RMA Baywatch Program Water Quality Monitoring in the St. Andrew Bay Watershed, Bay County, FL
Established in 1990, the St. Andrew Bay Resource Management Association (RMA) Baywatch Program is a volunteer sampling program that monitors long-term trends in water quality and aquatic resources in the St. Andrew Bay watershed. Teams of volunteers collect water samples monthly at 84 sample stations throughout the St. Andrew Bay estuarine system, Lake Powell, and other lakes in the watershed. Seagrass coverage and composition in West Bay and near Shell Island is monitored.
St. Andrew Bay Resource Management Association Baywatch water quality monitoring stations designated for University of Florida (UF - Red Squares), general Baywatch (BW - Blue Circles), and SeaGrass (SG- Yellow Triangles) site monitoring.
Monthly Water Sampling and Data Collection Water samples are collected monthly at 84 sample stations throughout the St. Andrew Bay watershed. There are nine study areas including Lake Powell, Powell Creek East, West Bay, North Bay, East Bay, Grand Lagoon, St. Andrew Bay, Lake Marin, and Johnson Bayou. Stations include 24 open-water stations, 9 lake stations, 15 creek stations, and 17 stations within estuarine bayous. Water quality at 19 seagrass sites in WestBay and St. Andrew Bay is also monitored.
Sample sites are divided into two categories: 1) Baywatch & Lakewatch Water Quality Stations (N=65) 2) Seagrass Water Quality Stations (N=19)
Baywatch/Lakewatch Water Quality Stations (in coordination with University of Florida LAKEWATCH) Baywatch monitors 40 stations each month in partnership with the University of Florida's LAKEWATCH program. Data collected at each station includes temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, secchi depth, weather conditions, and sea state. Samples are collected at each station and evaluated for turbidity, nutrients, and chlorophyll. Results are available in STORET under organization code 21FLKWAT.
Seagrass Water Quality Stations (in coordination with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Northwest District Office, Pensacola) Monitoring of water quality at seagrass habitat is performed monthly in cooperation with the DEP, Northwest District Office. DEP staff collect water samples from 19 seagrass stations in West Bay and St. Andrew Bay. Data collected includes temperature, pH, DO, salinity, conductivity, secchi depth, weather conditions, and sea state. Nutrients and bacteria are monitored quarterly. Samples are returned to DEP's central lab in Tallahassee for evaluation of turbidity, color, BOD 5-day total, total suspended solids, and chlorophyll a. Results are available in STORET under organization code 21FLPNS. PROJECT PARTNERS Activities of the RMA Baywatch Program are accomplished in cooperation with the following Partners: Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) University of Florida, IFAS, Florida LAKEWATCH
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) Friends of St. Andrew Bay/Bay Environmental Study Team (BEST) AMIKids Panama City Marine Institute (PCMI)
Bay County Audubon Society
Sampling Crooked Creek
Sampling Powell Creek East
RMA Baywatch Program 2013 Schedules for Water Quality Sampling
Baywatch/LAKEWATCH Stations: West Bay, North Bay, St. Andrew Bay, East Bay, Grand Lagoon, Lake Marin, Lake Powell, Powell Creek East, Johnson Bayou.
Sample Dates (Fri - Sun)
Lab Days (Fri, Mon)
Seagrass Stations (Sampled with FL DEP): Water Quality at Seagrass Sites in West Bay, Grand Lagoon, Shell Island
Date 15 January 12 February 19 March (Nutrient and Bacteria) 23 April 14 May 18 June (Nutrient and Bacteria) 23 July 20 August 24 September (Nutrient and Bacteria) 22 October 19 November 17 December (Nutrient and Bacteria)
We Welcome New Volunteers!
The success of the Baywatch Program is due to our team of dedicated volunteers!
We have many types of volunteer opportunities to match your interests. Opportunities include collecting and processing water samples, assisting with education and outreach events, and office tasks. For more information, please contact Patrice Couch at Patrice.Couch@sabrma.org or phone 850-763-4303.
The award for 15 years of service with the Univ of FL LAKEWATCH Program
In Dec 2011, Chris Forman and Emily Ellis were recognized for 15 years of oustanding volunteer service. They have been sampling Lake Powell for over 17 years!