Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis has announced that his efforts to secure funding to dredge the Anclote River have proven successful, with the City of Tarpon Springs set to receive $3.5 million in funding through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for this important project.
The economic value of the Anclote River is of significant importance to the City of Tarpons Springs, Pinellas County, and the entire Tampa Bay region, according to the Bilirakis’ latest announcement.
“Dredging the Anclote River is the only way to protect the community’s business development and coastal safety. This important project will bring a host of benefits to my constituents and to the Tampa Bay region, which is why I would not stop fighting for the funding until we got it done,” said Congressman Bilirakis.
According to a 2016 Economic Impact Study, the river services over 150 marine and tourism related businesses, accounting for $252 million in commerce. These businesses and the river’s natural beauty attract more than 1.1 million visitors to Tarpon Springs each year. Additionally, Tarpon Springs accounts for 56% of all commercial fish landed in Pinellas county.
Silt build-up on the riverbed created shallow water levels, which can be less than three feet deep at low tide. These risks have not only impacted businesses along the river and the Tampa Bay region, but threaten the Tarpon Springs port as a harbor of safe refuge for endangered vessels.
After Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a bathymetric survey of the river which showed significant worsening of the shoaling due to the hurricane.