A Boating and Angling Guide to Bay County A Boating and Angling Guide to Bay County Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo Sport Fish Restoration Logo Wildlife Foundation Logo
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Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission

Fish and Wildlife
Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Partial funding for this project was obtained through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Fund.

Additional funding for this project was obtained from a Conserve Wildlife license tag grant through the Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
Welcome to Bay County
The St. Andrew Bay watershed is an interconnected system of bays, creeks, and lakes that include St. Andrew Bay, West Bay, North Bay, East Bay, and Deer Point Lake. Together, this watershed drains an area of approximately 1,100 square miles.

An estuary is a semi-enclosed body of water where fresh and salt water mix. In the St. Andrew Bay watershed, Deer Point Lake, creeks, and bayous provide large volumes of fresh water, and tides push salt water in from the Gulf of Mexico. The fresh and salt water create a rich mixing zone of nutrients.

Juvenile fish and invertebrates use estuaries as nursery grounds. Here, among the diverse array of estuarine habitats (wetlands, oyster bars, mud flats, and seagrasses), they find shelter from predators. They also feed upon the rich supply of microscopic algae. Bacteria in the sediments break down leaves and other plant parts, releasing nutrients into the water. Seagrasses, marsh plants, and phytoplankton capture energy from the sun and nutrients from the water and convert them into food. Zooplankton and small invertebrates feed on the phytoplankton. They are ultimately consumed by fish, birds, and other large predators. This ample supply of nutrients and the abundance of sheltered habitats makes a healthy estuary one of the most productive natural systems on earth.
Panama City from the International Space Station
Panama City from the International Space Station, NASA

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This Web site was last updated on September, 2013.

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