VENICE, FL (970 WFLA) -- The city of Venice has been hit hard by red tide... with thousands of dead fish stacking up along beaches and canals.
Vemice city council called an all day emergency meeting and heard from experts as well as angry residents venting.
A scientist from Mote Marine Lab says red tide is a natural occurrence but fertilizer runoff can exacerbate the problem.
Council members decided to explore how to clean up the fish and whether to restrict lawn fertilizer.
Speakers complained about the potential impact on business, about being able to get outside and go to the beach, and whether the red tide outbreak is related to the same factors involved in the blue-green slime in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.
Here are some of the other directives to come out of today's meeting, from a city news release:
- · Require all properties on septic systems in Venice city limits to convert to sewer hookups by December 2019. (The City Finance Department will look into the feasibility of loans and/or a payment system for those who need it; the Utilities Department will come back in 30-45 days with a more detailed timeline.)
- · Direct staff to develop a plan for an outfall monitoring system for pollution by March 2019.
- · Direct staff to place Florida Yards requirements in the LDRs (Land Development Regulations) for development by March 2019.
- · Direct the city manager to research how to supplement Sarasota County cleanup efforts of dead fish and come up with an action plan (equipment, personnel, grants) by Aug. 28.
- · Direct staff to develop an educational program for residents for the reduction of fertilizer use, and direct the city attorney to come up with a resolution to reduce fertilizer use year-round in the City of Venice.
- · Approve a letter to be sent to Gov. Rick Scott from Mayor John Holic on behalf of Council encouraging better stewardship of Lake Okeechobee by the federal government and the Army Corps of Engineers and requesting that the State of Florida take action in limiting nitrogen, animal waste, and phosphorus into all of our waterways, and requesting that the state continue to fund red tide research.