Tallahassee, Florida- September 5, 2012
Protecting Florida's water ways was the purpose of a workshop today. Appalachicola Bay was one of six panhandle bodies of water discussed at the Department of Environmental Protection today.
In particular, that agency is in the process of setting nutrient standards for six panhandle estuaries.
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.
Appalachicola Bay has a lot of fresh water flowing into it from the Appalachicola River. It makes for very favorable conditions for oysters, because the filter feeding oysters need the algae from nutrients delivered by the river. And the low salt content is not favorable for predators of the oysters.
90 percent of Florida's harvested oysters come from Appalachicola Bay.
So keeping those nutrient levels favorable is critical for a major industry for the area. And there are current concerns over a smaller than normal oyster harvest.
to help out, people in the area can use phosphorous free yard fertilizer.
Phosphorous is one of the nutrients monitored.
It's in such strong supply already, any runoff from yards could effect this critical ecosystem.