Boca Ciega Bay/ Tampa Bay polluted?

I just want to relate a firsthand experience and maybe get some opinions. Moved to Pinellas a little over two years ago. I have family that owns a condo on the boca ciega bay. I pretty much have 24/7 access to fish off the seawall there. Over the last year or so I have caught just about every inshore species you could think of including hundreds of speckled trout. It was also very easy to net pinfish, greenbacks ect... right off the seawall.

Over the last 8 months or so I have barely caught anything there, in fact, when I visit now I don't even bring my rod. I haven't seen a pinfish there in that time period either. The grass flats there look brown and completely unhealthy. We're all aware by now of the sewage dumping over the last year into the bays.
Bottom line, is this water polluted? It is just shocking the lack of life out there compared to what it was.
If anyone has any opinions on this I'd love to hear it.
Thanks

Replies

  • New2FlNew2Fl Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Gotta say I'm a little disappointed with Florida Sportsman forums. 40 million gallons of sewage has been dumped into the Tampa/Boca Ciega bays over the last year. Why is this not getting more attention on these forums? Its an absolute disgrace what they're doing.
    Sorry for the rant but I think this issue deserves more attention from both Florida anglers and the EPA.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,911 Admiral
    .
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,911 Admiral
    Shoulda moved there 40 years ago if you wanted to see pollution.

    If you don't want it polluted more, move back Nawth.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,080 Moderator
    Don't blame it on The Florida Sportsman Forums, that's ludicrous. The fact of the matter is, when the tide and surge are higher than your drains, physics take over. Until the municipal wastewater departments get massive storage tanks, massive is an understatement, and sophisticated pumping arrangements, this will continue to happen during high water events. And at one point, if it's a very large surge, see ya later, shoveling the proverbial crap against the tide.
  • KillowattKillowatt Posts: 30 Deckhand
    Should have seen it 30yrs ago, better now.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 591 Officer
    Reel-Lucky wrote: »
    Don't blame it on The Florida Sportsman Forums, that's ludicrous. The fact of the matter is, when the tide and surge are higher than your drains, physics take over. Until the municipal wastewater departments get massive storage tanks, massive is an understatement, and sophisticated pumping arrangements, this will continue to happen during high water events. And at one point, if it's a very large surge, see ya later, shoveling the proverbial crap against the tide.

    And don't forget that someone has to pay for the above mentioned improvements. But whenever a local tax referendum rolls around everyone is like "no, that MY money" and votes no. Then they turn around and complain about incompetent city planners who can't build things.

    And, as mentioned by others here, we didn't have these problems 30-40 years ago. They got around all of the backflow issues by just pumping the raw sewage straight into the bay. Easy-peasy, problem solved.

    Also, another potential solution to the problem would be to remove all of the condos on the bay that generate the sewage at sea level, or require those homeowners to install their own composting toilet systems with above ground holding tanks. You want to know why there is sewage in the bay? Think really hard about it every time you flush the toilet.

    But really, I do feel bad that your property values might be dropping because of your own crap.
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 591 Officer
    bah, double post.
  • New2FlNew2Fl Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Let me clarify my post and respond to some of the criticism. First of all this isn't about property values or me catching less fish. By the way, I live nowhere near the water and never will be able to afford to. I am certainly not blaming florida sportsman for these issues.
    I know this is an issue that should have been addressed years ago and there is no quick fix.
    I think we have to seriously look at this and ask are we destroying our bays for generations to come?

    My problem is, I thought forums, such as these, where many who post here are making their living from these waters, would be more concerned and active in raising awareness about the dumping issues. I just thought sites like this would be a great platform to have a voice and be involved in fixing this problem.

    As much as it may bother some, the population is exploding in this area and what they are doing is not sustainable. If something isn't done twenty years from now the bay will be nothing more than a over sized septic tank. I really believe many are under estimating how bad it can get.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG
    Art is right. I was privileged to be offered an Ex Officio seat on the Tampa Bay Estuary program.

    The Bay's miraculous turnaround from one of the most polluted waterways in the nation to the pristine condition it is (considering its urban location) is all because of those same utilities that you are complaining about.

    The Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) improvements by local and county systems is singularly responsible for that transformation.

    Go to Rattlesnake Key and look at the water. It's like the keys.

    The plants do overflow during severe weather events. And they need to, to maintain the bio-digestive treatment functionality.

    Fortunately that at is a temporary condition and is resolved with time.

