Our dedicated researchers are committed to gathering the data needed to know how our waterways are doing. We get out in the field every week to monitor the Suncoast's most visited bay locations for bacteria. We also monitor for nutrients and industrial pollutants across the Suncoast. Recognizing the threats to mangrove forests, we have started a new program to map the health and extent of mangroves.
We could not do the work we do without the support of our community! Our volunteers contribute through programs, events, letter-writing campaigns, newsletters, and cleanups. Suncoast Waterkeeper operates in the best interests of the Suncoast and its inhabitants. We patrol for pollution with our patrol boat and will pursue pollution reports submitted by you, the public, through Eyes on the Suncoast.
When we receive reports of pollution or of activity that is harmful to the Suncoast, we ACT! Suncoast Waterkeeper tracks permits to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal laws. We comment on proposed legislation or regulatory actions and meet with elected officials to advocate for clean waterways, mangrove protection, and equitable access to a clean environment.
When absolutely necessary, Suncoast Waterkeeper engages in responsible legal action through the Clean Water Act. First, Suncoast Waterkeeper will contact relevant parties and agencies to try and bring polluters into compliance without litigation. Then as a last resort, we will use litigation to hold those who harm our environment accountable. Since such cases unfold over a long period of time and polluters sometimes rely on deep pockets, we often join forces with other local or regional groups to mount our legal efforts. In successful cases, polluters are required to ensure proper mitigation of future damage and to allocate resources to the communities harmed. We address issues such as Piney Point, sewage, industrial pollution, and offshore finfish farms.
Suncoast Waterkeeper is the only regional organization with expertise and resources for spotting, reporting, monitoring, and taking the necessary action to enforce environmental laws that have been put in place to protect human and environmental health. A "win" is only a win when the Suncoast and its inhabitants are brought closer to our collective goal of clean, fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for ALL.
Is It Safe to Swim? Find Out Here:
The map below shows where we sample and up-to-date results about the level of bacteria found in each water sample.
Clicking on a colored symbol will present details of the monitoring results.
In the past 10 years, Suncoast Waterkeeper has taken responsible legal action that has resulted in the removal of 1 trillion gallons of nutrient-polluted wastewater from entering creeks, rivers, and bays. We have curtailed sewage spills, stopped industrial pollution, informed the public about the safety of recreational waters, and tackled one of the most significant local environmental disasters of our time including the Piney Point disaster in 2021. Suncoast Waterkeeper joined with Center for Biological Diversity, Manasota-88, Tampa Bay Waterkeeper and Our Children’s Earth Foundation to sue the property owner, HRK Holdings, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to demand accountability and the safe closure of Piney Point.
Since 2019, we have settled eight Clean Water Act Citizen suits. Five took action against municipalities illegally spilling over 1 trillion gallons of sewage, and three aimed to stop industrial facilities from illegally discharging heavy metal-laden stormwater. Combined, the suits contributed more than $600,000 for environmental projects aimed at enhancing local waters in Sarasota and Tampa Bays, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of investments by Sarasota and the City of Bradenton to improve infrastructure. We all win when there is much less nitrogen pollution to fuel Red Tide, and there is an observable increase in seagrass meadows.