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1992: Plan pitched for Brooker Creek Preserve

By THERESA BLACKWELL
Published July 15, 2007


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JULY 9, 1992

EAST LAKE - Pinellas County officials finally know what they want done in the proposed Brooker Creek Preserve.

They want to restore the land, survey the plants and animals, set up a science laboratory and have someone tell them how to pay for all this.

County officials this week mailed out a 59-page document outlining what they want from three organizations that have offered to prepare a management plan for the 5,000-acre wilderness preserve east of Lake Tarpon.

The nonprofit Nature Conservancy, the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of South Florida and a private consulting firm, Biological Research Associates of Tampa, must submit proposals by Aug. 24. Then county officials will select one.

The primary assignment, according to the county's document, is to determine how to restore parts of the wilderness that have been cleared, dumped on or otherwise disturbed by people. The unfenced preserve has been popular with poachers and trespassers over the years, so security is a concern as well.

The county is also asking for a survey of the land itself, and a preliminary catalog of the plants and animals that populate it. Such a census is bound to turn up some animals not found in other parts of the county - bobcats, for instance.

It will probably turn up plants that are not native to Florida. Those should be removed, the county says.

One big assignment is establishing a biological research station, similar to Archbold, on the county land. The station, sort of an open-air science laboratory, would offer biologists a chance to study "a wilderness island in an urban setting," county officials wrote.

Financing may be the biggest question. In addition to planning how to pay for the research station, the county is asking the three groups to suggest how to pay for everything else in the management plan - with county money, but also with grants, university money, volunteer efforts and other possible sources.

The groups also are supposed to tell the county how much public access should be allowed on the preserve, and have public hearings on the management plan.

Setting up the preserve has been a slow process, in part because no other county has ever tackled anything like this. Eighteen months have passed since County Administrator Fred Marquis first announced the concept of the preserve at a Citizens Action League meeting in East Lake.

Pinellas officials began buying up East Lake land more than a decade ago, thinking they would need to protect the county's well fields from development of the surrounding areas. As the county's holdings grew, Marquis said, county officials gradually realized the potential of the land, and started working toward establishing the preserve.

As of this week, the preserve even has its own manager: Craig Huegel, who has a doctorate in animal ecology, began overseeing the land for the county.

JULY 5, 1928

Bankers frolic at Indian Rocks

Bankers were in the majority at Indian Rocks Beach on July Fourth. Nearly 500 officials and employees of 13 affiliated banks of the west coast of Florida, including First National Bank of Clearwater, gathered at the resort yesterday as guests of Dr. L.A. Bize, chairman of the board of directors of the Citizens Bank and Trust Company of Tampa.

On the lengthy program was a bridge party at the Trice cottage between 4 and 5:30 p.m., dancing at the Bize cottage from 3 to 8 p.m., a ball game on the beach for children, a water soccer game, tug-of-war contests in the water, swimming events and much other amusement.

Looking back

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

[Last modified July 14, 2007, 21:13:17]


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