The state of Tampa Bays seagrass meadows have become an important issue in the past three decades as scientists and environmental managers have worked to reverse the detrimental effects of eutrophication upon this important habitat within the estuarine ecosystem. Seagrass coverage in Tampa Bay declined from about 16,000ha in 1950 to near 8800ha in 1982. This decline was a result of anthropogenic impacts such as dredge and fill operations and excessive nutrient discharge to the bay. However, nutrient load reductions began to ameliorate eutrophic conditions during the 1980s and as water clarity improved, seagrass began to recolonize several areas of the bay. The Tampa Bay National Estuary Program (now named Tampa Bay Estuary Program or TBEP) established restoration goals for Tampa Bay that were to be achieved through reduction and control of nutrients discharged to Tampa Bay. Seagrass was chosen as the biological barometer to gauge the effectiveness of the nutrient reduction strategy. It was postulated that improved water clarity resulting from reduced phytoplankton biomass would allow restoration of seagrass coverage. Using the nutrient reduction paradigm, the TBEP set a restoration goal of similar seagrass acreage to that found in 1950. In 1997, the TBEP coordinated the creation of a bay-wide fixed transect seagrass monitoring program. The primary goal of the program is to document temporal and spatial changes in seagrass species composition, abundance, and distribution along a depth gradient. Several bay area agencies committed personnel and equipment to the program. Data collection from sixty transects began in 1998.