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Water-Related News

In Manatee County, proposed changes would allow developers to build closer to wetlands

If the board amends the wetlands regulations, it will be without the approval of the Manatee County Planning Commission which voted 4-2 last week against recommending any changes.

On a recent hot and hazy morning, Abbey Tyrna paddles a bright yellow kayak near the shoreline of Lake Manatee.

The lake is a major source of water for Bradenton and other cities in Manatee County, providing 32 million gallons per day.

Recently, some residents have reported an earthy taste coming from their water faucets. The county put out a message to the public explaining that an ongoing blue-green algae bloom is the source of the off-putting taste in the water but said it was safe to drink.

“It is a cyanobacteria that many scientists say is from nutrient pollution," said Tyrna, a wetlands scientist and the executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper.

Environmental groups say a plan to amend Manatee County's wetland protections will only make problems like algal blooms and red tide more frequent.

At issue, is a proposal to reduce the required buffer zone when it comes to building near environmentally sensitive wetlands.