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Palma Sola Bay bacteria linked to horses

Water quality testing links horses to pollution in north Palma Sola Bay.

Testing by the nonprofit environmental monitoring group Suncoast Waterkeeper has showed high levels of enterococci bacteria in north Palma Sola Bay and now DNA testing links the bacteria to horse waste.

Palma Sola Bay is an embayment in west Manatee that flows into Anna Maria Sound and provides sanctuary for manatees, dolphins, wading birds, fish and other wildlife, as well as serves as a recreation area.

Abbey Tyrna, Suncoast Waterkeeper executive director, discussed the group’s findings and efforts in an interview with The Islander May 15.

“Our most recent (DNA) test was April 8 in the evening during a low tide,” Tyrna said. “We collected water and sediment from where we sample weekly.”

The Suncoast Waterkeeper newsletter explains the group’s findings: “The levels we see indicate that for most of the year, Palma Sola Bay, north of the causeway, is unsafe for swimming. Suncoast Waterkeeper has studied DNA in Palma Sola Bay water for over two years to find the source of the fecal indicator bacteria.