    Tampa can be proud of the success in water quality improvements, sea grass population and fisheries production over this 20 year experiment. It's an amazing transformation.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • New2FlNew2Fl Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    I appreciate the insight, besides that's what these forums are all about discussing and learning.
    The problem is what if the population doubles in the next 20 years and no improvements are made? That would return the bay to a heavily polluted waterway.
    As far as the temporary condition, I can tell you in the little corner of the Boca Ciega bay that I know very well, there has been no life there for close to a year.
    If you can't catch a pinfish on a Florida grass flat for almost a year something is SERIOUSLY wrong.
    Maybe the dumping has less of an effect on the tampa bay because of its size. I am not a boat owner so I'm in no position to comment on the state of the entire tampa bay or boca bay for that matter but what I have observed is very alarming to me.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG
    Enjoy the planet while you can. There are people taking care of it for you.

    A giant rock may hit it without much warning and at least you will be on the best place on the planet to spend your last hours.

    Invest in a boat and go an explore it while there is still time.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • KeyWest216KeyWest216 Posts: 38 Greenhorn
    Tampa Bay has gotten MUCH cleaner in the past 30 years - even a vast improvement in the past 15. Part of the dump this past year is because of the beaches - St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island have not made the same infastructure improvements [or investments] that the city of St. Petersburg has made regarding treatment facilities and storage facilities. The sewer systems get taxed = and bingo - they have to release. Hillsborough County is in a similar situation. Just imagine if Hillsborough County - and the beaches got their crap together (literally) :wink

    Just be glad you don't live of Port St. Lucie or Ft. Myers where the Army Corp of Engineers released millions upon millions of tainted run off from Lake Okeechobee -

    http://media2.wptv.com/photo/2016/06/28/WPTV_SANIBEL_ISLAND_WATER_1467145588838_41248331_ver1.0_640_480.jpg

    That's Criminal as far as I'm concerned...
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,911 Admiral
    KeyWest216 wrote: »
    Tampa Bay has gotten MUCH cleaner in the past 30 years - even a vast improvement in the past 15. Part of the dump this past year is because of the beaches - St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island have not made the same infastructure improvements [or investments] that the city of St. Petersburg has made regarding treatment facilities and storage facilities. The sewer systems get taxed = and bingo - they have to release. Hillsborough County is in a similar situation. Just imagine if Hillsborough County - and the beaches got their crap together (literally) :wink

    Just be glad you don't live of Port St. Lucie or Ft. Myers where the Army Corp of Engineers released millions upon millions of tainted run off from Lake Okeechobee -

    http://media2.wptv.com/photo/2016/06/28/WPTV_SANIBEL_ISLAND_WATER_1467145588838_41248331_ver1.0_640_480.jpg

    That's Criminal as far as I'm concerned...
    Don't need to espouse on what you don't understand.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 998 Officer
    what' so sad is that it keeps happening. Yeah the bay is cleaner but still way too much pollution. people have short memories, too many don't car or even pay attention.
    Look at the nasty blue green alga / cyanobacteria bloom that was released onto the east coast , if you have not seen pics, check it out. Look at the brown alga that caused the extreme eutriphication of the Banana river/indian river by coco bch. could very easily be us.
  • DBRYANDBRYAN Posts: 4,412 Captain
    permit_me wrote: »
    what' so sad is that it keeps happening. Yeah the bay is cleaner but still way too much pollution. people have short memories, too many don't car or even pay attention.
    Look at the nasty blue green alga / cyanobacteria bloom that was released onto the east coast , if you have not seen pics, check it out. Look at the brown alga that caused the extreme eutriphication of the Banana river/indian river by coco bch. could very easily be us.

    You have to look at politics for the answer to that. We have a corrupt Governor who was bought off by Big Sugar. There is an option to buy up sugar farms to restore the ecological balance. There was a referendum in the last election to provide the funds to do so. But Big Sugar wants the land and all the subsidies they get from it.

    We have the best government money can buy and they have been well paid.

    Sorry. Didn't mean to get political here, but the reason is unfortunately due to politics. If an administrator wants to delete, I'm cool with it.
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG
    Well there is a lot more to the story than that.

    This governor doesn't take a salary. He doesn't need the money. So saying that sugar bought him off isn't substantiated. He can't stop the rain either.

    I read the Sugar sale contract. It was written to benefit the seller. It included buildings and railways and was not located in a place to benefit any storage needs. And the total area take down extended over 20 years with only a small portion available yearly. It reverted back to the seller if that portion was not used in a very short time frame. It would have been irresponsible to execute that option. It was a worse boondoggle that the first purchase Crist diverted storage water construction funding was.

    There is no money from Amendment one to buy anything.

