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Application of Probabilistic Monitoring Program Designs in Tampa Bay, Florida

Anthony J. Janicki 1, David L. Wade 1,
Steven A. Grabe 2, Robert G. McConnell 3, and Andrew P. Squires 4

1 Janicki Environmental, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida
2 Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County
3 Tampa Bay Water, Clearwater, Florida
4 Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management, Clearwater, Florida

Several monitoring programs currently operating on Tampa Bay and some of its tributaries have been designed using probability-based approaches. These include an annual EMAP-based benthic monitoring program, a hydrobiological monitoring program established to assess the potential impacts of freshwater diversions and a seawater desalination discharge, and an assessment of water quality in the shallow, nearshore area of a coastal county where critical habitats are found. In each of these cases, the critical element in their designs was the clear and concise statement of program goals.

The Tampa Bay Benthic Monitoring Program has been operating since 1993. Areal estimates of estuarine benthic community and habitat condition have been derived working with EPA staff. Recent development of a benthic index allows more meaningful interpretation of the monitoring results for local resource managers and policy makers. The Tampa Bay Water Hydrobiological Program has been operating since 2000 and includes water quality, benthic, and fish sampling elements. Pinellas County recently initiated monitoring of water quality in the shallow waters (< 2 m depth) along its coastline that extends from Tampa Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The County recognized the importance of these shallow waters with respect to seagrass and the biota that utilize the nearshore habitat.

Keywords: Tampa Bay, monitoring design, local governments

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