A preview of a playbook for healthy water in Sarasota
The compilation of best practices to reduce nutrient pollution would be available free from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
NOKOMIS — Unless the flow of nitrogen into Sarasota Bay is reduced and remediated, the water quality there may someday mirror that of the Indian River Lagoon on the East Coast of Florida — where the growth of healthy seagrass has been stymied by algae blooms.
Steve Suau, principal of Progressive Water Resources, said that over the past 20 years, the amount of total nitrogen in Sarasota Bay has doubled, according to data in the Sarasota County Water Atlas.
“It’s still not a high number, but this is reason to be concerned that we start reversing that trend,” Suau told a gathering of Nokomis Area Community Association presidents Tuesday night.
“What can happen as nutrients increase is that you start seeing the sea grass transition into macro algae and phytoplankton,” Suau said. “That tends to remove sunlight to be able to get down and it kills the seagrass and a lot of aquatic life is dependent on that.
“This is what’s happening over in the Indian River Lagoon on the East Coast.
“It’s a brown algae and the concerning thing is they don’t know if they can ever get that bay back to the way it was — they don’t know how to do it,” he added.
Suau later said that that there have been indications that macro algae is being seen in the bays — something that’s reason to be concerned that too much nitrogen is going in, and that trend has to be reversed.
Suau, who just finished what he called a yearlong deep dive into research on nutrients in the area watershed, funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, spoke to NACA along with Jon Thaxton, senior vice president for community investment at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, as part of a series of w