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Estuaries are birthplaces of biodiversity and nurturers of successive generations of life

The Gulf of Mexico is one of the largest estuarine regions in the world, with more than two hundred estuaries (more than one quarter of all North American estuaries) occupying nearly eight million acres around its shores...

Estuaries: "Cradles of Life"

GreenPolicy360: The Florida peninsula, our home base, is a case study in understanding the immense, incalculable value of estuaries, wetlands and 'living coastlines' -- and the losses and damage being inflicted by out-of-control development and ignored environmental protections that have, for over a century, combined to devastate coastal environments and wildlife. The consequences of destruction of the natural environments are now coming into full view -- polluted waters, loss of species, 'red tide', fish kill offs, fisheries lost, mangrove coastal protections removed as more extreme, climate-induced hurricanes and extreme weather threaten, the list of damages goes on and on... our future and 'quality of life' are increasingly at risk.

Estuaries and wetlands, bays and watersheds, should be seen as "The Commons".

Together we must act more vigorously to protect our clean water, our living environments, our vital natural resources.


Estuary: Latin antecedent, Aestuarium, which means "tidal place". Central to these marine systems is a dynamic exchange between seawater and freshwater, the latter pouring in from a stream, river, or overland runoff.

The sixty-five rivers that trundle out into the Gulf collaborate in the cultivation of a nearly solid band of estuaries that runs its shores. Bearing nutrient-provisioned sediment, the flowing freshwater stirs its charge into the salty sea tide. This brackish broth stimulates spectacular vegetable and animal growth, setting a table for hungry wildlife...

Oh the water, water of life....





inland waterways




littoral zones



seas of grass

sounds (Hola Feather Sound)

tidal pools

underground springs


the Gulf region has no shortage of all of these...

we among the world's most productive habitats.... estuaries


A Model of Green Best Practices; the Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Protecting and Preserving Living Estuaries

Stopping those toxic/fertilizer/pollution runoffs from Lawns... Lawns

2019-2021 Tampa Bay 'State of the Bay' Report

Our local GreenPolicy360 organizing focusing on our estuary:

Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP)

'Partnership for a Healthy Bay'

Living Coastlines, Living Shorelines

GreenPolicy360: Let's look now at the Tampa Bay estuaries, a system of waterways connected along the west central coast of Florida. The terrestrial home base of GreenPolicy360 is in Clearwater, a few meters from Bay waters and although the city's name is "clearwater", a regional struggle to clean the polluted water then protect the coastal waterways and the Bay with its estuaries has been a decades-long fight. Fortunately, due to environmental activism that has been led by forward-looking local citizens and public interest organizations like the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, a model of eco-activism.

History of the Tampa Bay Cleanup

Progress Amid Setbacks: Water Quality Is an Ongoing Challenge

Via WUSF / August 2022

After decades of pollution suffocated Tampa Bay and killed half its seagrass and much of its marine life, unprecedented political cooperation and hundreds of science-guided projects brought the estuary back to life. Tampa Bay became a symbol for the success of the Clean Water Act of 1972, but seagrasses and fish have begun to die again.

Keep Tampa Bay on the Road to Recovery

The Tarpon Tag

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Tampa Bay Estuary specialty Florida license plate

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GreenPolicy360 siterunner:

I was told by two old fisherman as they fished estuary waters outside our office alongside Tampa Bay that "Tarpon used to grow up here".

”[Doc Ford] noticed something in the distance—something glittering, energized, rolling across the calm like a boat wake: a school of tarpon coming toward him; a dozen or more fish moving in a tight pod. Their big tails were throwing water; their chromium scales threw sunlight…. Ford stood watching, loving it.” -- Randy Wayne White, 'Sanibel Flats'

"The tarpon changed the destiny of this coast." --Randy Wayne White

"The fish is Megalops atlanticus, an archaic, cow-eyed, thick-jawed feeding machine that can reach eight feet in length and weigh 250 pounds. Tourists call it “tar-pon.” The rest of us say “tarp-in.”"

