Tampa Bay: A Collaborative Approach to Effective Watershed Management

by Barton L. Bibler, Florida Dep of Environmental, Regulation, Tallahassee, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Urban and Regional Conflict Resolution in Water Related Issues


Rapid urbanization in the Tampa Bay watershed continues to challenge Florida's surface water management efforts. Upgrading of all wastewater treatment facilities substantially reduced the point source loads, but stormwater inputs and wetland destruction are degrading Bay water quality and habitat values. The 1987 Florida Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Act named Tampa Bay a priority waterbody to be restored, and the resulting SWIM Plan has formulated a comprehensive approach to reversing these detrimental trends. In 1989 new stormwater legislation improved institutional coordination and supplemented funding for the SWIM Plan's implementation. Most recently, Tampa Bay was included in the EPA's National Estuary Program which brings the federal government into the restoration activities. This paper will focus on the roles of the various levels of government responsible for protecting and restoring Tampa Bay. Their respective programs, regulations, and funding evidence commitment to a mutually supportive watershed management process. New federal stormwater requirements, revised State of Florida Water Policy, Southwest Florida Water Management District's SWIM Plan, and local government stormwater utilities are integral to the success of this important mission ... to restore and protect Tampa Bay.

Subject Headings: Bays | Stormwater management | Watersheds | Coastal management | Management methods | Water management | Municipal water | Water treatment | Florida | United States | Tampa

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