TAMPA, Fla. - Researchers say there’s been a significant decline in critical seagrasses in Tampa Bay.
Between 2018 and 2020, as much as 13% of the seagrass acreage was lost. That’s more than a 5,000-acre decline in seagrass, with the worst impacts in Old Tampa Bay.
Seagrasses are important for several reasons. They’re an essential food source for marine wildlife such as manatees and sea turtles. They also trap sediments, improve water clarity, and offset the impacts of climate change.
A seagrass die-off on the state's east coast is blamed for this year's unusually high number of manatee deaths. Experts say the sea cows are starving.
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program, which monitors the health of Tampa Bay, says the amount of seagrass fell below their recovery goal for the first time since 2012.
LINK: For more information on the findings, visit their website.