Science Inventory

Estuary Data Mapper: Historic seagrass coverage in estuaries of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts


Detenbeck, N. AND M. Charpentier. Estuary Data Mapper: Historic seagrass coverage in estuaries of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 2024.


Seagrass represent a critical habitat for fish and shellfish in estuaries, as well as an important carbon sink.  Seagrass coverage has declined in many coastal systems due to a combination of light limitation from algal blooms related to eutrophication or turbidity, competition with macroalgae, and wasting disease.  At the same time there have been cases of significant recovery of seagrass cover in some estuaries such as Tampa Bay.  This data set represents a compilation of publicly available data allowing researchers and managers to assess recent and historic condition, maximum historic extent of seagrass, and trends.  A similar compilation is available in Estuary Data Mapper for the Pacific Coast, and this database has been structured to be as similar in design to that dataset as possible given the limitations of existing data.


This Estuary Data Mapper product provides a summary of changes in the maximum extent of seagrass in estuaries of the Eastern and Gulf Coasts of the United States, compiled from multiple sources into a common format. Data were formatted to be consistent with datasets compiled in 2018 by the Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership (PMEP) for the Pacific Coast only. Their report is available for download at That product was created by the Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership, and is part of a spatial data system for estuarine and nearshore environments for the West Coast of the contiguous United States. For more information, email The format was modified by US EPA to facilitate visualization of seagrass extent (not just eelgrass) within the Estuary Data Mapper and analysis of trend. This is not a complete collection of seagrass data on the East Coast and Florida, but it is the best available information available from public sources at the time of compilation. The extent of eelgrass has been derived from multiple datasets and sources, from data collected over different time periods using a variety of data collection methods.  For a complete list of datasets and data sources, see pipe-delimited table under Lineage Section. Data have been reformatted by US EPA to facilitate display and assessment of trends. Geodatabase elements have been exported as shapefiles. Static variables were retained in the shapefile, and time-varying attributes are provided in an associated comma-delimited file with common link for matching.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:05/16/2024
Record Last Revised:05/16/2024
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 361441