Southern Coastal Systems: Poor
Overall, the Southern Coastal Systems regions (Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and the Southwest Coast) are in poor to fair condition. Reduced freshwater flow combined with sea level rise has resulted in increased salinity throughout the region. Elevated salinity, due to a local drought in 2014 and 2015, negatively impacted crocodiles, gulf pipefish, and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in Biscayne Bay and Florida Bay. Spoonbill nesting, prey community, and spotted seatrout are in poor to very poor condition. Gold spotted killifish, gulf pipefish, and fish in the Southwest Coast region were in fair to good condition. To improve the ecological processes and overall health of the Southern Coastal Systems region, restoration of freshwater flow will need to continue in the years to come.