    There are two large tracts are available for future storage in the area under state control.

    There is no "ecological balance" The system south of the lake is compartmentalized and engineered to function and comply with the myriad of federal lawsuits requiring it to be that way.

    And finally Big Sugar has no impact on the lake or the east and west coast estuaries because the water from the farms goes south and not north to the lake.

    If you are interested to learn what's really happening, go here.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

    "All these forums, with barely any activity, are like a neglected old cemetery that no one visits anymore."- anonymouse
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,080 Moderator
    Thanks for that, Gary.
  • New2FlNew2Fl Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    New2Fl wrote: »
    Let me clarify my post and respond to some of the criticism. First of all this isn't about property values or me catching less fish. By the way, I live nowhere near the water and never will be able to afford to. I am certainly not blaming florida sportsman for these issues.
    I know this is an issue that should have been addressed years ago and there is no quick fix.
    I think we have to seriously look at this and ask are we destroying our bays for generations to come?

    My problem is, I thought forums, such as these, where many who post here are making their living from these waters, would be more concerned and active in raising awareness about the dumping issues. I just thought sites like this would be a great platform to have a voice and be involved in fixing this problem.

    As much as it may bother some, the population is exploding in this area and what they are doing is not sustainable. If something isn't done twenty years from now the bay will be nothing more than a over sized septic tank. I really believe many are under estimating how bad it can get.

    I posted this in June and I hate to say I told you so but it looks like all my worst fears are coming true. I understand all the logistics but dumping millions of gallons of sewage into our waterways is NOT the answer and as the population increases it is NOT an acceptable method of dealing with this problem. The good news is this story is finally getting the publicity and now many are as outraged as me. Hopefully a reasonable solution is found for the sake of future generations of fisherman.
  • Tarpon MonoxideTarpon Monoxide Posts: 542 Officer
    Art is right. I was privileged to be offered an Ex Officio seat on the Tampa Bay Estuary program.

    The Bay's miraculous turnaround from one of the most polluted waterways in the nation to the pristine condition it is (considering its urban location) is all because of those same utilities that you are complaining about.

    The Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) improvements by local and county systems is singularly responsible for that transformation.

    Go to Rattlesnake Key and look at the water. It's like the keys.

    The plants do overflow during severe weather events. And they need to, to maintain the bio-digestive treatment functionality.

    Fortunately that at is a temporary condition and is resolved with time.

    Tampa can be proud of the success in water quality improvements, sea grass population and fisheries production over this 20 year experiment. It's an amazing transformation.

    "The Bay's miraculous turnaround from one of the most polluted waterways in the nation to the pristine condition it is (considering its urban location) is all because of those same utilities that you are complaining about."

    Tampa Bay is not in pristine condition.
    Colon Kapermick Nike's Stephin Fetchit

    America, the land of the "regressives" proposed free health care for illegal aliens paid for by legal tax paying Americans who have to pay exorbitant rates for their own health insurance.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 10,388 AG
    Art is right. I was privileged to be offered an Ex Officio seat on the Tampa Bay Estuary program.

    The Bay's miraculous turnaround from one of the most polluted waterways in the nation to the pristine condition it is (considering its urban location) is all because of those same utilities that you are complaining about.

    The Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) improvements by local and county systems is singularly responsible for that transformation.

    Go to Rattlesnake Key and look at the water. It's like the keys.

    The plants do overflow during severe weather events. And they need to, to maintain the bio-digestive treatment functionality.

    Fortunately that at is a temporary condition and is resolved with time.

    Tampa can be proud of the success in water quality improvements, sea grass population and fisheries production over this 20 year experiment. It's an amazing transformation.

    Anclote Key is beautiful too. The water there was fantastic last year when I went. We could see yellowtails swimming around in the water.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,911 Admiral
    "The Bay's miraculous turnaround from one of the most polluted waterways in the nation to the pristine condition it is (considering its urban location) is all because of those same utilities that you are complaining about."

    Tampa Bay is not in pristine condition.
    Tampa Bay is in a lot better shape than it was 20-40 years ago.. If you really want to see the problem with our state, just look in the mirror.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • usfgeologyusfgeology Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    Population growth has stagnated in Pinellas (http://www.pinellascounty.org/Plan/demographics/PopulationHistorical.pdf). We are just about at capacity. State census estimates only a 10% population growth over the next 20 years (http://www.pinellascounty.org/Plan/demographics/PermPopTAZ.pdf). So I'm not sure where your concerns over a population explosion are coming from.

