Beach leaders discuss efforts to clean up the Gulf
Members of the Barrier Islands Governmental Council got a lesson in how fragile Florida’s waters are and how problems can be dealt with.
At the BIG-C monthly meeting April 24, Maya Burke, science policy coordinator for the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, told the mayors of the beach communities how research and perseverance have managed to clean up the Gulf waters, which at one point had poor quality.
Back in the 1950s, the water was murky and of poor overall quality. Researchers discovered that the lack of seagrass was contributing to the problem.
They then tackled the issue of getting more seagrass to grow by managing nitrogen levels in the water, which decreased the amount of algae. That led to a clearing up of the water which let more light reach into the water which in turn let more seagrass grow.
Burke said it is suspected that the seagrass helps lower the acidification of the water, which in turn helps shellfish.