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Pensacola Bay

Pensacola Bay
From: USEPA, 1999; Florida DEP, 2003

Pensacola Bay is located in the Western Florida panhandle near the Florida-Alabama border. The Pensacola Bay system is the fourth largest in Florida, one third of which is in Florida, and two thirds of which are in Alabama. The system includes Escambia Bay, Blackwater Bay, East Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. Major rivers comprising the system are the Escambia, Yellow, Blackwater and East rivers which provide freshwater into the system. The bay is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a combination of a peninsula, the Santa Rosa Sound and Santa Rosa Island. Water exchange with the Gulf takes place between Santa Rosa Island and Perdido Key.

The system is designated as an Aquatic Preserve in Florida. Extensive salt and freshwater marshes and seagrasses characterize the bay system and provide a nursery and migratory corridor for many birds species. The area is home to fishes, reptiles and marine mammals.

Coordinates:   30.45° N  87.15° W

Selected Characteristics: (USEPA, 1999)
Surface Area:   370 km2
Drainage Area:   18,100 km2
Average Daily FW Inflow:   328 m3/s
Average Depth:   4.0 m
Average Salinity:   23 ppt
Coastal Wetlands:   991 km2
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation:  32 km2

Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Located on the web at:

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.

Additional Information:
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Big Lagoon State Park
Florida Division of Forestry - Blackwater River State Forest
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Yellow River Marsh
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Fort Pickens Aquatic Preserve
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Perdido Key State Park

Keywords:   Peninsula, Bays, Estuaries, Pensacola, Seagrass, Salt marsh

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