The Courtney Campbell Causeway (CCC) has for years connected Tampa and Clearwater, Florida. But this land bridge linking the two cities has also adversely affected water quality in Old Tampa Bay, limiting Bay-wide circulation and trapping pollutants in the north part of the bay. To improve bay health and restore tidal flows, the Florida Department of Transportation, District 7 (FDOT) decided to remove a section of the Causeway and build a 229-foot flat bridge. VHB’s environmental team came on board to perform the baseline and post-construction monitoring needed to document the project’s success and assist in the release of water quality and seagrass improvement credits.
VHB performed a variety of baseline monitoring tests, including Field Parameter water quality monitoring, continuous High-Density Salinity and Temperature data monitoring, monitoring the Dissolution Rate of 40 plaster of Paris blocks, and documenting seagrass percent cover and species composition at 90 sites. Following the bridge installation, we assessed circulation on one outgoing and incoming tide series using Tracer Dye, which visually documented the water flowing into and out of Old Tampa Bay. We also repeated the baseline monitoring tests for varying periods of time to document increased circulation and reduced residence time. With a goal of restoring approximately 320 acres of seagrass, the VHB team will continue to monitor the area semi-annually for five years to track the Bay’s seagrass improvement.