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Florida Bay is a shallow lagoon system located at the southern extreme of the state of Florida. The bay is bordered by mainland Florida to the north, the Florida Keys to the east and south, and is open to the Gulf of Mexico to the west.
The bay serves as the estuary for the Florida Everglades and, as a result, a large portion is included in the Everglades National Park. The remaining portion of the bay is considered to be part of the Florida Keys. The bay is regarded as the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist. Gray snapper, great barracuda and other species of recreational and commercially important fish can also be found in this area in high numbers. Mangrove islands are interspersed throughout Florida Bay and serve as important nursery grounds for many aquatic species.
Coordinates: 24.83° N 80.78° W
Selected Characteristics: (USEPA, 1999)
Surface Area: 1,393 km2
Drainage Area: 2,800 km2
Average Depth: 2.0 m
Average Salinity: 31 ppt
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation: 1,052 km2
Porter, J.W., K.G. Porter (eds). 2002. The Everglades, Florida Bay, and Coral Reefs of the Florida Keys, An Ecosystem Sourcebook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 1000 pp.
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.
USGS. 2002. Located on the web at: http://sofia.usgs.gov/virtual_tour/flbay/index.html
Everglades National Park
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Everglades - National Wildlife Federation
Keywords: Bay, Estuary, Seagrass, Everglades, Florida Keys, Mangrove, Water bird, Manatee, Turtle, Alligator, Crocodile
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