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Naples Bay
Naples Bay is a relatively narrow, shallow estuary ranging in width from 100 to 1500 feet, and in depth from 1 to 231953_2010.jpg feet. The Bay’s watershed once drained about 10 square miles, but it now extends to approximately 120 square miles as a result of the construction of the Golden Gate Canal system and its connection to the bay. On average, 200 million gallons of freshwater per day enter Naples Bay from the canal and disrupt the delicate balance of salt and freshwater that estuarine flora and fauna depend upon to flourish. The watershed of swamps, marshes and sloughs that once supported a natural ecosystem is now largely an urban/suburban landscape. The Naples Bay estuary is considered impaired by the State of Florida due to excessive nutrients, bacteria, and heavy metals -- a product of excessive stormwater runoff from the urban landscape. A study produced for the City of Naples by The Conservancy of Southwest Florida indicates that, since 1950, Naples Bay has lost 90% of its seagrass beds, 80% of its oyster reefs, and 70% of its mangrove fringe. Naples Bay is considered typical of estuarine systems along the coast of Florida that have been heavily altered by drainage and urban development. However, efforts are under way by the City to improve the water quality of the bay and increase the quality and quantity of seagrass, oysters, and mangroves living within it and along its shorelines. Over the last few years, the City’s Natural Resources Division has taken many steps to improve the waters and habitat of the Naples Bay estuary. In the years to come, the Division intends to do much more to improve the health of the bay and its functions as an estuarine ecosystem. watershed before and after.jpg

Naples Bay Twenty Year Restoration Plan