    And I agree that the Bay is in much better shape than it was when I moved here in '86. All those who fertilize like crazy during the rainy season, the phosphate mine release in 1997, green mussel invasions, etc. are impacting our water quality too. Not to mention inland water quality and the chemical war being waged on beneficial SAV (that's the duck hunter in me talking). Baitfish come and go as well. Plenty of traditional spots have banner years that dry up for whatever reason the bait decides. Minor water quality changes can vastly alter species habits as well. I'd like to see the Courtney Cambell causeway become an elevated bridge to restore the historic tidal flushing of upper TB, but then again I don't want to pay for that either. Interesting topic nonetheless OP and I certainly applaud your concern and enthusiasm (but trust us when we say it's not the FS guys fault for not getting up in arms).
  • 2WayCenter2WayCenter Posts: 225 Officer
    Seems like some want to pat themselves on the back for a job well done. "Hey, it's better than it was 40 years ago."

    Many of the nation's pollution problems have been mitigated by the Chinese, as we have exported the bulk of our manufacturing.

    Locally, phosphate production has been reduced by the emergence of China as a major exporter.

    Much of the bay's improvement has been a gift. IMO, it is not time to congratulate on a job well done. Anyone who spends time on the bay can see that there is plenty of room for improvement.
  • Tarpon MonoxideTarpon Monoxide Posts: 542 Officer
    ANUMBER1 wrote: »
    Tampa Bay is in a lot better shape than it was 20-40 years ago.. If you really want to see the problem with our state, just look in the mirror.

    In some ways Tampa Bay is not in a lot better shape than it was 20-40 years ago. If you have been on Tampa Bay with any frequency you could tell us what has made Tampa bay worse off that it has ever been in that regard.

    The person that said in this thread that Tampa Bay is now in pristine condition only reveals more of his political butt kissing over the truth. We wish Tampa Bay was pristine but we don't fool ourselves by pandering and butt kissing agencies that overstate the good and either understate the bad or don't mention it at all.

    Tampa Bay when it was pristine a long time ago commercially produced tons of fresh clean unpolluted edible oysters.

    To the person that claims that Tampa Bay is now pristine I have a bushel of fresh and delicious Tampa Bay Oysters for you. Let's see you put your money where your mouth is.
    Colon Kapermick Nike's Stephin Fetchit

    America, the land of the "regressives" proposed free health care for illegal aliens paid for by legal tax paying Americans who have to pay exorbitant rates for their own health insurance.
  • ericfericf Posts: 455 Deckhand
    How about a tourist flush tax? Put a jar next to every toilet in a Pinellas rental, put in a quarter every time you flush it.

    Hey I'm half kidding, what do you want from me.

    Tight Lines,
    Eric Fosbender

    Team Googanator

    2006 Bull Dolphin 22 with 250 Etec
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 998 Officer
    Money is not really the issue, it is priorities.
    Most people (politicians in particular and their special interest groups) do not see the outdoors the way we (fishermen, hunters, birders and yes even treehuggers) do. If pinellas county is plateauing off maybe property tax increases, hotel taxes and such will have to be the source.
    Whether it's sewage dump or 1/4 billion gallon of toxic gypsum sludge allowed to be stored and get into the Florida Aquifer, that's just FL in one month. Pipeline leak in AL...constant seepage from wells, byproducts from refining...not to mention the problems this year in Merrit Island area and St. Lucie river, etc....nothing is getting any cleaner, do not fool yourselves, open your eyes.
  • Retriever222Retriever222 Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    permit_me wrote: »
    Money is not really the issue, it is priorities.
    Most people (politicians in particular and their special interest groups) do not see the outdoors the way we (fishermen, hunters, birders and yes even treehuggers) do. If pinellas county is plateauing off maybe property tax increases, hotel taxes and such will have to be the source.
    Whether it's sewage dump or 1/4 billion gallon of toxic gypsum sludge allowed to be stored and get into the Florida Aquifer, that's just FL in one month. Pipeline leak in AL...constant seepage from wells, byproducts from refining...not to mention the problems this year in Merrit Island area and St. Lucie river, etc....nothing is getting any cleaner, do not fool yourselves, open your eyes.

    Money is ALWAYS the issue. Money dictates those with influence/power's priorities. Until we get someone in power who truly is not tied to Big Sugar, Big Oil, or Big Business in someway other another, or until we get frustrated enough to grow some balls and initiate Term-Limits and restrict lobbyist contributions- Money will always be the issue. Corners will always be cut, pockets will always be filled, and back-room meetings of private interests will always take place until there is clarity and ACCOUNTABILITY placed on those who we vote into office.
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