Apply Surtax 4 funding to restore the Hudson Bayou-Oak Street Canal

We, the residents of Laurel Park and the surrounding area, urge the commission to fund the clearing/restoration of the Hudson Bayou-Oak Street Canal to address this environmental concern in the heart of our beloved city.
Issues with this tributary have been discussed for a decade, starting with the 2012 Sarasota Bay Water Quality Management Plan. Since then, the canal has progressively deteriorated, and problem has become acute in the last few years due to missteps in nearby development, which caused significant erosion on some Ohio Place properties, and impacting the usability of the kayak launch . 
By including this project amongst those prioritized for the fourth “penny surtax” funding, the city will realize the following benefits:
  • Improved water quality: the receding / deteriorating banks has resulted in untreated storm water discharging directly into the bay, instead of being filtered by natural vegetation. The Brazilian Peppers, an invasive species, that have grown on the decayed banks will be removed and replaced with native planting. 

  • Reduced street/residential flooding: accumulated silt has raised the tributory’s bed to the point of blocking and impairing the existing street water drains. This has resulted in flooding on both the street and in homes.  Although the city/county has performed stop-gap clearing, only dredging will produce a long-term solution.

  • Improved recreational boating: the accumulated silt has created mounds of debris at the kayak launch as well as at the mouth of the canal. These mounds create unnavigable sections of the waterway which boaters have to circumnavigate. This project will clear these obstacles and make all portions of the waterway accessible.  

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