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Final adoption of updated Bay Management Plan set for February

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The first major revision to Charting The Course: The Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for Tampa Bay, is slated for final adoption by TBEP's Management and Policy Boards in February. The Plan contains 38 specific actions to address existing and emerging issues critical to bay health.

The revised CCMP will guide regional research, restoration and education priorities for TBEP and its partner organizations for the next decade.

A key goal of the Plan is to limit nitrogen pollution in the bay to promote clear water and recovery of underwater seagrasses. Specific water quality actions seek to reduce sewer discharges; encourage beneficial use of reclaimed water; decrease airborne emissions of nitrogen; and curb runoff from residential, commercial and agricultural lands.

Other major Action Plans address habitat restoration and protection; cleaning up "hot spots" of sediment contamination; reducing waterborne pathogens; conserving fish and wildlife; managing materials from dredging activities; preventing oil spills; and informing and involving citizens in bay improvement.

Updating the CCMP every 10 years allows bay managers to assess progress in achieving goals and identify new issues that warrant attention. For example, topics addressed for the first time in this update include:

  • Reducing the frequency and duration of Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Reducing the occurrence of municipal sewer overflows
  • Understanding the impacts and sources of emerging contaminants such as microplastics and personal care products
  • Ensuring adequate and appropriate public access to the bay
  • Understanding and addressing effects of ocean acidification on bay water quality and wildlife
  • Incorporating CCMP goals in local government Comprehensive Land Use Plans

CCMP draft actions can be found at Submit final comments on any action to Nanette O'Hara by February 3.

In addition to the 38 issue-oriented actions, the final CCMP will summarize TBEP's research and monitoring priorities, funding strategy, and ecological indicators. A risk assessment of the effects of climate change on CCMP goals and actions is also being prepared.

The complete CCMP will be posted on the TBEP website in summer 2017. A compact Public Summary also will be prepared.