate climates along Florida's west-central coast. The watershed is considered urbanized (42 % lands developed); however, a suite of critical coastal habitats still persists. Current management efforts are focused toward restoring the historic balance of these habitat types to a benchmark 1950s period. We have modeled the anticipated changes to a suite of habitats within the Tampa Bay estuary using the sea level affecting marshes model under various sea level rise (SLR) scenarios. Modeled changes to the distribution and coverage of mangrove habitats within the estuary are expected to dominate the overall proportions of future critical coastal habitats. Modeled losses in salt marsh, salt barren, and coastal freshwater wetlands by 2100 will significantly affect the progress achieved in "Restoring the Balance" of these habitat types over recent periods. Future land management and acquisition priorities within the Tampa Bay estuary should consider the impending effects of both continued urbanization within the watershed and climate change. This requires the recognition that: (1) the Tampa Bay estuary is trending towards a mangrove-dominated system; (2) the current management paradigm of "Restoring the Balance" may no longer provide realistic, attainable goals; (3) restoration that creates habitat mosaics will prove more resilient in the future; and (4) establishing subtidal and upslope "refugia" may be a future strategy in this urbanized estuary to allow sensitive habitat types (e.g., seagrass and salt barren) to persist under anticipated climate change and SLR impacts. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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