Tampa Bay Hydro-Biological Monitoring

Tampa Bay Hydro-Biological Monitoring

The Tampa Bay Hydro-Biological Monitoring Program (HBMP) is a comprehensive ecological monitoring program designed to assess permit compliance and potential impacts associated with three coastal river surface water withdrawals, as well as the largest desalination plant in North America.


This project has generated nearly 20 years of data to assess permit compliance as well as potential hydrologic, water quality, and biological impacts resulting from major surface water supply projects in Tampa Bay. Field data collection and analytical methods refined during the implementation of the HBMP have been presented at numerous professional conferences, and have advanced the science of tidal river ecology in Gulf coast estuaries, as well as related monitoring and assessment techniques.

Doug Robison
ESA Project Director
Why does this project matter?

Through the continued implementation of the HBMP, which was initiated in 2000, ESA is ensuring that major surface water supply projects critical to the delivery of potable water to over 2 million people are not adversely impacting the environment, and that Tampa Bay Water – the regional water authority – is in permit compliance.

What is ESA doing to help?

We are working with Tampa Bay Water to determine if the permitted surface water supply projects are in compliance with Southwest Florida Water Management District rules. The permit compliance goal of the HBMP is to reduce flows in the Tampa Bypass Canal, Hillsborough River, and Alafia River attributable to Tampa Bay Water’s permitted surface water withdrawals do not deviate from the normal rate and range of fluctuation.

The HBMP involves extensive field data collection, including rainfall, flows, data retrieval from continuous recorders, water quality, and various biological indicators. The program also includes comprehensive statistical data analysis, empirical and hydrodynamic modeling, and both annual and five-year interpretive report generation.


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