The Tampa Bypass Canal is a 14-mile long waterway that is operated by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. It includes a constructed canal and several concrete flood-control structures. The Tampa Bypass Canal was designed and built mostly in the 1960s and 1970s. When there is a large amount of rainfall and flooding is expected, this structure redirects the rising waters along the Hillsborough River into the constructed canal and down to McKay Bay. This protects homes and businesses in Temple Terrace and Tampa from flooding.
The Tampa Bypass Canal works together with the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area, which is land owned by the District. This land provides an area for the storage and detention of overflow water from the Hillsborough River and the Tampa Bypass Canal. Because it is used for water overflow storage, there are no homes or businesses built here.
The land in the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area represents a variety of natural habitats along portions of the Hillsborough River and the connecting floodplain areas. Habitats include river swamps with cypress trees and hardwoods, cabbage palms and oak hammocks, and some areas of pine lands and palmetto prairies. As one of the largest undeveloped areas in Hillsborough County, this area is managed for its water resources and flood management functions. But it has also become a favorite recreational area and a regionally important wildlife area.
Don't forget to see the virtual reality sequence (represented by the moving icon at the top of this page) before you move on to the next stop:
Southwest Florida Water Management District