Watershed Management: Watershed Planning
Cross Bayou Canal Watershed
The Cross Bayou Canal watershed is located in central Pinellas County and encompasses approximately 7,697 acres. The 10.5-mile long Cross Bayou Canal bisects the watershed and connects to both Old Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay on its northeastern and southwestern ends, respectively. Canal water can flow in either direction depending upon tidal conditions, but normally water from the north and south halves do not mix.
Ultimately, the implementation of a Watershed Management Plan will serve to increase functional habitat in the Tampa Bay watershed and will reduce pollutant loads to Old Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. Habitat enhancement, water quality improvement, and pollutant loading reductions to Tampa Bay are in accord with the goals in SWFWMD's SWIM Plan for Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay (National) Estuary Program's Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP).
Since 1991, water quality samples have been collected at three fixed sites on Cross Bayou Canal as part of the County's monthly water quality monitoring program. Cross Bayou Canal has poor water quality relative to other water bodies in Pinellas County. A significant number of the monthly surface water quality samples collected from the canal have exceeded state water quality standards and reference water quality values developed for the State by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
During 2000, County staff conducted a number of activities to characterize the basin in preparation for the anticipated diagnostic study in 2003. Water quality samples were collected and staff also noted the location of stormwater outfall pipes. Furthermore, publicly owned lands located adjacent to the canal were identified as potential habitat restoration sites or stormwater treatment facilities. Finally, annual estimates of stormwater pollutant loads into the canal were calculated for each sub-basin.
Pinellas County Watershed Management has organized several Cross Bayou Clean-Up events in conjunction with Keep Pinellas Beautiful. The Clean-Up efforts took place in either the spring and/or fall of most years since 2000. Volunteers with canoes, kayaks, and small boats removed trash and debris from the waterway and surrounding wetlands. The efforts have been very successful. During the first event in the fall of 2000, thirty participants collected over 1.6 tons of trash.
At the most recent event March 22nd (see photos), over 70 participants removed over 2000 pounds of trash, which consisted of recyclable glass, plastic, aluminum, and paper products.