The damaging wind, rain and storm surge from hurricanes Ian and Nicole have created an inordinate amount of stormwater filled with excess nutrients that have poured into our coastal waters. This has been a contributing factor to the early arrival of red tide in spots all along the Suncoast.
In addition, the costly repairs of storm damage and brush and tree removal has severely impacted the operating budgets of many of our local communities. Some communities have had to postpone or even eliminate their stormwater pond enhancement programs that are a key element in reducing the excess nutrients in our waterways that feed red tide and other harmful algal blooms.
This means that the Suncoast is facing a major red tide season and we need your help to deal with it. At the end of the day, there are basically two ways to improve the water quality in the Bay:
Reduce the flow of excess nutrients going into our waters
Clean up the excess nutrients already in the Bay
You can help START’s work in both these important approaches to improve the quality of our waterways by generously contributing in our once-a year Holiday Campaign. It’s the only time we ask for the public’s support and it is particularly important given the prevailing conditions in the Bay.
How will your donation help? It will enable us to expand our pond enhancement program to help reduce the excess nutrients flowing out of community stormwater ponds. As part of the Heathy Pond Collaborative in Manatee and Sarasota Counties this year, we were able to assist neighborhoods with funding that lined 6.9 miles of new pond shoreline with native aquatic plants that absorbed excess nutrients and crowded out unsightly algal blooms. Our innovated Microforest concept has been initiated in a number of local locations to replace inefficient turf grass with a tight cluster of trees and bushes that filter excess nutrients in stormwater, provide habitat for wildlife displaced by urbanization and sequester carbon as a hedge against climate change.
Your donation will also help us expand our water quality work to clean the Bay with oysters and clams that help filter excess nutrients in the water column. Our Shuck ‘N Save oyster program in Manatee County saves shell from restaurant diners and uses it to build new oyster reefs. The effort also keeps tons of former garbage out of our landfills every year. In Sarasota County, our partnership with the Sarasota Bay Watch helps seed native clams into the Bay which now hosts over two million of these important bivalve water filterers.
Please support our work by going to our secure website at start1.org and click on the Donate Now button in the Contact Us section or by sending a check to START, P O Box 642, Tallevast, FL 34270.
START is a 501 (c) (3) ORGANIZATION AND YOUR DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE.FL Reg. No. Ch17198. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE.REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
Thank you and best wishes for a happy holiday season.