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A Collaborative Approach to Meeting Water Quality Goals : Tampa Bay, Florida Holly Greening, Tampa Bay Estuary Program Michael Connors, City of St. Petersburg.

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Presentation on theme: "A Collaborative Approach to Meeting Water Quality Goals : Tampa Bay, Florida Holly Greening, Tampa Bay Estuary Program Michael Connors, City of St. Petersburg."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Collaborative Approach to Meeting Water Quality Goals : Tampa Bay, Florida Holly Greening, Tampa Bay Estuary Program Michael Connors, City of St. Petersburg May 1, 2012

2 Who we are Michael Connors, P.E. Administrator, Public Works City of St. Petersburg Holly Greening Executive Director Tampa Bay Estuary Program

3 3 Florida’s largest open- water estuary Open water: 400 sq miles Watershed: 2,600 sq miles Average water depth: 12 feet Watershed population: 2.3 million Port of Tampa in top 10 in U.S. Tampa Bay

4 UrbanUrban AgricultureAgriculture MiningMining Natural areasNatural areas Old Tampa Bay Tampa St. Petersburg Diverse Watershed

5 5 Photo by JOR Johansson Tampa Bay in the 1970s “The Kitchen” (Hillsborough Bay near Gibsonton) Archie Creek

6 Troubled Waters Half of Tampa Bay seagrasses lost by 1982Half of Tampa Bay seagrasses lost by 1982 Visibility reduced to 2 feet in some areasVisibility reduced to 2 feet in some areas Fish kills commonFish kills common 6

7 What caused the Bay’s decline? 7 Poorly treated sewagePoorly treated sewage Unrestricted dredging and fillingUnrestricted dredging and filling Untreated stormwater runoff and industrial dischargesUntreated stormwater runoff and industrial discharges Common pollutant: NITROGEN Common pollutant: NITROGEN

8 8 Citizens demanded action Earth Day 1970Earth Day 1970 Save Our Bay formedSave Our Bay formed In 1978, State legislation (Grizzle- Figg Act) required upgrades to all wastewater treatment plantsIn 1978, State legislation (Grizzle- Figg Act) required upgrades to all wastewater treatment plants Tampa upgraded sewage plant Tampa upgraded sewage plant St. Petersburg developed reuse St. Petersburg developed reuse

9 How did local governments meet these legislative requirements to reduce nitrogen from WWTPs? -Technologies applied - How were these upgrades paid for? - Other issues

10 10 The Tampa Bay Estuary Program: One of 28 National Estuary Programs Inter-governmental program started in 1991 Science-based management Unique federal- local partnership

11 11 Partners vital to the Bay’s recovery

12 Difference between 1950 and 1990 seagrass cover Tampa Bay Seagrass Restoration Goal Seagrass Restoration Goal: Restore seagrass acreage to that observed in ~1950.

13 TN Load Chlorophyll Light Attenuation Seagrass Growth & Reproduction Seagrass Light Requirement Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Strategy Paradigm

14 14 Formed in 1996 Partnership of: local governments, regulatory agency participants, local phosphate companies, agricultural interests and electric utilities Tampa Bay Public/Private Partnership Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium 45+ NMC participants responsible for meeting nitrogen load reduction goals

15 15 Many projects have improved the Bay 250+ projects implemented between Decreased industrial discharges Upgrades to sewage plants Improvements to air quality at power plants Better handling of materials (less spills) Stormwater treatment Residential actions

16 Nitrogen loading has decreased 16

17 Water quality has improved Advanced wastewater treatment begins Stormwater regulations enacted Data source: EPCHC Consortium initiated

18 And seagrasses have responded 18 Data: SWFWMD

19 Tampa Bay TMDL EPA Region 4 approves TBEP target N loads as TMDL for nitrogen for Tampa Bay EPA stated that allocations would be required to be incorporated into FDEP regulatory permits in FDEP allowed Consortium to collaboratively develop recommended allocations to all sources within the watershed.

20 Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium 45+ public and private partners throughout watershed- collaborative approach to meeting regulatory water quality goals (EPA TMDL)45+ public and private partners throughout watershed- collaborative approach to meeting regulatory water quality goals (EPA TMDL) Consortium developed and agreed to voluntary limits on nitrogen loads for all sources on 9/2009. State approved in 12/2010. EPA final approval pending.Consortium developed and agreed to voluntary limits on nitrogen loads for all sources on 9/2009. State approved in 12/2010. EPA final approval pending.

21 Summary of allocations Nitrogen limits (allocations) for all sources in the Tampa Bay watershed have been defined by the Consortium members and accepted by regulatory agencies. These allocations are being incorporated into NPDES permits as they are renewed. Stormwater MS4 allocations are expressed as ‘percent reduction needed’.

22 A local government perspective of participating in a collaborative effort to meet regulatory water quality requirements Benefits Drawbacks Costs Lessons learned

23 Key Elements in Tampa Bay’s Collaborative Management Strategy Target resources identified by both public and science community as “worthy” indicators (clear water, seagrass habitat recovery, better fishing) Participants willing to work together towards common goals; decided they wanted to ‘drive the bus’ Science-based numeric goals and targets Monitoring capable of detecting changes

24 Key Elements in Tampa Bay’s Collaborative Management Strategy Multiple tools: Regulation; public/private collaborative actions; citizen actions; point and nonpoint treated equally Recognized “honest broker” to track, facilitate, assess progress (TBEP) Regulatory agencies agreed to allow the Consortium to try the collaborative approach and participated throughout Cost-effective

25 Final thoughts from a Public Works Administrator


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