Anclote River dredging funds diverted to Panhandle hurricane relief
Millions of dollars that had been earmarked for a major dredging project in the Tampa Bay area are about to head farther north.
Instead of spending it on dredging the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs, the federal government is diverting $3.5 million to the Panhandle for Hurricane Michael relief.
The decision isn’t sitting well with people who live along the river waiting for flood relief, nor the people who battle shallow water trying to get their boats out of the bay, including tourist barges, fishing vessels and sponge boats.
More than 150 businesses depend on the Anclote River channel for their lives and livelihood, not to mention a million tourists who visit the area each year. It has a $252 million impact on Tampa Bay’s economy.
But over the past 25 years, silt and sediment have slowly accumulated, clogging parts of the Anclote River channel and Tarpon Springs’ main vessel-turning basin.
That’s made it tough for bigger boats to navigate and turn around, and forced many to look to other ports for fuel and service.