From fish kills to beach closures, we've been seeing the effects of red tide all summer long.
While red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon, there are things you can do to prevent it from getting worse, exacerbating those fish kills and effects on both us and marine life.
Previous: How you can help with Florida's red tide
How to reduce personal nutrient pollution
1. Cut the fertilizer: In parts of the bay area, you have to skip fertilizing with nitrogen or phosphorous. It's required by law, but not every neighborhood has the same restrictions. Be Floridian has product recommendations and local ordinances.
2. Pick up pet waste: Animal waste has nitrogen and bacteria that can pollute waterways when it rains.
3. Don't blow leaves and grass clippings into the street or down the drain: Clippings and leaves contain nitrogen that can end up in waterways.
4. Direct downspouts into plant beds: Turn your gutters into your yard instead of your driveway, helping to reduce the amount of stormwater carrying nutrients into the bay.
5. Drive less: Air pollution from burning fossil fuels moves back to the ground in rainwater and pollutes surface water bodies.
6. Get your septic system inspected annually: Get it inspected for leaks and other issues.
7. Plant trees and other native plants: Native plants typically require less maintenance.
8. Use a commercial car wash rather than washing at home: Commercial car washes are required to properly dispose of wastewater. At home, soapy water runs into the nearest storm drain.
Photojournalist Tim Burquest talked with Darcy Young from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program about why you might want to help limit red tide, whether you're required to or not.
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