ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 6, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District (USACE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 will hold a unique two-day open house here concerning the Tampa Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS).
The event, open to the public, will be held aboard the EPA’s offshore survey vessel “BOLD” on Sunday, April 10 and Monday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The ship will be moored at Bayboro Harbor in St. Petersburg.
The Tampa ODMDS is also unprecedented. During the three decades that materials have been dredged from the port and deposited at the site located in 50 to 70 feet of water about 18 miles west of Egmont Key, a new coral reef has developed in its center. The coral attached itself to clay material dredged from a Tampa Harbor deepening project.
The area where the coral is located is now known to local divers as “the briar patch.” It is classified as an area “of beneficial use.” As such, the area will be avoided altogether when future deposits are made. The anticipated widening of Tampa Harbor in 2013 is projected to result in the dredging of mostly sand.
Corps and EPA experts will be on hand at the two-day event to answer questions and give explanations of the future plans for the site and the coral reef.
“We really are looking forward to this opportunity to greet the public and the media alike,” said Corps physical scientist April Patterson. “This area is one of a kind and we intend to preserve what has become and a ‘new natural area’. We want everyone to know how careful we are in disposing of dredged materials from our ports, which are so important to our economy in Florida.”
Release no. 11-25