EPA Looks to Sarasota Bay Success

Nancy Stoner, acting administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recently visited Florida’s Sarasota Bay. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program succeeded in meeting water quality standards, after being listed as nutrient impaired. The program achieved a 64% nitrogen reduction from 1988 and has restored critical marine habitat. Stoner visited several projects aimed at reducing nonpoint source pollution. One was the Celery Fields Stormwater Facility, a celery farm converted into a freshwater wetland that has become a major bird watching attraction. Sarasota County also is connecting homeowners to sanitary sewers, in a massive effort to remove nearly 14,000 septic systems. Stoner was particularly interested in the Honore Avenue low-impact development project, as it provided the community with multiple benefits. Rather than widen the road, the city built traffic circles along with drainage ponds, vegetative buffers, and bioswales using Florida-friendly landscaping.

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