Water-Related News

USF study: Ocean circulation likely to blame for severity of 2018 red tide

robotic glider

2018 was the worst year for red tide in more than a decade. A new study reveals what made it so severe.

The harmful algae that causes red tide is currently at near undetectable levels in Florida waters compared with the much higher concentrations at this time last year. The red tide algae, Karenia brevis, causes respiratory issues, is responsible for massive fish kills and is often blamed for damaging tourism.

While traces of the bloom are always present offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans finds ocean circulation made 2018 the worst year for red tide in more than a decade.

By affecting the nutrient levels offshore, marine scientists at the University of South Florida (USF) showed that the ocean circulation played a controlling role. If nutrient levels offshore are high in spring due to the upwelling of deeper ocean waters, then there tends not to be major red tide blooms along the shoreline in fall. Such upwelling did not occur in winter and spring of 2018, allowing a new bloom to form offshore in spring and summer 2018. An upwelling circulation then set in toward the end of July, ensuring that the newly formed bloom would be carried to the coastline along the bottom where it reinforced what had already been in place from 2017.

Tropical Storm Gordon temporarily disrupted the upwelling circulation, allowing some of the new bloom to be carried to the Florida Panhandle. After the passage of Gordon, the upwelling circulation then allowed the bloom to be transported offshore at the surface to eventually be carried to the Florida's east coast by the Gulf Stream. Thus, the rare occurrence of Karenia brevis at three different locations (Florida's west, Panhandle and east coasts) may be attributed to the ocean circulation.

"This further demonstrates that the ocean circulation is the major determinant of Florida's Karenia brevis harmful algae blooms, dispelling the myth that land-based fertilizers are to blame," said Robert Weisberg, PhD, Distinguished University Professor of Physical Oceanography. "While pollutants can exasperate an existing red tide, they are not the root cause."
 
In addition to ocean circulation models, the team at USF and collaborators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) deployed an autonomous underwater glider for a near month-long mission. Its sensors detected relatively high chlorophyll and low oxygen levels near the sea floor, along with upwelling circulation. On-site sampling also helped pinpoint the initiation zone for all three regions to be the middle shelf some 30 to 50 miles off the coast from north of Tampa Bay to Sarasota Bay.
 
Weisberg and his colleagues have accounted for the occurrence or lack of occurrence of major red tide blooms in 20 of the past 25 years based on the ocean circulation conditions. While recent sampling shows very low concentrations of Karenia brevis offshore, which is not a cause for immediate concern, it is too early to speculate on what future conditions may be. Weisberg expects to have a better idea of the possible severity of 2019's red tide season in mid-June.

Awards Season Open for Water-Efficient Landscapes

CLEARWATER — If your landscape is both eye-catching and water-efficient, now is the time to enter the 2019 Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards. Up for grabs are a custom-made, mosaic landscape stepping stone, recognition by local elected officials and neighborhood bragging rights.

Getting your hands on the coveted award stone requires balancing Florida-friendly plants and landscape elements with attractive design and minimal maintenance, as well as using efficient irrigation techniques that reduce water use. To see if your landscape has what it takes to win, visit tampabaywaterwise.org to apply by June 30, 2019.

Tampa port’s expansion of Big Bend channel done a year early

"One of the largest projects we have worked on" wrapped up 12 months ahead of schedule thanks to a couple of especially powerful suction dredges.

TAMPA — It's the project that took nearly 20 years to get started, but only six months to finish.

A $63 million dredging project to expand the Big Bend Channel at Port Tampa Bay has been completed a year ahead of schedule, the port announced Monday.

The wider, deeper channel will allow for bigger ships to call at the port's 270-acre Port Redwing terminals, which are expected to become a new hub of manufacturing, warehousing and ship-to-shore cargo distribution. The Big Bend Channel connects to the main channel in Tampa’s harbor, creating a link for the movement of goods between the Interstate 4 corridor and markets as far away as China.

Giant storms, aging infrastructure pushing Florida’s sewer systems to breaking point

More than 900,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed into Sarasota Bay after a violent December storm forced open a city pipe.

