Our History

Our History

Since 1989, St. Andrew Bay Resource Management Association, (RMA) has been monitoring the quality of St. Andrew Bay and surrounding lakes, creeks and tributaries. RMA enlists community volunteers which include our St. Andrew Bay Grasses in Classes students, to participate in field monitoring and assist in laboratory analyses of the water quality samples collected in the field. Community-based volunteer programs are essential to ensuring the health of local wetlands, streams, lakes, estuaries and oceans. Community-based volunteer programs raise community awareness of threats to our natural resources and nurture future stewards of these valuable resources. RMA is dedicated to partnering with local communities to assist in collecting credible data that can be used to better manage Florida's aquatic systems.  

RMA has an excellent record of data collection and community participation. The data collected by RMA is used to understand pollution sources in St. Andrew Bay and how the quality of the water has affected the biological resources of the Bay, including how the water quality affects the recovery of seagrasses as well as scallop and oyster recruitment in the Bay. Throughout the years, monetary donations from volunteers like you as well as grants from state, local and federal agencies have allowed RMA to maintain continuous water quality data collection from over sixty-seven water quality monitoring stations in multiple aquatic systems (Lake Powell (Outstanding Florida Water), Powell Creek, Grand Lagoon, North Bay, East Bay, West Bay, Johnson Bayou, Crooked Creek, Burnt Mill Creek, Lake Marin, and St. Andrew Bay) throughout the bay. 

The water quality data collected by RMA over the past 29 years has been used by local, state, and federal stakeholders to manage coastal resources and help ensure safe and efficient use of these resources. Historically, water quality data has been used for planning purposes for Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) evaluation of impaired waters and to develop and implement Florida's numeric criteria for proposed water quality standards, impairment assessment of surface waters, development of Total Maximum Daily Loads and development of Basin Management Action Plans (FDEP 2018). Currently, RMA is monitoring a total of 67 water quality stations in St. Andrew Bay with 40 of those stations being monitored in conjunction with Florida LAKEWATCH (12 freshwater stations and 28 coastal bodies), 19 stations are monitored in partnership with Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Pensacola (water quality in relation to seagrass habitat) and 26 (Bay Watch) stations monitored by RMA community volunteers.

Continued water quality monitoring is an important part of RMA’s role in understanding the bay’s natural processes. Monitoring water quality allows researchers to document short-term variability and long-term changes in the status of the bay’s health and facilitates in implementing appropriate protection for waterways. The collected data can be used to gain a better understanding of how water quality is impacted and will help us understand the important role we play in water conservation. Water quality issues influence human and environmental health, therefore, monitoring changes to the bay’s waterways and having an adequate monitoring program is essential to being able to recognize and prevent water quality issues.

Since 1989, RMA has established several other programs such as Living Shoreline Initiative (2014), Turtle Watch (1991), Seagrass Monitoring (2016), Oyster & Scallop Restoration (2016) and the St. Andrew Bay Grasses in Classes Program (2015).