An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Here’s how you can improve local water quality during red tide

Red tide occurs naturally; however, there are some things that we can do as a community to help make sure it doesn't get worse in our waterways.

SARASOTA – Red tide occurs naturally offshore. But there are some things that we can do to help make sure it doesn't get worse.

Scientists have put together a community playbook for healthy waterways. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has an interactive look on its website for different ways to reduce nutrients from getting into our waterways.

One of them is fertilizer. When you use too much, and it runs off into our waterways, the nitrogen can feed macroalgae and phytoplankton. That clouds the water where seagrass needs to grow for manatees to eat and fuels algae blooms.

In Sarasota County, fertilizer is widely used on turfgrass like golf courses and athletic fields, lawns and some farms. But you may not even need it if you use reclaimed water.

“If it comes from the city of Sarasota, it’s got low nutrient content, and you may need to fertilize on top of it, but if it comes from Sarasota County or Manatee County, it has enough nutrients in it, you don’t need to fertilize and in fact, you need to be careful about how much water you add,” Dr. David Tomasko said. He is the Executive Director of The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. He says it’s easy to overdo it.