Summer rain in Daytona Beach and equipment failure in Jacksonville each prompted more than a quarter-million gallons of human waste to spill from sewers last year.

In Boca Raton, a pressurized pipe gushed out nearly 50,000 gallons of untreated wastewater, while another 55,000 gallons spewed from a DeFuniak Springs manhole into nearby Bruce Creek.

These sewage spills are emblematic of failing wastewater systems across Florida, which is grappling with aging infrastructure and no clear solutions for funding a fix.

During the past decade, deteriorating sewers have released 1.6 billion gallons of wastewater, much of it polluting the state’s estuaries and oceans, according to a GateHouse Media analysis of state environmental data.

More than 370 million gallons of that was completely untreated.

Experts say the sewage has fed the blue-green algae blooms wreaking havoc on Florida estuaries and exacerbated red tide in the Gulf of Mexico. Amid historic growth in Florida, environmentalists fear it will only get worse.

“We are at a point where sewers need to be replaced, and have been for some time now,” said Glenn Compton, chairman of Manasota-88, an environmental advocacy organization in Southwest Florida. “Until the local governments make it a priority, we are going to continue seeing these spills. Something needs to be done.”

Tampa Bay Water postpones water plan vote until 2020

Amid vocal opposition to the Tampa Augmentation Project, the water agency again decides not to decide -- this time until a feasibility study is complete.

CLEARWATER -— Facing strong public opposition, the region’s water supply authority again postponed voting on a city of Tampa plan to produce 50 million gallons a day of drinking water by pumping treated wastewater into the Floridan aquifer.

Tampa Bay Water board members voted unanimously to put off making a decision for more than a year, the latest in a string of delays for the $350 million project dubbed “toilet to tap” by critics.

Water board members had already postponed a scheduled October vote until February. In February they postponed it until Monday. On Monday, they agreed there were still too many unanswered questions to make a final decision and postponed a vote once more, this time until June 2020.

Florida DOH emails show agency struggled to manage algae crisis

With toxic algae fouling Southwest Florida’s inland waterways and coastline last year, state health officials faced a flood of worried questions as people turned to them for crisis leadership.

Some were specific: Were Caloosahatchee blue crabs safe to eat? Was it dangerous to breathe near the algae-choked canals? How about swimming in the Gulf?

Others were systemic: Who posts warning signs? Was any agency monitoring illness reports? Would water and air be tested for toxins?

As red tide devastated wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico from Sarasota to the Ten Thousand Islands, a simultaneous outbreak of blue-green algae contaminated the Caloosahatchee watershed. Images of bloated dolphin carcasses and people jet-boating through algae blooms filled news reports. Social media seethed with rumors and petitions. Former Gov. Rick Scott declared two states of emergency - one for each bloom.

Red tide life cycle hits four stages

From agriculture to storms, there are questions surrounding what factors actually influence red tide and its intensity.

While much research still needs to be done on the life cycle of red tide blooms, representatives from Mote Marine Laboratory and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission share the science behind them. We explain the life cycle of a bloom, through its four known stages: initiation, growth, maintenance and termination. Also, we present some of the factors that can contribute to red tide blooms.

Mote and FGCU partner on red tide research

Sarasota marine laboratory and Florida Gulf Coast University collaborate to address harmful algal blooms.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and Florida Gulf Coast University signed an agreement Thursday to start a partnership that addresses impacts of harmful algal blooms to Florida’s environment, economy and quality of life.

The memorandum of understanding, signed by Mote President and CEO Michael P. Crosby and FGCU President Michael V. Martin, sets the framework for future collaboration on an issue that pummeled the region last year with a widespread red tide bloom that lasted 18 months.

Karenia brevis is a single-celled plant-like organism that is carried to shore through environmental conditions such as wind and ocean currents. Scientists debate whether nutrient pollution, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, allows it to reproduce close to shore.

The toxic algae prefer warm and calm salt water. When the red tide cells die, they emit a brevetoxin that kills sea life, including 589 sea turtles during the last episode — the most in any single red tide event — along with 213 manatees and 153 bottlenose dolphins since July 2018.

