How healthy are our coastal waterways? Collected water quality data give us various measures of ecological health, but taken together, what do they tell us about the overall quality of our coastal systems? How do these measures compare from year to year? From bay to bay? Where has progress been made? Where is more effort needed? These are the questions that this section of the Water Atlas attempts to answer.
The Conditions Overview below gives a comparison of the eight major bay systems that comprise Sarasota's coastal watersheds with regard to three important indicators of water quality. The Bay Conditions Index incorporates all three indicators, or you can view each indicator separately. Ratings are given on a calendar year basis, and are determined by comparing the average value of the selected indicators to target (desired) and threshold (undesirable) levels.
To view a page with more detailed condition information for a particular bay system, click on its name below. There you will find high, low, historical and average values for the water quality parameters used in determining the ratings, as well as other important measures of bay health, water quality contour maps, seagrass coverage maps, and watershed land use/land cover characteristics.