VENICE, Fla. -- The red tide bloom continues to thrive off Tampa Bay beaches and several communities are trying to make a dent in the problem. North Port is considering a resolution asking residents for a voluntary ban on fertilizers year-round.
The city of Venice passed a similar resolution this month. But some city leaders want a permanent ban.
The City of Venice’s shoreline is only 3 ½ miles long, but city leaders think they can make a difference in the war on red tide.
“We’re trying to act on things we can do right here quickly know can show some results in the short and long term,” says Bob Daniels, Venice's vice mayor.
Daniels says the resolution passed earlier this month calling for a voluntary ban on fertilizer use is a start but it’s not enough.
He’s looking for a permanent ban year round. Getting it won’t be easy because the state has strict guidelines.
“You have to have facts behind your ban. No one has any facts behind the city of Venice. The city of Venice needs to show the outflows being polluted by fertilizers. We need to capture that data provide a solution to shut it off, then we go to Tallahassee and issue a ban 12 months a year,” says Daniels.
The city’s engineering department will spend $80,000 on equipment to test water exiting from 10 outflow pipes on the beach and eight more around streams.
“We can come back the with an ordinance to ban 'X' that will stand up with legal counsel and Tallahassee,” says Daniels.
Gathering the data will take time. In the meantime, Daniels says the city council will likely consider next month requiring all new HOAs and homebuilders to follow the Florida Yards program.
“You use native species that don’t require a lot of water, that do not require a lot of fertilizer and are disease resistance,” explains Daniels.
The vice mayor says they’ve heard from Mote experts. He said, “Mote tells us if you take away the food to red tide it can’t exist … Septic system … things with fertilizers, it can’t live. We want to make sure we’re not feeding it out there.”
Daniels says at the Oct. 9 city council meeting they will also consider banning fertilizers on city-owned property because this city leaders can do it without state approval.
Daniels hopes other local governments will follow their lead.
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