The Tampa Bay Estuary is home to over 3.1 million people and growing everyday. Our efforts to protect beautiful Tampa Bay requires the help of each and every resident. All street drains lead directly to the bay, so even those of us who live miles away from the coast have an effect on its health. Here are some ways you can get involved and help us protect and restore Tampa Bay.
Ten Ways to Save Tampa Bay
#1: Drink Local
Plastic water bottles take more energy to make, transport, store and recycle. BYOB with a reusable bottle filled with tap water, or a filtered pitcher.
Fast Fact: The average American uses 167 disposable water bottles a year.
#2: Scoop the Poop
Dog poop can add bacteria to the bay, and transmit disease to humans and other dogs. Prevent poo-lution by bagging and tossing dog doo in the trash.
Fast Fact: In the Tampa Bay area, an average of 50 tons of dog poop is left on the ground each day.
#3: Skip the Fertilizer In Summer
Heavy rains don’t water fertilizer in, they wash it away. If you have a lawn, fertilize only in spring and fall to prevent runoff that causes ugly algae blooms in our bay.
Pro Tip: Use iron instead of fertilizer in summer to keep your grass green without growing faster. Side benefit: Less mowing, more hammock time!
#4: Reel in Our Tarpon Tag
Your purchase of the Tampa Bay Estuary license plate funds community-led bay restoration and education.
Fast Fact: The license tag has provided $1.8 million to schools, neighborhoods and community groups for grassroots projects to help the bay.
#5: Cut the (Nature) Deficit
Kids who spend time outdoors perform better in school and build healthier immune systems.
“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.” – George Eliot
#7: Boat Slow Where Seagrasses Grow
About 70% of the fish we catch for food or fun spend part of their lives in the bay’s seagrass meadows. So do manatees, stingrays, shrimp, scallops and many other animals.
Pro Tip: Go slow, or use a push pole or trolling motor in shallow water to protect underwater seagrasses and the manatees that feed on them.
#8: Drive Less and Drive Small
Tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks have a greater impact on the bay’s water quality than power plants. Consolidate your errands, share the ride, and drive smaller, fuel-efficient cars to keep our air and water clean.
Fast Fact: Tampa Bay Estuary Program research has shown that mobile sources contribute 4x more Nitrogen Oxide pollution to the watershed than power plants, and twice as much NOx pollution directly to the bay.
#9: Give Poison a Pass
Why dump toxins all over your little piece of paradise? Give bad bugs the boot by hand-plucking or using non-toxic horticultural sprays and soaps.
Fast Fact: 95% of the world’s insects are either helpful or harmless. Learn to recognize good guys like ladybugs, assassin bugs and, yes, spiders!
#10: Be a Giver, Not a Taker
Give a little of your time to make the bay better. Volunteer to restore a wetland, root out invasive plants or take part in a coastal cleanup.
Fast Fact: Fifty volunteers can plant 5,000 sprigs of marsh grass in two hours