Watershed Management: Watershed Planning
Curley Creek and Smith Bayou (Bee Branch) Watersheds
Both the Curlew Creek and Bee Branch watersheds are located in the northwestern part of Pinellas County. Curlew Creek discharges to St. Joseph Sound about 0.5 miles south of Dunedin Causeway (State Road 586) and Bee Branch discharges to Smith Bayou north of Tampa Road. The Bee Branch watershed is also known as the Smith Bayou watershed. The Curlew Creek catchment is 6,711 acres and the Bee Branch catchment is 1,835 acres within the cities of Clearwater and Dunedin and unincorporated Pinellas County. The total length of channel is 11 miles for Curlew Creek and 6 miles for Bee Branch. Land use in both catchments is mostly residential with a mix of commercial and light industrial areas and recreational open space.
Projects in the Watersheds:
Sediment transport and erosion remain significant issues along both Curlew Creek and Bee Branch. Some segments of the stream channels have been stabilized with hard structures such as gabions (rock-filled wire mesh blocks) and culverts, while other segments have been stabilized with soft methods and still others remain in their natural state. A number of projects are underway or have been recently-completed to address flooding, water quality and stream channel erosion in both streams. Water quality is regularly monitored in both streams and a review of potential water quality improvement projects is underway.
A comprehensive watershed management plan for both Curlew Creek and Smith Bayou is presently being developed concurrently. The WMP will result in recommendations for water quality, flood reduction, and natural system improvement projects. This project is co-funded by the Southwest Florida Water Management District , the cities of Clearwater, Dunedin and Pinellas County. The watershed management plan is expected to be substantially complete in early 2019.