Progress – Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Tampa Bay was designated an “estuary of national significance” by Congress in 1990, laying the foundation for the creation of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) in 1991.


Their mission is to build partnerships to restore and protect Tampa Bay through implementation of a scientifically sound, community-based management plan.  To learn more visit:



Meet the Tampa Bay Estuary Program...


Tampa Bay Estuary Program : An Introduction (1:44)



Tampa Bay Estuary Program: Collaboration (3:32)



Tampa Bay Estuary Program: Education (3:03)



Tampa Bay Estuary Program: In Conclusion (1:59)

2020 Tampa Bay Habitat Master Plan Update


Click here for the 2020 Tampa Bay Habitat Master Plan Update

The habitats of Tampa Bay, such as seagrasses, mangroves, salt marshes, and wet prairies, provide food, shelter, and other important services that support numerous birds, fish, mammals, and invertebrates. Prior to the 1980s, significant damage was done to these natural habitats during development activities. To continue the improvements that have occurred since that time, the 2020 Habitat Master Plan Update (HMPU) includes a target of restoring 3,150 acres of wetlands and uplands in the next decade. This includes:

  • 50 acres of oyster reefs
  • 1,000 acres of tidal wetlands, such as salt marshes, salt barrens, and mangroves
  • 1,500 acres of freshwater wetlands, including t freshwater marshes, wet prairies, and cypress forests
  • 600 acres of uplands, including coastal hammocks and pine flatwoods



Hillsborough County and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful developed a great video about plastics pollution in Tampa Bay and how people can help.


Tampa Bay Estuary Program has also helped fund micro-plastics research in Tampa Bay being conducted by Eckerd College.  Learn about their research and how you can help here.



Tampa Bay: Living Legacy

Want to dive in more deeply?  Grab your popcorn and watch "Tampa Bay: Living Legacy" as it chronicles Tampa Bay's evolution from a relatively unspoiled paradise to a waterway battered by pollution, to the rejuvenated centerpiece of an entire region. The film issues a call to action to maintain the progress made in restoring Tampa Bay, Florida's largest open-water estuary.

Tampa Bay: Living Legacy  (58:54)Che




Activity 1 - Citizen Science Nurdle Patrol!

 TBEP partnered with the Nurdle Patrol, a citizen science project aimed at mapping and removing nurdles, raw plastic pellets, throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily, volunteer efforts show that there have been very few nurdles found in Tampa Bay to date. Want to participate?  Watch the video below and then get outside, search for nurdles and send your data to Nurdle Patrol here!



Activity 2 - Click here for a brief field guide and coloring book that's fun for all ages!  


Activity 3 - Watch the video below to see what you can do to protect seagrasses.


Any questions?  Please let us know and we'll do our best to get them answered during the Q&A session October 10th!

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