tampabay.com

Don't blame boaters for rubbish in Clam Bayou

Letters to the Editor
Published February 14, 2007


Influential eyes take a look at trashy Clam Bayou Feb. 4, story

In this article, St. Petersburg parks director Clarence Scott is quoted as arguing that "much of the trash in Clam Bayou does not come from St. Petersburg, but rather from boaters in Boca Ciega Bay."

On behalf of the members of Boca Ciega Yacht Club, I would like to point out that overwhelming evidence refutes this claim. Analyses by state agencies such as the Southwest Florida Water Management District have placed the blame for the trash and sediment choking Clam Bayou squarely on untreated stormwater runoff from St. Petersburg. If boaters in Boca Ciega Bay were the source of the "plastic cups, hypodermic needles and unwrapped condoms that litter the bayou," these trash items would be visibly floating around in the bay and washing up in great heaps on Gulfport beach before making their way to the mouth of Clam Bayou and miraculously swimming upstream like spawning salmon. This is not happening.

It's particularly implausible to think that boaters have anything to do with the estimated 6 feet of sediment deposits that have buried Clam Bayou's original sand bottom. This sediment, which clearly emanates from the city of St. Petersburg, degrades the bayou as a wildlife habitat, turns parts of it into a mud flat at low tide, creates potential human health hazards, and threatens to increase coastal pollution in waters beyond Clam Bayou such as Boca Ciega Bay and the gulf itself.

Was the parks director serious, or was he trying to be humorous? If the latter, he and other government officials with environmental responsibilities should understand that the degradation of Clam Bayou is no laughing matter to those of us in the St. Petersburg/Gulfport area - boaters and nonboaters alike - who care about our Florida waterways and want to see them protected.

Craig Smith, commodore, Boca Ciega Yacht Club, Gulfport

Condo owner: It's no dastardly duck deed, just cat care Feb. 4, story

Before you feed ducks, be sure you have bread

With all the crime around here, I guess Pinellas Park officials rank duck-feeding as one of their most serious crimes since they made it the law. This woman has been convicted once and now faces court again. As your article states, her fine could be as much as $500, but she says she does not have the money. You say she could go to jail for that.

Our jails are now overcrowded with people who need mental health care, people who may have committed crimes and those convicted. I guess there are others who are poor and can't afford to pay fines for such a serious crime.

Perhaps they should have arrested the ducks.

Paul H. Trexler, Madeira Beach

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