SPC conference focuses on climate, sea level rise

The coordinator of the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative and an Eckerd College expert on the mind’s processing of climate science will be among featured speakers at a two-day conference on climate change and sea level rise taking place April 5 – April 6 at St. Petersburg College.

[Sea Level] Rise Up: Realities & Opportunities will be held at the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N. Presented by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and the Suncoast Sea Level Rise Collaborative, the conference will emphasize adaptation, resilience and opportunity as it assesses actions planned or already in progress by local governments and businesses to turn the impacts of climate change into positive economic growth.

Dr. Michael D. McDonald will deliver a noon address, Tampa Bay’s Blue-Green Economy in Times of Sea Level Rise, on April 5. He is the architect of the Resilience Systems and Resilience Networks, which seek to rapidly expand information-sharing environments, open-data systems, and collective intelligence to improve health, economic stability, resilience and human security.

Senate outlines $1.7 billion environmental spending plan

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government unveiled the Senate’s $1.7 billion environmental protection budget this morning and accepted it without comment.

“This is the day we’ve all been waiting for. It’s like Christmas," Committee Chair Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, said. “Everybody’s been up all night waiting for this.”

The environmental budget is part of a $5.9 billion package that includes spending plans for other state departments, including Business and Professional Regulation, Agriculture and Consumer Services, Citrus, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, the Lottery, Insurance Regulation, Financial Services, the Public Service Commission and Management Services.

Eutrophication of lakes will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions

What's wrong with being green? Toxins released by algal blooms can ruin drinking water. When dense algae blooms die, the bacteria that decompose the algae also deplete oxygen in the water. Without oxygen, fish and other animals suffocate. Globally, such green waters are also an important contributor to atmospheric methane -- a greenhouse gas that is up to 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

"We estimate that the greening of the world's lakes will increase the emission of methane into the atmosphere by 30 to 90 percent during the next 100 years," said Jake Beaulieu of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and lead author of a paper on lake greening and greenhouse gas emissions published March 26, 2019 in the journal Nature Communications.

According to the authors, three distinct mechanisms are expected to induce increases in lake greening or eutrophication during the next 100 years. First, human populations are expected to increase by 50 percent by 2100. More people means more sewage and more fertilizers that runoff land. At current rates of population growth and climate change, eutrophication in lakes will increase by 25 to 200 percent by 2050 and double or quadruple by 2100.

New for Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis names chief science officer

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday appointed a prominent biologist as the state’s first chief science officer, a new position the governor created as part of his focus on the environment.

Thomas Frazer, director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and former acting director of the UF Water Institute, will take the job in the state Department of Environmental Protection. His initial focus will be water, particularly the algae blooms that have plagued parts of the state’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts, affected fishing, swimming, tourism and wildlife.

“Obviously as many of you know, we have had persistent water problems, and I’ve been very clear that the time for us to address this is now,” the governor said at a news conference at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. “We have taken action. We’re going to take more today.”

Frazer said he understood that addressing the water problems would be his priority.

The Last Green Thread: New documentary focuses on vanishing green space in Florida

A documentary film about a greenway corridor between the Tampa and Orlando areas will screen for free at Tampa Theatre on Thursday, April 25, followed by a panel discussion among local thought leaders.

The Last Green Thread tells the story of the April 2018 Heartlands to Headwater expedition three friends made along the thin green band along the Interstate 4 corridor that connects two of the state’s largest wetlands systems- the Everglades’ headwaters just south of Orlando and the Green Swamp just northeast of Tampa.

A description of the documentary on the Tampa Theatre website describes the film as a journey “into the most rapidly developing landscape in Central Florida, traveling the narrowest and most imperiled wildlife corridor in the state.”

The expedition is a project of The Florida Wildlife Corridor, a nonprofit organization working to build support to “connect, protect and restore” the “statewide network of lands and waters that supports wildlife and people.”

Reclaimed water restrictions in effect April 1 - June 30

Pinellas County seasonal reclaimed water restrictions go into effect on Monday, April 1, and run through Sunday, June 30. Due to supply fluctuation in both the north and south county reclaimed water systems, the restrictions schedule for reclaimed water users will be different for north and south county customers during this period. Enforcement of watering restrictions is currently being intensified to encourage responsible use of reclaimed water.

