Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2014


Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves (BBAP) is a highly altered but diverse ecosystem comprised of nearly 70,000 acres of submerged lands within Miami-Dade County. Part of the newly developed BBAP Management Plan is to explore habitat loss due to coastal construction within the boundaries of BBAP. This study aimed to assess the habitat loss using available imagery. Imagery captured through remote sensing was used as a rapid assessment tool to evaluate the changes in Biscayne Bay’s coastline and benthic resources in 1985 and 2012. The study area includes industrial, residential, and natural features. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software were utilized to classify benthic communities of Biscayne Bay from the 1985 Landsat imagery with 30 m resolution and the 2012 aerial imagery with 30 cm Historical resource maps were also used to aid in depicting the benthic resources. From these maps and imageries, the study area was classified into seagrass, mangroves, and tidal flats. The results showed no significant increase in altered coastline. There appeared to be an increase in benthic resources, contrary to what has been documented, and likely as a result poor resolution of both 1985 imagery and documentation of historical resource maps. An alternative way habitat loss was estimated was by obtaining the information from state and county coastal construction application permits. Imagery created by remote sensing may be a useful tool to detect change in the coastline and benthic resources over time if the resolution between years is the same, but results must be verified using actual data collected to ensure accuracy.


Department: MAF

MPS Track: CZM

Location: Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves

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