tampabay.com

Brooker Creek flooding study expanded

By NICOLE HUTCHESON
Published March 8, 2007


A study to find ways to ease flooding near the Brooker Creek Preserve is being expanded to three other flood-prone areas in North Pinellas.

Engineers with the Southwest Florida Water Management District will look at the areas around Lake Tarpon, the Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal and Hollin Creek, which feeds Salt Lake just south of the Pinellas-Pasco county line.

In 2004, the state planned to spend $1.4-million to study ways to reduce flooding and improve the water quality of the Brooker Creek watershed, which covers about 30 square miles across Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

Development has created flooding problems in neighborhoods surrounding Brooker Creek.

The 2004 Brooker Creek study is still under way, but will cost only $902,356.

So the water management district will use the rest of the money to analyze the three adjacent watersheds, which cover a total of 28 square miles.

The studies will look at:

- Land elevation, drainage ditches and culverts.

- Flooding or water quality problems.

- Potential projects to solve the flooding problems.

Those could include installing different sized culverts or rerouting drainage.

"We're trying to do studies on every watershed," said Michael Molligan, spokesman for the management district, also known as Swiftmud.

"A lot of the problems are from developments prior to 1984 when district permitting went into effect."

After the study conducted on the three outlying watersheds is complete, the findings will be shared with local officials.