USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Enrique Montes Herrera, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Ivey, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued



Estuaries are important ecosystems that provide many valuable services to coastal communities and society at large. Clam Bayou is an estuary located in Pinellas County, Florida, which is a popular area for recreational activities such as kayaking. However, Clam Bayou has a history of water quality decline by factors such as sewage discharge, stormwater runoff, industrial pollution, among many others. This literature review is aimed at examining the past research done on Clam Bayou regarding water quality and offering future ideas for research. Research revealed that studies concerning Clam Bayou are limited, but have a strong concentration on sewage discharge and stormwater runoff as drivers for water quality decline. There is strong evidence that relates the effects of urbanization and stormwater runoff to the decrease of water quality in Tampa Bay, such as how the population increased by 148% and 158% in Hillsborough county and Pinellas County respectively, from 1960 to 2001 (Xian, Crane, & Su, 2007). It was also found that impervious surfaces have significantly increased, reaching almost 80% coverage in some areas of Tampa Bay (Xian, Crane, & Su, 2007). Clam Bayou’s water quality, according to the literature, seems to be worsening with time. When compared to 2008, in 2016, Clam Bayou has had warmer water temperatures (range of 29.68 to 32.03°C) and a much lower salinity (range of 24.35 to 31.19 psu). High amounts of aromatic hydrocarbons were also found in the sediments such as DDT, which is a substance that is banned for being carcinogenic (Karlen et. al, 2016). The literature also shows that there there have been a few projects that have improved the water quality of Clam Bayou, such as planting mangroves and oyster reefs as well as creating new storm water drains (Newborn, 2019). Although understudied, it is crucial that estuaries such as Clam Bayou are continually researched and restored for the betterment of our natural world.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program University of South Florida, St. Petersburg December 14, 2020.