Myakka River Park

Rising waters are going to be a challenge in the future with climate change in Southwest Florida. In 2018, Venice Myakka River Park was closed due to intermittent flooding.

VENICE — Water was a major topic at Tuesday’s Venice City Council meeting: stormwater, rising sea water and flood waters.

Taylor Engineering Inc. presented its final stormwater monitoring report. It shows that water discharged from city outfalls had bacteria results above state standards but less than had been modeled; total nitrogen levels below state standards and modeling; and total phosphorus levels just below state standards but above modeling.

Monitoring took place over a period of months and involved up to 10 samples, said Gary Serviss of VHB, which worked with Taylor.

Five outfalls were picked for more intense monitoring from June to December, during which 16 storms occurred, he said.

Overall, the results “generally confirmed that nutrients (particularly total phosphorus) and bacteria should be focus of future stormwater quality projects,” Taylor’s presentation stated.

Nutrient runoff is believed to feed algae blooms, including red tide.

The next phase, said Jenna Phillips, of Taylor, is a cost/benefit analysis of the city’s options for improving the quality of water being discharged into the Gulf. Then, similar modeling and testing will be done for Hatchett Creek.

Another city goal is to minimize the amount of stormwater that flows over the city’s beaches, City Engineer Kathleen Weeden said.

Venice’s effort to improve stormwater quality is somewhat hampered by the number of septic tanks east and south of the city whose discharge ends up in its stormwater system, she said.

Taylor also prepared the resiliency plan, which identified areas that would be especially vulnerable in the event of either a 50- or 100-year flood or sea-level rise of 1.5 feet or more over 30-50 years, or both.

“I’m not really concerned sea-level rise will get you in the next 30 years,” said Angela Schedel, of Taylor.

The risk of flooding is a bigger worry from a major storm event, however.

Venice is in a better position than many coastal cities to deal with sea-level rise, Weeden said, because of the federal government’s commitment to beach renourishment.

Bay flooding is a more serious problem, she said, adding that several city departments are working on a joint plan to address flooding, utilities needs and road improvements in the Tarpon Center Drive area, which Taylor’s report identifies as a focus area.


Other business

Also on Tuesday the Council:

• approved the appointment of Jeff Boone, Ernest Booker, Richard Clapp, John Holic, Joe Ferretti, Kit McKeon and Jon Preiksat to the charter review committee.

• approved cutting the recycling surcharge from 19% to 14%.

• approved the annual update of the five-year Capital Improvement Schedule and Long-Range Schedule of Capital Projects.

• adopted an ordinance amending sections of the Municipal Police Officers’ Pension Trust Fund.

• approved waiving the sidewalk requirements for the north side of the Island Village Montessori Charter School site-and-development plan.

• presented the Mayor’s Pillar of the Community Award to Dorothy Korwek.

• appointed John Bolger to the Citizen Tax Oversight Committee.

• approved the donation of retiring Venice Police K-9 Mako to Officer Kristen Kimson, his handler.

• approved a staff recommendation to discontinue Zoom meetings other than for the Council and Planning Commission after the city’s state of emergency is rescinded June 26, the date Florida’s state of emergency expires.

• designated seven live oaks at 1109-1115 Ketch Lane, in the Pinebrook subdivision, as “Venetian trees.”

• heard a presentation by city arborist Jim Yelverton.

Watch the video of the meeting at VeniceGov.com under the “Meetings” header.

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