Data Visualization

Explore the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) data visualization portal

Data for decision makers

The TBEP open science framework ensures that the region’s ongoing data collection efforts and trusted scientific research are transparent, reproducible, and discoverable. These data visualization tools summarize complex information and bridge the research-management divide, providing actionable science to support evidence-based decision making for the benefit of a healthy Tampa Bay. We monitor and report on a suite of indicators to measure progress toward meeting CCMP goals and priorities.

At the core of our open science framework is the tbeptools software package for the R programming language. This open-source package includes all necessary tools to import data, analyze results, and plot the outcomes. Visit the tbeptools data viz page for more information.

GIT HUB for Tampa Bay Estuary Program


Estuary in Clearwater on Tampa Bay Photo by Steven Schmidt - GreenPolicy360.png

Estuary Photo, Feather Sound, Florida, 2014, by Steve Schmidt

Remember that, in the old days before the deluge of humans to southern most U.S. state, the west coast of Florida was the richest imaginable natural wonderland...

Wherever one looked, wherever one went there was a treasure of life, biodiversity we call it know, myriad interconnected species and ecosystems.

Jack E. Davis, in the Pulitzer-award winning book The Gulf chronicles this early history of Florida.

Davis explains how the wildlife was everywhere... the estuaries, the wetlands, the near-shore waters, the inlets, the intercoastal tidal ecosystems were teeming with life.


Ten thousand islands -- Marco island.jpg
Photo: Advertisement offering kayaking adventures through 'rich in life' intercoastal waters surrounding the tip of the Florida peninsula


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Florida's Wetlands in Grave Danger: "Paving Paradise"

In an award-winning newspaper series, two investigative reporters from the St. Petersburg Times chronicled how federal rules meant to protect the nation's wetlands were more illusion than law. Now, that series has been expanded into a book, delving into how we got to this point, starting with land speculators making waterfront property out of sand dredged from the bottom of the ocean. Now, read how the nation's wetlands protections were formed in clashes between developers, bureaucrats, judges, activists and con artists over Florida swamps.

Published by the University Press of Florida / 2009

U.S. -- A Case Study of How One State, Florida, Represents the Failures of Environmental Protection

This is an exhaustive, timely and devastating account of the destruction of Florida's wetlands, and the disgraceful collusion of government at all levels. It's an important book that should be read by every voter, every taxpayer, every parent, every Floridian who cares about saving what's left of this precious place.” -- Carl Hiaasen

"Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite pulled the lid off federal and state wetlands regulation in Florida and peered deep into the cauldron of 'mitigation,' 'no net loss,' 'banking,' and the rest of the regulatory stew. For anyone interested in wetlands generally, and in Florida environmental issues in particular, this is an eye-opening, must-read book."--J. B. Ruhl

Since 1990, every president has pledged to protect wetlands, and Florida possesses more than any state except Alaska. And yet, since that time Florida has lost more than 84,000 acres of wetlands that help replenish the water supply and protect against flooding.

How and why the state’s wetlands are continuing to disappear is the subject of Paving Paradise. Journalists Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite spent nearly four years investigating the political expedience, corruption, and negligence on the part of federal and state agencies that led to a failure to enforce regulations on developers. They traveled throughout the state, interviewed hundreds of people, dug through thousands of documents, and analyzed satellite imagery to identify former wetlands that were now houses, stores, and parking lots.

The result was an award-winning series, "Vanishing Wetlands," of more than twenty stories in the St. Petersburg Times, exposing the unseen environmental consequences of rampant sprawl. Expanding their work into book form in the tradition of Michael Grunwald's The Swamp, Pittman and Waite explain how wetland protection has become a taxpayer-funded program that creates the illusion of environmental protection while doing little to stem the tide of destruction.

"Vanishing Wetlands" / St. Petersburg Times

Statistics gathered by the Times investigative series, "Vanishing Wetlands," documents that legally responsible regulators, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers rejected only one of the more than 12,000 applications to destroy Florida wetlands between 1999 and 2003..


