Suncoast Waterkeeper receives $4,000 grant for water quality monitoring program

Goal of project is to fill in testing gaps focused on protecting people and wildlife

This is one of the rotating banners on the Suncoast Waterkeeper’s homepage. Image from the website

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program’s Policy Board has awarded $4,000 to Suncoast Waterkeeper for the Swim Guide Water Quality Monitoring program, Suncoast Waterkeeper has announced.

In approving the grant, the leaders of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) pointed out that the project “supports the mission of the SBEP to restore and protect Sarasota Bay,” a news release notes.

“Support from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program will help the public know where waters are safe for swimming, fishing and wildlife,” Suncoast Waterkeeper board chair Joe McClash said in the release. “When there are high bacteria levels we will alert public officials and work to find a solution,” McClash added in the release.

Suncoast Waterkeeper is an active environmental organization focused on water quality within Manatee and Sarasota counties, the release explains. “Water sampling is conducted on a weekly basis for enterococci bacteria, the protocol for saltwater recreational safety,” the release adds. “The locations tested are usually not part of any other sampling sites. Some of these sites have intense recreation.”

The release further points out, “The presence of enteric 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 Suncoast Waterkeeper water sampling program will fill in gaps in the testing of coastal waters to ensure compliance with regulations and to “bring awareness to water quality for recreation and for maintaining and enhancing environmental conditions for wildlife,” the release points out.

The mission of Suncoast Waterkeeper is to protect and restore the Florida Suncoast’s waterways through enforcement, fieldwork, advocacy, and environmental education for the benefit of the communities that rely upon these precious coastal resources, the release says.