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St. Andrews Bay
St. Andrews Bay is located directly adjacent to Panama City, Florida with St. Andrews Sound located southeast of the bay. Covering approximately 280 sq. km (Keppner and Keppner, 2001), the estuary includes West Bay, North Bay, St. Andrews Bay and East Bay, and extends for approximately 49.6 km along the Gulf coast. Unique among Florida estuaries, St. Andrews Bay lacks input from any major river system, but does receive freshwater from numerous creeks, bayous and wastewater treatment plants. The restricted amount of freshwater allows the influence of Gulf of Mexico water to dominate the bay. Connection with the Gulf is via two passes on the eastern and western ends of Shell Island.
The bay has been designated as an Aquatic Preserve in Florida and has the largest seagrass stock in the Florida panhandle. Salt marshes and tidal flats are also dominant in the bay system. The estuary supports approximately 3,643 species, including birds, fish and shellfish species, a significant number of which are rare, endemic and/or protected species.
Coordinates: 30.15° N 85.67° W
Selected Characteristics: (USEPA, 1999)
Surface Area: 243 km2
Drainage Area: 2,800 km2
Average Daily FW Inflow: 127 m3/s
Average Depth: 4.0 m
Average Salinity: 31 ppt
Coastal Wetlands: 1,016 km2
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation: 53 km2
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.
Keppner, E. and L. Keppner. 2001. Bay Environmental Study Team (BEST) Reports BEST Report 004: The St. Andrew Bay Ecosystem: "A Look to the Future". Located on the web at: http://www.ecoastlife.com/keppner/BESTReports.html
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (Florida DEP). Located on the web at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/standrews/
Northwest Florida Water Management District - St. Andrew Bay Watershed
Florida Department of Environmental Protection - St. Andrews State Park Aquatic Reserve
Keywords: Bays, Estuaries, Sound, Island, Protected species
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