- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Six acres of non-contaminated area was excavated and leveled in preparation for construction.
- Contaminated material cleanup and restoration construction began in February 2011.
- This is a multi-year project that should be completed by late spring 2015.
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.
For more information, contact Matt Preston, SWIM Program engineer, at 1-800-836-0797 (FL only), ext. 2200.