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August 22, 2019

This page last modified:
April 06, 2001

Volume 1, No. 1
Autumn 1998

What is the Florida Bay Program Management Committee?

Have you ever wondered how all of those federal and state agencies get together to solve a problem? Perhaps you’ve wondered if they ever do. The answer is yes when it comes to solving problems in Florida Bay.

To coordinate the extensive research projects being conducted in and about Florida Bay, the National Park Service created the Program Management Committee (PMC) in 1994. The PMC function is to oversee the thirteen federal and state organizations currently conducting research in Florida Bay and adjacent coastal waters.

The PMC members created a plan to provide central clearinghouse for sharing research information. This information is provided to agencies responsible for making decisions that affect Florida Bay’s environment, researchers and other interested individuals.

The PMC has identified five questions whose answers are critical to making informed management decisions. Basically the questions are:

  • Where is the water coming from and where is it going?
  • Where are the nutrients coming from and what effects do they have in the Bay?
  • What is causing the algal blooms in the Bay?
  • What is causing the changes in seagrass beds and other bottom habitats in the Bay?
  • How does all of this affect the animals?

Looking at a list of member organizations may give some a flash back to that alphabet soup bowl of youth. Members include: Everglades National Park, South Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, United States Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Marine Fisheries Service, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Biscayne National Park, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey Center for Coastal Geology, U.S. Geological Survey - Biological Division, and Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management. The committee members represent these various agencies which are contributing to the flow of information about Florida Bay. In addition to their responsibilities to the PMC, each committee member is an accomplished research scientist in his or her own right.

The PMC provides guidance to their member organizations to ensure that the science programs of each agency stays focused on the important environmental issues of South Florida. They review the research of each scientist investigating an aspect of this ecosystem to verify that the work is addressing some piece of the puzzle and to ensure that the quality of the work and the methods used allow for comparisons with other parts of the overall research program. For more information, consult the list of PMC members listed in the box on the next page.

Project profiles are currently being completed for the on-going Florida Bay research projects. Each issue of the Seahorse Sentinel newsletter will feature one of these research projects. These project profiles contain information pertaining to one of the five basic questions, research methodology and the possible restoration impacts.

For more information on the PMC, please visit their web site at:

Program Management Committee Members

Tom Armentano (Co-Chair)
Everglades National Park
40001 SR 9336
Homestead, FL 33034
(305) 242-7801

Lizabeth Manners
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

John Hunt (Co-Chair)
2796 Overseas Highway, Suite 119
Marathon, FL 33050
(305) 289-2330

Robert Halley
USGS - Center for Coastal Geology

Robert Brock
Everglades National Park

Michael Robblee
USGS - Biological Division

Bill Kruczynski

Dave Rudnick
SFWM District

Steve Traxler (alternate)
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

Nancy Thompson
NOAA/Southeast Fisheries Research Center

Peter Ortner (alternate)
NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Richard Curry
Biscayne National Park

Dawn Marie Welcher (ex officio)
NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic an Meteorological Laboratory

Benjamin Haskell

Susan Markley
Miami-Dade DERM

Todd Hopkins

Seasonal Sightings

Fall in Florida Bay is a great time to feather your nest, especially if you are among the 120 water bird species found in South Florida. Roseate Spoonbills, Ajaia ajaja, begin nesting along the coast in November and continue through April, laying eggs and hatching their young. This tropical wading bird uses marine and estuarine areas for its primary habitat but also may be seen nesting in some fresh water areas of the Everglades. Spoonbills are among the wading birds who join rookeries, or nesting groups, which can be spotted on mangrove islands in Florida Bay.

Love is in the air for Eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, and Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, who also begin their courtship near the end of November. The nests of these majestic birds of prey often may been seen along U.S. Highway 1 high in trees or atop service poles. Nests may also be spotted throughout Florida Bay high in the foliage of mangrove islands. They will lay their eggs in late January.

Brown pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis, get into the act in December when they begin their nesting season which will continue on through March. They also can be spotted nesting within the mangrove canopy of islands in Florida Bay and join in the wading bird rookeries.

Amore is not limited to the animal kingdom, however. Widgeon grass, Ruppia maritima, an underwater seagrass, flowers in Florida Bay in the Fall. Seagrasses reproduce by either flowering, or more commonly, by sending out shoots through an underground root system. Seagrass flowers are a more subtle sign of continuing life in Florida Bay so look carefully when snorkeling.

In the midst of the environmental struggles of Florida Bay, it is good to remember that life abounds there with many wondrous and interesting sights to see. Fall is a great time to get to know the Bay better.

The Florida Bay Education Project is an archived site. For more information go to NOAA's South Florida Ecosystem Education Project at