Property Information

  • Sawgrass Lake Park is located just southwest of the intersection of Gandy Boulevard and I-275 in Pinellas County.
  • The property is owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) and managed by Pinellas County.
  • The lake and the wetland system on the property provide flood protection and natural water treatment to enhance the quality of water draining into Tampa Bay.

Project Background

  • A study conducted in the late 1990s showed that the land on the west side of Sawgrass Lake contained elevated levels of lead and arsenic.
  • This is a result of shooting from a nearby gun range that, by law, was allowed to have spent lead shot fall on a portion of the District’s land.
  • Cleanup activities were put on hold during litigation between the District and the Skyway Trap and Skeet Club.
  • Several years of litigation resulted in a settlement agreement between the District and the Skyway Trap and Skeet Club and new state legislation in April 2004, directing “Best Management Practices” and improved environmental controls for gun clubs.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, the District will undertake removal of lead shot and other contaminants from areas within the Sawgrass Lake Park Water Management Area.
  • The Skyway Trap and Skeet Club will be responsible for cleaning up its property and creating a shot barrier. Club members are also shooting with steel shot instead of lead shot until the project is completed.

Project Details

  • As part of the project, the District will:
    • Remove spent lead shot and contaminants from the system.
    • Clear contaminated vegetation and manage it according to state regulations.
    • Dredge a portion of Sawgrass Lake and remove sediments.
  • The construction will occur during normal business hours.
  • Sawgrass Lake Park will remain open with its usual schedule during the cleanup. The project will not interfere with daily park operations.
  • This project is permitted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • This project will be paid for by the District’s Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board. The Board has budgeted more than $25 million for this project, which includes $1 million from state appropriations through the Ecosystems Trust Fund for Tampa Bay and $455,000 from a Florida Department of Environmental Protection 319(h) grant.

Project Timeline

  • Six acres of non-contaminated area was excavated and leveled in preparation for construction.
  • Contaminated material cleanup and restoration construction began in February 2011 and was completed in spring 2015.
  • Water quality monitoring will be conducted quarterly for the first year following project completion. Sampling is to be performed in June 2015, September 2015, December 2015, and March 2016.

Health and Safety

  • There is no risk of lead contamination to nearby residents.
  • Drinking water was not affected by the contamination and will not be affected by the restoration project.
  • There is no risk of lead contamination to park visitors.
  • The Skyway Trap & Skeet Club will create a shot barrier to ensure that future lead contamination does not occur at Sawgrass Lake Park.
  • Contaminated materials will be recycled, remediated or removed in accordance with state regulations.
  • The animals of Sawgrass Lake Park will not be harmed. In fact, as a result of this restoration project, the animals will have a cleaner and healthier environment.
  • This project will improve the overall health of Tampa Bay and its sea life.
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