Effective Monday, April 1, North County reclaimed water customers may only irrigate two days per week based on property address, according to the schedule below:

  • Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, or 8) may water on Tuesday and/or Saturday.
  • Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, or 9) may water on Wednesday and/or Sunday.
  • Parcels with mixed or no address, such as common areas associated with a residential subdivision, may water on Wednesday and/or Sunday.
  • Watering is prohibited between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on all authorized days.

Because irrigation is entirely prohibited on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, the reclaimed water system will be shut down on these days, as needed. The system will also be shut down from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all days of operation for supply recovery. Customers should monitor the reclaimed water restrictions website for up-to-date information on shutdowns and schedule changes at www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/reclaim-irrigation.htm.

Customer cooperation in following the two-days-per-week watering schedule is critical as excessive demand may require returning to watering one day per week.

South County reclaimed water customers may irrigate three days per week based on property address according to the following schedule:

  • Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) may water on Tuesday, Thursday and/or Saturday.
  • Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) may water on Wednesday, Friday and/or Sunday.
  • Parcels with mixed or no address, such as common areas associated with a residential subdivision, may water on Wednesday, Friday and/or Sunday.
  • Lawn irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on all authorized days.
  • Lawn irrigation is also prohibited on Monday.

Pinellas County Utilities reminds customers that reclaimed water is a limited resource due to water usage, fluctuations in weather and capacity of the system. Conservation is necessary to promote adequate supply that is shared by all customers.

Customers are encouraged to follow these restrictions throughout the year to promote a healthy, sustainable Florida lawn and landscape. Utilities advises customers to learn about and apply Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ practices, including watering only when grass and plants start to wilt and, when needed, watering deeply to encourage deep, drought-tolerant root systems.

Pinellas County Extension offers a multitude of information about creating Florida-appropriate landscapes that are attractive, healthier with less water and are less costly than replacing plants every year. Visit www.pinellascounty.org/extension to view lawn and garden resources and a listing of upcoming classes.

Utilities customers are also reminded that Pinellas County follows year-round conservation measures allowing irrigation using potable, well, lake or pond water two days per week on assigned days based on house address. To verify watering days, visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/water-restrict.htm.

For more information about reclaimed water, visit www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/reclaim-irrigation.htm, or call Pinellas County Utilities Customer Service at (727) 464-4000. Customers are advised to monitor the website, as additional restrictions may be implemented if seasonal rainfall is lower than anticipated and the reclaimed water supply becomes limited.

‘Red Tide Summit’ on Indian Rocks Beach addresses public concerns

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Harmful algal blooms (HABs), commonly known as red tides, are natural phenomena that have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico throughout human history. Last year’s red tide, which started in 2017, was a particularly epic incident that killed fish and other precious marine life, along with much tourism-driven business along the west Florida coast.

In response, Pinellas County and the City of Indian Rocks Beach held a Red Tide Summit March 28th at the Sheraton Sand Key resort in Clearwater. The USF College of Marine Science (CMS) panelists included Dr. Robert Weisberg, Distinguished Professor, and long ago CMS grad Kelli Hammer Levy, who managed a highly praised response effort to last year’s epic spill in her position as Division Director for Pinellas County Environmental Management.

Weisberg explained that ocean circulation determines the location of a red tide. Levy recalled that when signs of the bloom came to bear, she called Weisberg, who warned that based on his models this was likely to be a “significant event.” Indeed it was. After reviewing the county’s impressive response to the spill, Levy asked the audience to commit to reducing nutrient pollution.

Dolphins with brain disease also test positive for algae toxin: study

Toxins produced from nasty blue-green algae made an appearance in dead dolphins that tested positive for brain disease.

The Miami Herald reports a University of Miami study found in all but one of the 14 dolphins it examined, the BMAA toxin was detectable in those that showed signs of degenerative damage similar to Alzheimer's in humans.

The one dolphin died from a boat strike.

Researchers are trying to figure out to what extent the algae's toxins, which have plagued Florida's waterways in recent years, threaten human health. It is concerning enough as dolphins are considered a sentinel species -- one that could give warning of issues that might affect humans. 

