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Tampa Bay Approach Meeting Regulatory Requirements for Nutrients

The collaborative approach used to reduce nitrogen pollution in Tampa Bay has been formally designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection as meeting new federal standards for water quality.

This important milestone means that state and federal regulators agree that Tampa Bay's nutrient management strategy is sufficient to achieve the water quality targets they have established for the bay.

"This is a great example of how local, state and federal entities can work together, with our public and private partners, to develop the strong technical basis needed for effective policies for clean waters and the aquatic resources that they support," said TBEP Executive Director Holly Greening.

EPA released its Numeric Nutrient Criteria last Friday (Nov. 30), adopting the standards developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to protect recreation and a healthy-well-balanced population of fish and wildlife. DEP had previously determined that the nitrogen management approach developed by TBEP and the Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium would address state water quality targets.

Tampa Bay now has more seagrass than at any time since 1950 By implementing a variety of pollution-control projects, the Nitrogen Management Consortium -- a partnership of local and state agencies and key industries impacting the bay -- has reduced nitrogen loads to the bay by more than 100 tons from 2007-2011, and more than 500 tons since 1996.

This cooperative approach has resulted in overall water clarity in Tampa Bay equal to that of the 1950s, as well as more seagrasses than at any time since then.

In a letter to DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard announcing the Numeric Nutrient Criteria decision, EPA Water Protection Division head Jim Giattina noted the "invaluable" contributions of the three Gulf Coast NEPs (Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor) to developing science-based water quality targets.

Source: Tampa Bay Estuary Program's "Bay Post" e-newsletter

Additional Contact Information

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

263 13th Avenue South, Suite 350
St. Petersburg, FL - 33701

(727) 893-2765
saveit@tbep.org