Coastal Water Quality

With the majority of the Florida population living with a short distance of the coast, the likelihood for nutrient overloading to occur in coastal waters is enhanced. Point and non-point storm-water runoff, as well as septic tank and agricultural/residential fertilizer seepage, contribute to the nutrient loading in the coastal waters. Such conditions can contribute to the development of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and further exacerbate naturally occurring algal blooms, such as red tides.

These HABs can have a negative impact on various sectors of the vitally important economy of Florida’s coastal corridor. Commercial seafood production, molluscan shellfish culture, waterfront-proximate businesses, beach-going, boating, and other coastal tourism-related business sectors can be significantly impacted by red tides, in particular.

FRED applied research helps municipal, county, and state managers, as well as water-dependent business owners, appreciate the importance of high quality coastal water. In addition, FRED research and extension efforts help to create a better understanding of the negative economic consequences to coastal communities and Florida resulting from red tides and HABs in general. Such information helps decision makers more effectively allocate scarce public funds toward better understanding and managing HABs so that Florida’s coastal waters are maintained at the highest quality as possible for all to use and enjoy.


Imperiled Water Quality of Biscayne Bay The Economics of What’s at Stake

Larkin, S.L., K.M. Lucas, C.M. Adams & J.S. Stevely. 2013. Strategies to Address Red Tide Events in Florida: Results of a 2010 Survey of Coastal Residents. UF/IFAS EDIS FE891.

Adams, C. and S. Larkin. 2013. Economics of Harmful Algal Blooms: Literature Review. IFAS/FRED.

S. Larkin & C. Adams. 2013. Summary of Literature that Addresses the Economic Consequences of Harmful Algal Blooms. UF/IFAS EDIS FE936.

Morgan, K., B. King, S.L. Larkin, and C.M. Adams. 2011. “Empirical Analysis of Media versus Environmental Impacts on Park Attendance.” Tourism Management, 32: 852-859.

Morgan, K.L., S.L. Larkin, and C.M. Adams. 2010. “Red Tides and Participation in Marine Related Activities: Estimating the Response of Southwest Florida Residents”. Harmful Algae, 9(3):333-341.

Morgan, K.L., S.L. Larkin, and C.M. Adams. 2009. "Firm-level economic effects of HABS: A tool for business loss assessment." Harmful Algae, 8:212-218.

Larkin, S.L. and C.M. Adams. 2008. “Public Awareness and Knowledge of Red Tide Blooms”. 2008. Journal of Extension. Online Article (, Article # 2COM2. ( Volume 46(2). 11 pp.

Larkin, S. and C. Adams. 2007. “Harmful Algal Blooms and Coastal Business: Economic Consequences in Florida”. Journal of Society and Natural Resources, 20:849-859.