Island Estates Civic Association Members Learn How To Help Prevent Red Tide
By Anne McKay Garris
At their annual meeting, November 12, members of the Island Estates Civic Association heard a discussion on what homeowners can do to help prevent Red Tide. Scientists have determined that the Red Tide is an algae that feeds on nitrogen and phosphorus. When this algae reaches excess proportions in our waters it produces a toxin that kills fish and other sea creatures; emits a gas that causes respiratory problems and eye irritation; and does damage to our tourist industry by making our waters unusable for swimming and boating, often at the peak of the tourist season.
Although some of Florida's problem with Red Tide comes from agricultural fertilizers, mining, and sewage discharges, much of it also comes from excess fertilizer on lawns and gardens adjacent to our waterways.
Ms. Cathy Harrelson, Task Force Chairman of the Suncoast Sierra Club, told the Island Estates citizens that homeowners can do their share to correct the problem by making sure their lawn service does not place fertilizer close to the sea wall. Other suggestions were to provide a buffer zone where fertilizer would not be needed, between the lawn and the water, and to be careful not to over fertilize.
Ms. Harrelson reported that the Sierra Club is working on an ordinance to require a six foot wide low maintenance zone beside the water. "This," she said, "would not only protect the water from algae growth but would also save money." She also suggested that gardens using native plants would need less fertilizer and watering.
In other business, Association President David Muzio reported that the Association had begun working with the Clearwater Beach Association and the Sand Key Association, as well as the Coalition Of Clearwater Neighborhood Associations on issues they had in common. One of these is enforcement of City codes.
He reported that IECA had been awarded $1,000 by the City of Clearwater's CAN awards program for their efforts at beautification of the community. The plan to place Island Estates Utilities underground was addressed by Mr. Robert Longenecker. Although this project will be postponed for several months because of the current financial situation, Mr. Longenecker discussed the question of Penny For Pinellas funds for the project, and assessments of property owners as well. He pointed out that the advantages of having the utilities underground were, safety, improvement in property values and reliability in case of hurricanes.
"If the electric power feeder lines goes out," he said, "all of Island Estates and much of Clearwater Beach would be without power." The power feeder line enters Island Estates at the intersection of Windward Island and Windward Passage and exits at the end of Skiff Point, going under Mandalay Channel to Clearwater Beach.
The annual meeting, which began with a social hour, was well attended.
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