Anclote River dredging funds diverted to Panhandle hurricane relief

Millions of dollars that had been earmarked for a major dredging project in the Tampa Bay area are about to head farther north.

Instead of spending it on dredging the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs, the federal government is diverting $3.5 million to the Panhandle for Hurricane Michael relief.

The decision isn’t sitting well with people who live along the river waiting for flood relief, nor the people who battle shallow water trying to get their boats out of the bay, including tourist barges, fishing vessels and sponge boats.

More than 150 businesses depend on the Anclote River channel for their lives and livelihood, not to mention a million tourists who visit the area each year. It has a $252 million impact on Tampa Bay’s economy.

But over the past 25 years, silt and sediment have slowly accumulated, clogging parts of the Anclote River channel and Tarpon Springs’ main vessel-turning basin.

That’s made it tough for bigger boats to navigate and turn around, and forced many to look to other ports for fuel and service.

As coastal flooding surges, ‘living shorelines’ seen as the answer

On August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene crashed into North Carolina, eviscerating the Outer Banks. The storm dumped rain shin-high and hurled three-meter storm surges against the barrier island shores that faced the mainland, destroying roads and 1,100 homes.

After the storm, a young ecologist then at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill named Rachel K. Gittman decided to survey the affected areas. Gittman had worked as an environmental consultant for the U.S. Navy on a shoreline-stabilization project and had been shocked to discover how little information existed on coastal resilience. “The more I researched, the more I realized that we just don’t know very much,” she explains. “So much policy and management is being made without the underlying science.” She decided to make shorelines her specialty.

What Gittman found was eye-opening. Along the hard-hit shorelines, three quarters of the bulkheads—typically concrete walls about two meters high that are the standard homeowner defense against the sea in many parts of the country—were damaged. Yet none of the natural marsh shorelines were impaired. The marshes, which extended 10 to 40 meters from the shore, had lost no sediment or elevation from Irene. Although the storm initially reduced the density of their vegetation by more than a third, a year later the greenery had bounced back and was as thick as ever in many cases.

Gittman’s study confirmed what many experts had begun to suspect. “Armored” shorelines such as bulkheads offer less protection against big storms than people think. By reflecting wave energy instead of dispersing it, they tend to wear away at the base, which causes them to gradually tilt seaward. Although they still function well in typical storms, they often backfire when high storm surges overtop them, causing them to breach or collapse, releasing an entire backyard into the sea.

FGCU Study: Airborne toxic cyanobacteria can travel more than a mile inland

FGCU research released Friday shows airborne cyanobacteria toxins can travel more than a mile inland, raising questions about health consequences for those exposed to the region’s recent massive blue-green algae blooms last year.

A bloom of Microcystis aeruginosa began in Lake Okeechobee in early June and was carried into the waters of the St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River via discharges from the lake directed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The water had to move, the Corps explained, in order to prevent the Herbert Hoover Dike from failing and flooding the farming towns in the dike's shadow.

Scientists' air samplers found two blue-green algae toxins — Microcystin and BAMA — at the university’s Buckingham complex, said lead scientist Mike Parsons, a professor of marine biology. Both have been linked by some scientists to grave health problems, including liver cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

Sewer system woes prompt St. Pete Beach to seek millions in funding

ST PETE BEACH — The city of St. Pete Beach is seeking at least $12 million from county and state governments to help with sewer system upgrades necessary to keep the city and tourism industry functioning at peak capacity.

“Securing that money will keep us on track,” said Mayor Alan Johnson.

The city’s sewer problems started long before Johnson became mayor. In 2016, rain from Tropical Storm Colin overloaded the sewer systems and forced sewage to discharge into the Boca Ciega Bay.

Over the last eight years, the city has invested about $10 million into upgrading and maintaining sewer systems, but $12 million more is still needed.

There’s also concern among the local hospitality industry, as a city resolution in 2016 put a hold on expansion and major renovations for hotels and multifamily dwellings.

