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February 27, 2007

The Southwest Florida Management Districtís Governing Board approved funding Tuesday to use the remaining funds from a project that evaluates alternatives for reducing flooding and improving water quality within the Brooker Creek Watershed to do the same for three adjacent watersheds.

The Brooker Creek Watershed is approximately 30 square miles located within Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. This area has experienced significant hydrologic changes due to rapid growth. These changes have resulted in impacts to flood protection, water quality and natural systems.

The Brooker Creek Watershed Management Program involves collecting topographic information about the watershed, evaluating the watershed and creating a watershed management plan.

The program was estimated to cost up to $1.4 million. Funding has been divided evenly between the Districtís Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board and Pinellas County.

URS Southern Corporation, the consultant completing the project, estimates the finished project will come in at $902,356, leaving a surplus of $497,644. These funds will now be used to collect topographic information, evaluate and create watershed management plans for the Hollin Creek, Lake Tarpon and Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal watersheds. These three watersheds, which are adjacent to the Brooker Creek Watershed, cover approximately 28 square miles within Pinellas County. The issues in these watersheds are similar to the ones in the Brooker Creek Watershed.

A watershed management plan has five stages:

  • The collection of detailed information such as land elevation, drainage ditches, culverts, and other features that affect how water moves within the watershed;

  • The evaluation of the collected data to identify flooding or water quality problems;

  • The identification of potential projects, or best management practices, that will resolve the water resource problems;

  • The implementation of best management practices to resolve problems;

  • The regular updating of data to ensure that decisions are being made based on the best available information.

The revised program is expected to be complete by September 2010.

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