‘No Swimming’ advisory lifted for Bird Key Park/Ringling Bridge Causeway Park

Bacterial levels in June 17 testing meet state thresholds

This aerial map shows the location of Bird Key Park/Ringling Bridge Causeway Park, west of the city of Sarasota. Image from Google Maps

Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, June 18, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) lifted the “No Swimming” advisory that was issued on June 13 for Bird Key Park/Ringling Causeway Park, the department announced.

The formal location of the park is 200 John Ringling Causeway (34236), DOH-Sarasota noted.

The June 13 advisory followed the receipt of test results showing high bacterial levels in the area of the park, the news releases explained.

Subsequent tests completed on Monday, June 17, “indicate that the water quality at Bird Key Park/Ringling Bridge Causeway Park shows an acceptable level of Enterococcus bacteria,” as established by state guidelines, the June 17 release said.

The Florida Department of Health, in Tallahassee, explains on its website that enterococci are bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of such bacteria “can be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. If they are present in high concentrations in recreational waters and are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause human disease, infections or rashes.”

The Department adds that a statewide program was established to test for enterococci, as recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “According to studies conducted by the EPA, enterococci have a greater correlation with swimming-associated gastrointestinal illness in both marine and fresh waters than other bacterial indicator organisms, and are less likely to ‘die off’ in saltwater,” the Florida Department of Health continues. If enterococci are found to “exceed 70 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of beach water sampled,” and a resampling result also exceeds that value, the Department says, “then an ‘Advisory’ would be issued for the sampling site.”

This is information about the water quality at Bird Key Park/Ringling Bridge Causeway Park on the Florida Department of Health website. Image courtesy Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee

Bird Key Park is among area recreational facilities most commonly closed because of health-related concerns.

“Test results are available at FloridaHealth.gov/HealthyBeaches,” DOH-Sarasota points out in its June 17 news release.

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