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Siesta Key residents look for solutions for Grand Canal water quality

Siesta Key Association members would like to place mini-reefs under docks in the Grand Canal to help filter the water.

Fish kills and sewage spills have plagued Grand Canal in 2019, causing murky water and a reduced amount of marine life, but some Siesta Key residents are hoping to change that.

Phil Chicocchio, a member of Sarasota Bay Fisheries Forum, gave a presentation at a Siesta Key Association meeting Dec. 5 on possible solutions to help improve water quality. Among his solutions were dredging the canal’s only opening at Roberts Bay so that increased flow could enter the canal or finding a way to aerate the water to get better oxygen flow, though the most popular solution was the addition of small floating mini-reefs that would be placed under docks.

Because there is only one entrance to the canal, which is partially blocked by a shoal, there is not much water flow in the canal, which causes a lack of oxygen for the marine life.

The mini-reefs, Chicocchio said, would help solve that problem. The reefs are two feet wide by three feet tall, with four shelves to attract sea life.