Estuarine Biotope Mosaics and Habitat Management Goals: An Application in Tampa Bay, FL, USA
Many types of anthropogenic stress to estuaries lead to destruction and conversion of habitats, thus altering habitat landscapes and changing the “arena” in which the life history interactions of native fauna take place. This can lead to decreased populations of valued fauna and other negative consequences. The Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) pioneered a system-wide management framework that develops estuarine habitat restoration and protection goals based on supporting estuarine-dependent species and the habitat landscapes they require (for example, the extent of seagrass beds, mangrove forests, oyster reefs, or oligohaline marshes) within an estuary. We describe this framework and provide related statistics as methods to help managers set system-wide ecological goals using larger conceptual approaches that are easily communicated to stakeholders and the public; we also discuss applications of the approach to existing and evolving paradigms of estuarine management. The TBEP and partners used this framework to combine a simple and unifying vision with a diverse and complex set of management tools, resulting in greatly improved environmental conditions within Tampa Bay.
KeywordsTampa Bay Habitat Biotope Mosaic Landscape Resource-based management
We acknowledge the contributions of the many people who have worked to develop these concepts. We are deeply indebted to many people in the Tampa Bay science and management community, especially Robin Lewis and Doug Robison. Margherita Pryor and Susan Jackson of the US EPA have been instrumental in moving these approaches forward. We also thank Marc Russell of the US EPA Gulf Ecology Division for his contributions. Tim Gleason and Marty Chintala also provided important support. Helpful reviews of this manuscript were conducted by Glen Thursby, Jim Latimer, and Rick McKinney.
This is contribution number AED-10-060 of the US EPA, Atlantic Ecology Division. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use. Although the research described in this article has been partially funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, it has not been subjected to agency-level review. Therefore, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the agency.
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