The History Of Red Tide & Sewage In Tampa (And Lessons Learned)


Did you know that Tampa Bay was basically a sewage dump back in the 70s?

In this episode, environmental scientist and conservation advocate Lindsay Cross joins me to share some of the water history of Tampa Bay, how they turned their horrendous water quality issues around, and what we can learn from it today.

She also shares her thoughts on what is causing this severe red tide, who’s to blame, and how we can fix it going forward.

Check it out below!

You can watch the video version of this podcast below, listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

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The History Of Red Tide In Tampa Bay [VIDEO]

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The History Of Red Tide In Tampa Bay [PODCAST]

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You can follow the timestamped table of contents here:

  • 0:30 – Introduction to our special guest, Lindsay Cross
  • 4:18 – Tampa Bay’s history in water quality
  • 5:49 – The odors from the sewage were so toxic
  • 7:33 – Too many “nutrients” fuel the growth
  • 8:14 – Big investment in water quality
  • 11:05 – How do we make change?
  • 12:50 – The consortium that was formed to help the problem
  • 13:42 – Correlation between seagrass and fishing
  • 16:35 – The causes of the pollution in Tampa Bay
  • 18:30 – 200 tons of nitrogen that went into Tampa Bay from Piney Point
  • 19:50 – 1600 tons of dead marine life in the past couple of months
  • 21:38 – Here’s what we can do collectively to help
  • 23:48 – Needing clean water to sustain our fisheries
  • 25:52 – What can be done on an individual level
  • 28:04 – Contact your local representatives!
  • 31:23 – Red tide is not over for the year
  • 33:47 – Where you can learn more about Lindsay:


red tide fish kill

We can learn a lot from what they did back in the 70s to turn around the water pollution issues faced in Tampa Bay.

There are many factors that go into the current red tide situation.

And to start, we need to make our voices heard, hold everyone accountable, and move forward with a solution that we are all part of!

Have any questions about this or what you can do to help?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know an angler who is tired of getting skunked, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Christopher Shuff
3 months ago

Thank you for another great piece of content on this subject. I’d love to hear more about the nutrient runoff from unsustainable tilling farming practices and the level of affect it’s having on FL waterways.

Matthew Dunford
3 months ago

When PSJ/MXB had the bad red tide a few years ago, I had read that water pollution was not directly linked to red tide. It’s certainly bad and is often overlooked, but the study examined red tide blooms over the years and couldn’t tie it back to specific pollution issues.

I am not defending polluters in the slightest. I’m just wondering if the science is there to connect it 100% to red tide.

Bill Brown
3 months ago

Great podcast!. Can we get something similar for the North Indian river and Mosquito Lagoon so that those of us on the east coast can know how we can help?

3 months ago

Great podcast. Thank you. Keep up the excellent work.

Roland Courtois
3 months ago

I have vacationed on the west coast of Florida for weeks or months every year for the past 20 years. The 2018 red tide bloom severely hindered the quality of the vacation time and this new bloom is making me seriously question my choice of the west coast as a vacation destination. My presence or absence from Florida is not significant in itself, but if a long time supporter of the region is going through this type of questioning, something tells me that many others are. What is needed is something to help regain confidence that the situation will be effectively dealt with and that something is a valid, concrete action plan supported by those who have the power to act, including the population. Otherwise, the consideration of alternatives will itself be transformed into a concrete action plan. I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.

Stanley Williams
3 months ago

great interview of what has happened and what is going on.
Lindsay is very polished public speaker and presents facts well.
It was nice to have a dialogue between two well spoken knowledgable
people without some narrow view.l

Buzz Butters
3 months ago

Very informative. Hopefully the Bar Room Biologists will listen and provide proper support and involvement. Way to keep us updated Salt Strong. Not just a fishing club. Im looking forward to more updates and progress on this super important topic. Buzz .

3 months ago
Reply to  Buzz Butters

Not biologists. They need ecologists

Joe Cohen
3 months ago

Just watched the podcast with Lindsay Cross, very informative. What does happen to the collected dead fish? What is done with the carcasses? I’m a new owner of a condo in north Ft Myers. When we were visiting my son last year, he took us to a beach for the sunset, we were gasping for breath, it was disgusting. This was near North port, Florida.

Steven Free
3 months ago

Yea I pity you guys living and fishing on the gulf coast bad water quality to many redtides and to me waaasy to darn hot as well I’m glad when I moved and transferred to go back in 97 from the navy in California to the east coast navy Jacksonville northeast fl that I did not have to go to the gulf side after viewing a lot of hurricanes in the late nineties all mostly hitting somewhere in the gulf coast and also going there to visit a few times and experiencing the relentless horrible heat in sorry but I can honestly say you all can have it I’ll take my murky water conditions and night fishing and no redtides any day and while I’m sorry about all the bad things that have happened in the gulf coast part of Florida it’s just another political PROMISE gone wrong the politicians keep promising year after year that things are going to be done about it but the sad real truth is they aren’t obviously or this wouldn’t keep happening year after year I detest politics and don’t know a lot about them but I know enough to spot a lie in the making before it’s done it’s damage sad world we live in and unfortunatly until our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ comes back to earth to do what his father commands it’s only going to get worse

Matthew Dunford
3 months ago
Reply to  Steven Free

Punctuation would help a lot.

3 months ago

great Saltstrong presentation probably one of the most important ones ever published, applicable to other ecosystems, mine is Biscayne Bay. This is just scratching the surface if only we will listen and make an action plan, I most definitely have!!!! Keep up the work, our very survival is at play here!!!! Saltstrong Insider Member and clean environment advocate.


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