The Anclote River Federal Channel was established by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 1899. Maintenance dredging of the channel occurred in 1948, 1973, and 1999. The City is seeking another maintenance dredge of the Channel to provide for safe passage of commercial vessels including sponge, shrimp, fishing, and charter boats, as well as keeping the river navigable for the commercial marine industries, including more than 50 boat builders, marinas, boat repair and services, and more located along the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs. The City of Tarpon Springs is working closely with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to complete the maintenance dredge of the Anclote River Federal Channel. As a Federal Channel, the USACE has responsibility for operation and maintenance of this channel, including periodic dredging. The river was last dredged 20 years ago, and significant shoaling (sediment build-up) has accumulated over the years since then.
The Anclote River Federal Channel has a significant economic impact to the Tampa Bay Region. An economic impact analysis shows that the marine commerce and tourism industries contribute $252 million annually to the economy, and the value of all commercial fish landed in Tarpon Springs represents 56% of the total value of commercial fish landed in Pinellas County.
The City is working with the United States Federal Government, The State of Florida, and Pinellas County to fund the work within the Federal Channel boundaries. During the course of the design work, survey work was completed to assess the channel depths to determine the target locations for the dredge activities. Some of the survey work that was conducted outside the boundaries of the Federal channel indicated severe shoaling in an area known as the Extended Turning Basin (XTB). The XTB is at the eastern edge of the Federal Channel and is used extensively for turning large boats back to sea.
The City requested inclusion of this area in the USACE’s project, but the USACE is unable to include it since it falls outside of the Federal jurisdictional boundary. As such, the City is seeking to complete this additional project on its own.