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

Water-Related News

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program: Area water quality has improved, thanks to multiple projects

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As we’ve been discussing lately, we are starting to accumulate more and more evidence of an ongoing recovery of the bay’s health. We are now on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (FDEP’s) draft “De-list” for nutrient impairments for Bowlees Creek, the lower portion of Sarasota Bay proper (between Ringling Causeway and Siesta Drive), Roberts, Little Sarasota and Blackburn Bays. The other portions of the open waters of Sarasota Bay were not out of compliance with their established water quality standards for nutrient and algae concentrations in the water and weren’t considered impaired for nutrients. But these five waterbodies on the draft de-list list were previously determined to be out of compliance with their established standards, based on analysis of data from earlier years. These standards were set by SBEP, and then reviewed and approved as official water quality standards by both FDEP and the US EPA. The chlorophyll-a standards established by SBEP are pretty good – they indicated problems for most locations during years when other indicators were suggesting problems. However, the regulatory standards for “Total Nitrogen” are too high – they were not similarly exceeded when chlorophyll-a was a problem and the data for Total Phosphorus are problematic, and indicate a lab issue somewhere, it seems. We will be addressing these issues over the next year, as we work to finalize our Water Quality Protection Plan for Sarasota Bay.