Estuaries Report Card

A guide to understanding the health of Southwest Florida’s rivers, estuaries and bays

Why It Matters

Southwest Florida is home to some of the most unique habitats and natural resources in America, making it a top destination for ecotourism, scientific research, and recreational enjoyment. It also hosts some of the most productive estuaries, and many species of wildlife, plant species and aquatic life rely on this area where freshwater meets saltwater. A mosaic of mangroves, freshwater wetlands, saltwater marshes, rivers, and streams intertwine with canals, coastal development, agriculture and other human-influenced environments to create an interrelated and challenging system to manage and preserve.

The beauty and productivity of Florida’s coastal ecosystems are driving forces in the state’s economic growth. Our economy, human health and our quality of life in Southwest Florida depend on the health of our waterways.

Number of Florida jobs that depend on tourism
Estimated decrease in property values in Lee county attributed to water quality (2010-2013)
Economic impact of the marine industry in the South Florida region, which employs 136,000 regionally
Economic impact of the commercial fishing industry, which employs 123,000

interested in learning more? dive deep into the documents and resources on this topic and others by heading to the Policy Resource Center!