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In Wake Of Red Tide, Venice Official Wants Extension Of Fertilizer Ban

Venice Beach 2017 file photo
Venice Beach 2017 file photo

Even though it’s not known what is causing the red tide algae that’s meant headaches for Florida this summer, one Venice official wants to extend a ban on the use of fertilizer.

The current ban on the use of fertilizer in Sarasota County is in place only during the rainy season, but Venice Vice Mayor Bob Daniels doesn’t think that’s enough. He would like his city to enact a year-round ban.

“Until we can get some real live data that shows what is polluting our Gulf here, we need to slow down the fertilizer application,” said Daniels, who wonders if chemicals from lawn fertilizers are feeding the algal bloom.

Venice’s Engineering Department is putting together a proposal to find a consultant who would monitor the outfalls for the chemicals that could be contributing to red tide.

Due to the unknown cause of red tide, Daniels feels the only guaranteed fix would be if a severe storm such as a hurricane were to develop in the Gulf. However, he would prefer the city act now in order to see results as soon as possible.

The Venice City Council is scheduled to discuss Daniels’ proposed year-round ban on Tuesday, September 11. The significance of that date is not lost on the vice mayor.

“I think it’s significant that we are going to talk about it on 9/11,” said Daniels. “9/11 was a terrorist attack, now we have our own environment attacking us and actually shutting down the city, and of course man is contributing to that bad environment.”

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Jeslyn Santiago is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for fall 2018.