It began with a tip about a report from the National Academy of Sciences titled "Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act." A real page turner.

Craig Pittman, who had been covering environment issues for The St. Petersburg Times for five years, was blown away by the document's indictment of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. He figured it was time to cover the statewide picture, not just report one loss at a time as wetlands disappeared.

When he checked the Corps' website, he discovered that more wetland destruction permits were being issued in Florida than in any other state and Florida had lost more wetlands than any other state.Thousands of acres had been bartered off to developers, never mind that yards in the new subdivisions could sprout cypress trees and float septic tanks.

A national policy of "no net loss" had been established in 1989. Clearly, the policy was in shambles. Wetlands in Florida were being converted to concrete jungle. More homes for people rather than alligators or panthers, more stores, more parking lots and more roads leading to more of the above. The Corps' mission: development enablers.

Although the Corps uses Geographic Information Systems to pinpoint wetlands, it didn't take long for Pittman to discover that the data were unreliable. His search for a GIS guru led to Matt Waite, a metro G.A. from one of the Times' bureaus assigned to computer-assisted reporting. The two teamed up to learn the technology and to begin the tussle for federal agency data.

Since the Corps' data were less than useful, Waite came up with a way to go after the story using satellite-imagery analysis. He had to take a couple of courses in remote sensing at the local university just to understand how to compute the number of acres lost. It took nearly a year to analyze where paradise had been paved.

The duo's investigative report ran May 22-23, 2005. Additional stories followed. Pittman and Waite won SEJ's top reporting awards in 2006 and 2007 for their exposé of the illusion of wetlands protection. The expanded book-length tale, 17 chapters with two appendices explaining the authors' complex methodology and a useful list of remote sensing sources, could have been called: "Tides of Destruction," "They Couldn't Say No," "A Landscape of Greed, Lies and Incompetence" or maybe "Swamped by Sprawl..."

Craig Pittman speaks at Stetson Law School

Award-winning St. Petersburg Times journalist Craig Pittman presented the Summer 2009 Biodiversity Lecture on June 22 at Stetson’s Tampa Law Center.


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GreenPolicy360: Using the earth observation capabilities that are now becoming widely available, Craig Pittman discusses how satellite imagery was used to study Florida’s wetlands. The database of satellite 'before and after' digital scanning imaging documents profound changes and losses to wetlands, with resulting losses to wildlife, biodiversity, and natural eco-systems. The damage is generational as the consequences range from more vulnerable coastline/shorelines as extreme weather events/hurricanes surge inland with new destructive force as nature's resilient-to-surge flooding barriers are removed. The role of wetlands in cleaning fresh water, throughout Florida, as wetlands recharge aquifers is being lost. Wetlands are interconnected to environmental health in immeasurable ways that science is realizing. Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite reveal the deep threat Florida, and Florida politics, faces and must deal with now before losses become irreversible. One way to protect wetlands is through what we call a "Living Coastline" ...

Living coastline

"Living Coastlines, Living Shorelines"

GreenPolicy360: Join Our "Living Coastlines, Living Shorelines" Action

Managed Wetlands Can Protect Shorelines and Communities

Eco-system Designs (e.g. Mangrove biospheres) Are Natural Solutions

Eco-systems Proved Defense Against Hurricanes/Typhoons/Extreme Weather/Ocean Surges/Flooding

Eco-systems Managed with Local Support Can Work Better than Sea Walls and Constructed Barriers

Mangroves and Coastal Wetlands tracked by Landsat.png

GreenPolicy360: With a special thanks to a 'father' of Landsat - Rep. George E. Brown



This category has only the following subcategory.


  • Oceans(18 C, 87 P, 665 F)

Pages in category "Estuary"

The following 5 pages are in this category, out of 5 total.

Media in category "Estuary"

The following 48 files are in this category, out of 48 total.