Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin will create a dam to restore part of Hammock Park

Alan Mayberry, Dunedin’s arborist, looks at a mature sweet bay stressed because its environment is drying up. The city is working on a project that will increase water flow to the parched eastern portion of the park and support trees that thrive in a wetter landscape.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Alan Mayberry, Dunedin’s arborist, looks at a mature sweet bay stressed because its environment is drying up. The city is working on a project that will increase water flow to the parched eastern portion of the park and support trees that thrive in a wetter landscape.

DUNEDIN — For those who revel in nature, Hammock Park seems like a rare and thriving slice of old-time Florida.

But the eastern side of the park is in trouble.

It's too dry for the species that belong there. But a city drainage project is tackling the problem.

In the late 1960s to early '70s, the city dug ditches and channels to drain housing developments, according to city engineer Tom Burke.

The channels altered the natural flow of storm water. Hammock Park bears the scars of that development.

Along the northern part of the park, the portion of Cedar Creek in the park called "Channel A" is more like a drainage ditch than a stream. And on the eastern edge of the park, the banks of the ditch called "Channel C" keeps storm water from flowing into the park.

Trees that once thrived in the wetter landscape, such as black gum and sweet bay magnolia are in decline. And species that grow in drier landscapes, like hickory, are moving in.

A city project aims to restore the moisture.

A small dam will be created in the northeastern corner of the park. During storms, it will raise the water level of Channel C, the ditch along the eastern side of the park. Then water will flow into the park through two new openings cut into the sides of the channel.

"It's a fabulous thing," said Dunedin Commissioner Deborah Kynes, who has championed the project. "We're restoring an ecosystem."

She said the project will also reduce sedimentation and erosion farther downstream, filtering pollutants from water that flows from Lake SueMar through Hammock Park to Cedar Creek.

"It will have a big effect on water quality eventually going into St. Joseph Sound," she said.

At the park Friday, Parks Superintendent Art Finn and city arborist Alan Mayberry led a group of Friends of the Hammock through the park to tour the construction under way and a new 5-acre addition to the park, the Harris tract. Most of the trail there is closed to the public during construction.

The Friends of the Hammock will lead tours up a new trail on the eastern side of Channel C during the trail's grand opening on Jan. 31. But the trail is already open, with an entrance off McCarty Street where it intersects with Patricia Avenue.

The morning was drizzly, but nothing a few outdoors people couldn't handle, including Ben Fasnacht, the 15-month-old son of the group's president, Steve Fasnacht.

Mayberry pointed out trees in decline for lack of moisture. The roots of many were exposed, an indicator that water has receded. "It's the trees that are most affected," he said. "When you start to get roots undermined, it causes problems."

He stopped to look at a large, dying sweet bay. "We have lost a lot of these sweet bays in a storm," he said. "They are not anchored as well when the roots subside."

And the saplings and young trees are not sweet bays. "You don't see the young ones," Mayberry said. "That's what's really indicative of the problem here."

Theresa Blackwell can be reached at tblackwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Hammock Park project

Dunedin is working to restore moisture to the parched eastern part of Hammock Park.

How it will be done: A small dam will be created in the northeastern corner of the park. During storms, the dam will raise the water level of "Channel C," the ditch along the eastern side of the park. Then water will flow into the park through two new fords cut into the sides of the channel.

Other improvements: Reinforcing the channel banks south of the park and installing abutments for a bridge across the channel into a new 5-acre park addition.

Cost: $857,251, to be split by the city and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Completion: By April.

Dunedin will create a dam to restore part of Hammock Park 12/16/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 4:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  2. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.
  3. CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise amid 'worship' of leakers

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — CIA director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.

    CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. must redouble its efforts to stop information from leaking.
  4. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  5. Why Grenfell tower burned: Regulators put cost before safety

    World

    The doorbell woke Yassin Adam just before 1 a.m. A neighbor was frantically alerting others on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower about a fire in his apartment. "My fridge blew up," the man shouted.

    At least 79 people were killed in the fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London, and the toll is expected to rise.