Fisheries Forum to discuss fish communities and habitat in upper Phillippi Creek

The Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum — a group for anglers, scientists and others seeking to proactively address fisheries management and science topics in the Sarasota Bay area — is gearing up for its December meeting.

Attendees will learn about "Fish Communities and Habitat of Upper Phillippi Creek and Associated Storm Water Canals of Sarasota, Florida," from guest speaker Dr. Jim Locascio, Manager of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Fisheries Habitat Ecology and Acoustics Research Program. The results of fish community surveys and habitat use patterns will be presented, along with implications for habitat enhancement and restoration of portions of the creek used primarily for storm water management.

Upper Phillippi Creek is the upstream portion of the system from the intersection of Bahia Vista Street and west of Beneva Road. This freshwater part of the creek system is more highly modified as an urban waterway, used to accommodate stormwater management, including straightened and channelized canals to improve stormwater drainage, sediment traps, and retention ponds known as the Celery Fields located east of Interstate 75.

While flood control is an ongoing priority for management in upper Phillippi Creek, there has been recent interest in the upper creek's fish communities and in how to guide habitat restoration and enhancement projects. Locascio and his colleagues conducted a study that evaluated the current fish communities, distribution abundance, habitat use and patterns of species in upper Phillippi Creek. Locascio plans to share his findings with this month’s forum attendees as well as potential ways to improve fish habitat and their communities in this urban waterway that could even save the city money.

“The upstream of Phillippi Creek is similar to other urban waterways in Southern Florida in how it is managed,” shared Locascio.  “We have the opportunity to be a leader and show other cities how improving fish communities and their natural habitats can also be beneficial for the city infrastructure.”

The December Fisheries Forum is free to the public and will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, in the WAVE Center at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island, Sarasota, FL 34236.

RSVP here.

The Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum is an independent, community discussion designed to help inform fisheries management and science.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/SarasotaBayForum.