TAMPA, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is hosting an annual update meeting on Sept. 3 for the water-quality restoration plan, or Hillsborough River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), that covers five lower Hillsborough River tributaries and the lower portion of the Hillsborough River. The department will present the second phase of the restoration plan and discuss additional efforts to reduce fecal coliform bacteria loading to the tributaries and river.
“The BMAP process is structured for phased implementation designed to achieve incremental reductions while simultaneously monitoring and conducting studies to better understand the water-quality dynamics in the watershed” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “This allows the department to adapt the long-term restoration plan to new information.”
To address excessive levels of bacteria in these water bodies, a BMAP was adopted in 2009. Results from the first phase of the restoration plan show improvements in the frequency that bacteria levels in the water bodies are meeting the state water quality standard. Activities identified for the second phase of BMAP implementation include the use of microbial source tracking to identify the origin of bacteria through DNA analysis. Knowing the bacteria’s origin enables DEP to target potential sources more accurately. As sources are determined, management programs will be utilized to eliminate the human-based sources.
The Hillsborough River extends over parts of three counties, including much of the Northeastern quarter of Hillsborough County, a large area of Central Pasco County, and a small portion of Northwestern Polk County. A portion of the Hillsborough River is also designated as an Outstanding Florida Water due to its special natural attributes.
Additional information on the meeting can be found here.