Bilirakis Calls for Funding the Anclote River Dredging Project
Tarpon Springs, FL – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) announced his continued support for funding the Anclote River Dredging Project in a letter to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. In the letter, Bilirakis urges state officials to approve the City of Tarpon Springs’ application to help ensure Pinellas County remains a commercial hub and tourist destination for years to come.
Please see below for the full text of the letter, and click HERE for a PDF.
DEO Executive Director
107 East Madison Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-4120
RE: Funding the Anclote River Dredging Project
Dear Director Proctor:
I write to lend my support for the City of Tarpon Springs’ application for consideration under the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Growth Fund.
The economic value of the Anclote River is of significant importance to the City of Tarpon Springs, Pinellas County, and the Tampa Bay region at large. According to a 2016 Economic Impact Study, the river services over 150 marine and tourism related businesses, accounting for $252 million in commerce. These businesses and the river’s natural beauty attract more than 1.1 million visitors to Tarpon Springs each year. Additionally, Tarpon Springs accounts for 56% of all commercial fish landed in Pinellas County, which is then distributed throughout the Tampa Bay region.
Unfortunately, silt build up on the riverbed has caused many large boat operators to experience trouble navigating the river. In some areas, the water level is less than three feet deep at low tide. These risks have prevented a significant number of annually-porting vessels from docking at Tarpon Springs to offload their goods, which severely impacts many industries in the Tampa Bay area. Without dredging, the region could see a significant economic downturn for the 150 businesses which rely on the Anclote River, a decrease in tourism, and a shortage of available space for commercial fisherman, who must seek new locations to offload their catch.
For these reasons, I strongly support the City of Tarpon Springs’ application for funding the Anclote River Dredging Project. This funding will ensure the County and Tampa Bay region remains a commercial hub and tourist destination for years to come.
Thank you for your consideration and review of this request.
Gus M. Bilirakis
Member of Congress