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SBEP launches study to develop water quality standards for tidal creeks

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SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) has partnered with the Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Programs to launch a two-year study of Southwest Florida tidal creeks. The purpose is to develop protocols that can be used to establish numeric nutrient criteria for these unique waterways. The results will be provided to state and federal agencies to guide future development of appropriate water quality regulations.

The project involves classifying the tidal creeks, developing a model that relates tidal creek hydrology with nutrients and biology, selecting creeks for sampling, developing a sampling program, and analyzing collected data. The project is being funded through an EPA Region 4 Wetland Development Grant. Project partners include Janicki Environmental, Inc., Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and the USF Florida Center of Community Design and Research. Technical experts from county governments in the region will provide input to support the project.

The three national estuary programs worked together previously to develop numeric nutrient criteria for estuaries that were adopted last year by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and EPA.