Water system maintenance to begin in April

  • Bi-annual water system maintenance project to begin April 22
  • Routine switch from chloramine to chlorine improves water quality
  • During project, water will continue to meet all federal and state standards

The method of water treatment for Pinellas County and its wholesale customers will be temporarily modified between Monday, April 22, and Saturday, May 11. The first of two short-term changes from chloramine to chlorine disinfection in 2019 is a routine maintenance measure designed to optimize water quality.

Those that will benefit from this program include Pinellas County Utilities water customers, as well as customers in the cities of Clearwater, Pinellas Park and Safety Harbor.

The disinfection program is designed to maintain distribution system water quality and minimize the potential for any future problems. There have been no indications of significant bacteriological contamination problems in the system. The water will continue to meet all federal and state standards for safe drinking water.

Kidney dialysis patients should not be impacted, but should contact their dialysis care provider for more information about chlorine treatment. Fish owners should not be affected if they already have a system in place to remove chloramines, but should contact local pet suppliers with any questions.

Customers may notice a slight difference in the taste and/or odor of the water during this temporary change in treatment.

Chlorine was used as the primary disinfectant in the water for more than 50 years prior to 2002. Pinellas County switched to chloramine in 2002 to ensure compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards. Many communities using chloramine convert back to chlorine for short periods of time to maintain system water quality.

The second short-term change from chloramine to chlorine disinfection in 2019 will take place from Sept.

After years of inaction, septic tanks once again focus in Florida

Florida has relied on septic tanks to treat sewage and wastewater for decades, but as the state has grown, the question of overuse and contamination has led lawmakers to push for increased oversight and a shift to sewers where possible.

After the toxic algae and red tide outbreak of 2018, that push is back.

“For too many years, politicians have talked about, 'We’ll fix the Indian River Lagoon,' and then nothing is ever done about it,” Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard County) said.

Fine is pushing for up to $50 million in matching funds to help remove septic tanks and connect sewer systems.

The area of the state that Fine represents has been dealing with septic issues for years. It is estimated that more than 30 percent of the nitrogen that flows into the Indian River Lagoon comes from septic tanks.

In 2018, the Brevard County Commission passed an ordinance requiring all new septic systems on the barrier islands and inland areas within 200 feet of the lagoon to be built with more expensive, low-nitrogen septic systems. In addition, the county is using its half-cent sales tax to upgrade existing systems or connect people to sewer where available.

Florida is home to more than 3 million septic tanks, 600,000 of which are along the Indian River Lagoon. The state recommends owners have septic systems inspected every three years and pumped every three to five years. But that doesn’t always happen, and it is currently estimated that more than 10 percent of the septic systems in the state are failing, causing problems on both coasts.

Will the Tampa Bay area be under water in 100 years? Rising seas tell a frightening story

Both Tampa and St. Petersburg rank in the top 25 U.S. cities susceptible to sea level rise by 2050.

All it takes is one drive around Tampa Bay to see that our glittering waters are one of our biggest assets.

That fact is perhaps best exemplified in the three-mile expanse that is the Howard Frankland Bridge, a low-lying structure close enough to the water that it makes a drive to and from the airport feel almost like you’re floating on the sea.

But the beauty of the Howard Frankland is tainted by the very thing that makes it special: its proximity to the water. As sea level rise threatens to change our landscape, structures like the Howard Frankland may one day be buried by the ocean.

A look at NOAA’s sea level rise map shows us the image we don’t want to see: The islands and coasts of Tampa Bay slowly fill up with water as the sea level rises foot by foot. Eventually, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg’s bayfront and parts of Tampa’s Riverwalk are all swallowed up.

Florida’s geography puts it at an extreme risk for the effects of sea level rise compared to most U.S. cities. St. Petersburg and Tampa are within the top 25 cities susceptible to coastal flooding due in part to sea level rise in the next 30 years, according to a survey from the nonprofit group Climate Central.

By 2050, about 91,000 people in St. Petersburg and 57,000 in Tampa will live in locations vulnerable to flooding, which will be exacerbated by climate change and rising seas, indicates Climate Central. Residents who live in those areas have at least a 1 percent annual chance of experiencing flooding, based on guidelines established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.