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Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium Update. Holly Greening Tampa Bay Estuary Program March 2014. Fast Facts about Tampa Bay. Florida’s largest open- water estuary Open water: 400 sq miles Watershed : 2,600 sq miles Average water depth: 12 feet

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tampa bay nitrogen management consortium update

Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium Update

Holly Greening

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

March 2014


Fast Facts about Tampa Bay

  • Florida’s largest open- water estuary
  • Open water: 400 sq miles
  • Watershed: 2,600 sq miles
  • Average water depth: 12 feet
  • Watershed population: 2.3 million
  • Port of Tampa in top 10 in U.S.

Tampa Bay in the 1970s

“The Kitchen” (Hillsborough Bay near Gibsonton)

Archie Creek

Photo by JOR Johansson

troubled waters
Troubled Waters
  • Half of Tampa Bay seagrasses lost by 1982
  • Half of Tampa Bay’s natural shoreline altered
  • 40% of tidal marshes destroyed
  • White ibis populations plummeted by 70%
  • Visibility reduced to 2 feet in Hillsborough Bay
  • Fish kills common
what caused the bay s decline
What caused the Bay’s decline?
  • Poorly treated sewage
  • Unrestricted dredging and filling
  • Untreated stormwater runoff and industrial discharges

Common pollutant: NITROGEN

restoring tampa bay
Restoring Tampa Bay
  • Citizen action
  • EPCHC Monitoring
  • Agency on Bay Management

early 1980s


late 1980s

  • TBEP


tampa bay seagrass restoration goal
Tampa Bay Seagrass Restoration Goal

Seagrass Restoration Goal:

Restore seagrass acreage to that observed in ~1950.

Difference between 1950 and 1990 seagrass cover

tampa bay nitrogen management strategy paradigm
Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Strategy Paradigm

TN Load


Light Attenuation

Seagrass Growth

& Reproduction

Seagrass Light


1996 the beginning of tampa bay s collaborative approach
1996: The beginning of Tampa Bay’s Collaborative Approach
  • Public sector realized that nitrogen management goals were unattainable without private sector help.
  • Private sector invited to participate with the public sector in the voluntary Nitrogen Management Consortium.
  • Each partner contributed to nitrogen management goal as they were able- no requirements or allocations
tampa bay public private partnership
Tampa Bay Public/Private Partnership

Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium

  • Formed in 1996
  • Partnership of:
    • local governments,
    • regulatory agency participants,
    • local phosphate companies,
    • agricultural interests and
    • electric utilities

45+ NMC participants agreed to help meet nitrogen load reduction goal of 17 tons/year to offset/preclude anticipated TN increases


Many projects have improved the Bay

  • 300+ projects implemented between 1996-2013
  • Decreased industrial discharges
  • Upgrades to sewage plants
  • Improvements to air quality at power plants
  • Better handling of materials (less spills)
  • Stormwater treatment
  • Residential fertilizer restrictions
water quality has improved
Water quality has improved

Annual average chl-a concentration thresholds

Advanced wastewater treatment begins

Stormwater regulations enacted

NMC formed

Data source: EPCHC

from voluntary to meeting regulatory requirements
From Voluntary to Meeting Regulatory Requirements

1998- EPA Region 4 approves TN loads for 1992-1994 as TMDL for nitrogen for Tampa Bay.

2008- EPA stated that allocations would be required to be incorporated into FDEP regulatory permits in 2010

FDEP allowed Consortium to collaboratively develop recommended allocations to all sources within the watershed.

key decision collaborative management strategy
Key Decision: Collaborative Management Strategy

Consortium participants willing to work together to develop voluntary allocations (caps) for nitrogen loads from each entity, for agencies’ consideration.

Decided they wanted to ‘drive the bus’

tampa bay nitrogen management consortium
Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium
  • 40+ public and private partners throughout watershed- collaborative approach to meeting regulatory water quality goals (EPA TMDL)
  • Consortium developed and agreed to voluntary ‘caps’ on nitrogen loads at 2003-2007 levels for all sources. Caps now incorporated into permits.
nmc accomplishments
NMC Accomplishments
  • FDEP approves Consortium’s Reasonable Assurance and WQBEL (using NMC recommended allocations)- December 2010.
  • Consortium develops Tampa Bay Reasonable Assurance 2012 Update; FDEP approves in January 2013.
  • TN and TP NNCs consistent with RA and TMDL approved in 2013.
  • Sarasota County and Progress Energy join the Consortium in 2013.
getting ready for 2017 contact information
Getting Ready for 2017:Contact Information

Please update contact information for your entity– sheets being circulated.

  • Primary contact name, title, email address, phone number
  • Other contacts and emails from your entity (optional).