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Apalachicola Bay is located on Florida's northwest coast. The Apalachicola Bay system also includes St. Georges Sound, St. Vincent Sound and East Bay, covering an area of about 539 sq. km. Three islands (St. Vincent, St. George and Dog I.) separate the system from the Gulf of Mexico. Water exchange occurs through Indian Pass, West Pass, East Pass and the Duer Channel. The bay has been designated as a National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Apalachicola River is the largest source of freshwater to the estuary. Combined with the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers, they drain a watershed of over 51,800 sq. km at a rate of 555 cubic m/sec (USGS, 2002).
The region features 1,162 species of plants, and includes the largest natural stand of tupelo trees in the world. The area is also home to 308 species of birds, 186 species of fish, 57 species of mammals, and boasts the highest species density of amphibians and reptiles in all of North America, north of Mexico (Apalachicola Reserve, 2002).
Coordinates: 29.72° N 84.98° W
Selected Characteristics: (USEPA, 1999)
Surface Area: 554 km2
Drainage Area: 53,100 km2
Average Daily FW Inflow: 824 m3/s
Average Depth: 3.0 m
Average Salinity: 22 ppt
Coastal Wetlands: 2,396 km2
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation: 36 km2
Apalachicola Reserve. 2002. Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Located on the web at: http://www.ocrm.nos.noaa.gov/nerr/reserves/nerrapalachicola.html
USEPA. 1999. Ecological condition of estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico. EPA 620-R-98-004. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology Division, Gulf Breeze, Florida. 80 pp.
USFW. 1982. Gulf Coast Ecological Inventory Map; Apalachicola, FL area. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1982.
USGS. 2002. United States Geological Survey, NAWQA Apalachicola River Basin Study. Located on the web at: http://wwwga.usgs.gov/nawqa/index.html
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - St. George Island State Park
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge
Apalachicola Bay benthic mapping project (GIS)
National Estuarine Research Reserve System - Apalachicola Reserve
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Apalachicola Bay Aquatic Preserve
Keywords: Apalachicola, St. George, Island, Bay, Estuaries, Birds, Mammals, Amphibians, Reptiles, Fishes, Tupelo
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