2021 and Beyond
Happy New Year to everyone who appreciates and works to keep the Sister Keys and Sarasota Bay healthy and self sustaining. There are major challenges ahead for the bay in 2021 and beyond. Luckily there are a few bright spots as well. First the bad news. Since the harmful algae bloom of 2017-2018 there has been a major reduction in seagrass coverage and bay waters have nitrogen levels (which exacerbate algae blooms) far in excess of natural levels. Sewage spills from failed and stressed infrastructure are rampant and storm water run-off overwhelms waste water systems bay wide. Sarasota Bay faces a collapse of the seagrass eco-system we all have grown to cherish. We only have to look as far as Florida’s Indian River lagoon to see what could be the future of Sarasota Bay if we don’t act decisively and soon.
The Good News
The good news is that we have a new Executive Director, Dr. David Tomasko, at the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program that understands the severity of the problem and citizen led environmental watch dogs like Suncoast Waterkeeper bay advocates like Sarasota Bay Watch. In addition citizens of Manatee County voted overwhelmingly (71%) to pass a resolution to buy environmentally sensitive lands. Let’s all pitch in to make 2021 the Year of The Bay.
Keeping Ahead of The Invasive Flora
In the last few weeks Ed Deim and I have been tagging and treating Brazilian peppers and Australian pines. We’re gathering information to share with Longboat Key’s Public Works Department who will be conducting an invasive sweep of the Keys in the next couple of months. The work that the Friends of Sister Keys have done, and is doing in conjunction with the Town is working to keep the keys from being overwhelmed with the ever present invasive flora. We hope to announce another cleanup as soon as the virus crisis is under control. Below are images of the progress we’re making.