Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2005
Government Category - 1st Place
The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners of Clearwater, Florida will receive a first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2005 in the Government Category for “Construction of a Bridge to Re-Establish Circulation in the Fort DeSoto Park & Aquatic Habitat Management Area”.
Constructed between February and November of 2004, the “Recirculation Project” re-established the connection between the back bays of Mullet Key in Ft. DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, Florida with the goal of improved water quality and environmental recovery of seagrass and animal life within these areas. This project was a collaborative effort between numerous state and federal agency partners and programs, and exhibits significant environmental and economic benefits for the area. Fort DeSoto Park was once a group of separate islands. During the Park’s development in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the main island was connected to the smaller islands by dredging and filling two causeways. This activity cut off circulation between the back bays, killing seagrass and harming marine life. This recirculation project reopened a historical hydrologic connection after nearly 50 years in a regional park facility with nearly 3 million visitors annually. It was the first of its kind in Florida and one of only a few restoration projects like it in the United States.