As shown in the above picture, the first phase of the landmark Stormwater Filtration System at Bay Park was begun last month with the construction of the Denitrification Trench. The trench is five feet wide by five feet deep with the bottom covered with specially treated wood chips that attract anerobic bacteria that consume nitrogen in stormwater. By funneling the stormwater from the 53-acre park through a series of underground pipes and baffles to the Denitrification Trench, the system will filter thousands of gallons of stormwater in every one-inch rain event (almost 15 million gallons annually) before it enters the park’s lagoon. This is the first Stormwater Filtering System of its kind along the Suncoast.

Several months after the completion of the Denitrification Trench, the park’s lagoon will be dredged to remove polluted sediment including gas and oil that has built up over the years from runoff from nearby streets and parking lots.

When the dredging is completed, the remaining elements of the holistic Stormwater Filtering System will be installed. This includes a combination of other natural elements to further filter the park’s stormwater before it flows from the lagoon into Sarasota Bay. The lagoon will be bordered with a living shoreline featuring a restored oyster reef, mature, native clams will be seeded at the mouth of the lagoon to encourage more seagrass growth, and reef balls and under dock mini reefs will be used to create more habitat for water-filtering sea life.

The plan is to complete the oyster restoration project by mid-2021 with the clam seeding and installation of the reef balls and under dock mini reefs after the completion of the Sunset Boardwalk in 2022.

The entire project will be monitored by Mote scientists in a before and after study so the environmental impact of the innovative Stormwater Filtration System at Bay Park can be quantified and used as a model for other stormwater projects.

Stay tuned for announcements about volunteer opportunities to participate in the START sponsored restoration of the oyster reef in the lagoon and the seeding of the clams at the entrance to Sarasota Bay.

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