The Big Bend coastal region is one of the largest and most productive areas for marine shellfish in the Gulf of Mexico. The region supports the second largest continuous area of seagrasses in the eastern Gulf, making it one of the most pristine places in Florida. The shoreline is predominately salt marsh and tidal creeks with only a few beaches, protected by a myriad of oyster bars and rocky islands. These habitats provide essential nearshore nurseries for many commercially and recreationally important species during their juvenile stages. The coastal waters are surrounded by a mix of federal and state owned uplands, as well as conservation areas and easements, providing a significant buffer to encroaching development while protecting shellfish and other marine resources from adverse land-use practices. This contributes to the uniqueness of the region, warranting its nickname “The Nature Coast.”
Things YOU can do to help promote Clean Coastal Waters:
- Install advanced septic tanks in coastal areas where sewer systems are not available.
- Promote landscaping that eliminates or reduces the need for irrigation and fertilizers.
- Encourage agriculture activities to follow Best Management Practices.
- Call for living shorelines instead of seawalls.
- Participate in coastal cleanups and recycle.
- Educate residents and visitors about the importance of clean coastal waters.
- Call for pet waste removal and provide “pooper scooper baggies” at public areas.
- Become involved in local, regional and state planning, zoning and preservation processes.
- Spread the word!