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Learn more about these OCEAN and COASTAL RESEARCH areas...

Habitat Protection and Restoration

NOAA Science Supporting Everglades Restoration

As a part of the South Florida Program, NOAA has taken a lead role to rigorously investigate the causes of present changes in the Everglades/Florida Bay coastal ecosystem and quantitatively predict the consequences of upstream restoration activities upon that ecosystem. NOAA has taken a leadership role in this effort by conducting biological, chemical, and physical studies in collaboration with other oceanographic monitoring efforts in south Florida's coastal environment.

NOAA is also a partner in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which aims to restore the quality, quantity, timing, and distribution of water that flows through the entire south Florida ecosystem, and eventually drains into coastal areas, including Florida Bay. The primary objective of the restoration is to not only restore the south Florida ecosystem, but also to provide an adequate water supply and flood control to the rapidly growing south Florida population.

NOAA scientists provide scientific evaluations of the effects of restoration actions upon Florida Bay and adjacent coastal marine ecosystems, including the Florida Keys' coral reefs. Understanding the physics and ecology of Florida Bay and its surrounding ecosystems is essential to making restoration a success. The downstream position of the Florida Keys makes them the recipient of all the upstream changes within the Everglades and thus an integrating indicator of overall restoration success.

NOAA’s South Florida Research

Over the years, NOAA has supported a diverse suite of research monitoring and modeling efforts in south Florida. Activities currently underway include: sustained long-term oceanographic observations of current transport and water quality; short term studies of critical processes such as phytoplankton blooms, grazing, and nutrient cycling; computer modeling; and education and outreach. While NOAA’s financial contribution to Florida’s overall restoration effort is relatively small, with regard to the coastal ecosystem, NOAA has exercised leadership and has been the major contributor to the interagency science effort. NOAA offices involved in this long term effort include the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.


The R/V Virgina K is a useful platform for visiting monitoring stations in the extremely shallow waters of Florida Bay


The University of Miami Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science owns and operates R/V FG Walton Smith, an excellent platform for both the shallow and deep water monitoring required for NOAA’s South Florida Program research.


This map depicts the surface salinity from data collected over a two day period during the dry, winter season in Florida Bay. It is a product of NOAA's efforts to describe the natural fluctuations in the shallow waters of the Bay. (larger image)


NOAA Research programs that study Habitat Protection and Restoration

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory


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