The ecosystem’s claim to fame is simple: biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the number of different kinds of plant and animals that live here. There are over 6,300 species of land and aquatic plants, marine life and wildlife that have – so far – been identified as present within our ecosystem. And the list is growing as scientists continue to inventory species.
In the bay alone, over 2,900 different species are dependent on our waters. They include more than 300 species of fishes, an incredibly high number for any water body in North America. And the plant and wildlife diversity of the watershed is equally, astonishingly high.
There is no large river flowing into the bay to provide significant freshwater, which makes bay water very salty. The flow of the major water source – Econfina Creek – is about 5% of that of neighboring Apalachicola River. Just five percent. And are tides are small, very small. And because our bay never receives the water-carried sediments of a large river, it has remained very deep and very clear.
So we have a bay much like the Gulf with many marine species present, and a watershed which is equally diverse. But many species are delicate. Many are not very tolerant of pollution, and they have particular conditions required fir their survival.
We can lose a great number of species within our nationally-significant ecosystem if we don’t care for it properly. If the water becomes turbid or if sediments become contaminated, we can lose everything. Property values, recreation, and fishing are also at stake.
We don’t want to lose our biological treasure and the social benefits it provides, but we need your resources within a very special ecosystem.