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Water-Related News

St. Pete is ‘banking’ on seagrass efforts

Tampa Bay is losing its seagrass, and St. Petersburg officials plan to construct a mitigation bank on city-owned submerged land adjacent to the Vinoy Park beach.

However, the engineering department needs tons of natural material to fill a 32-acre dredge hole and support the critical habitat’s growth. Meanwhile, just across the Skyway Bridge, the Manatee County Port Authority is extending a docking facility 600 feet and deepening the adjacent channels.

The two parties realized the dredging project would generate enough material to satisfy St. Pete’s need “in one event,” reducing its impacts. At the May 18 meeting, city council members unanimously approved an Interlocal Agreement that provides an extensive mutual benefit.

“They (Port Manatee) need to dispose of that material somewhere,” said Brejesh Prayman, director of engineering. “Ironically, because our numbers are almost exactly the same, we have the opportunity to receive that material.

“It’s serendipity that the numbers were that close.”