Deepwater Horizon spill to fund McKay Bay restoration

Lloyd Sowers reports

- A long-abused part of the Tampa Bay will get some much-needed help from funds from the BP Deepwater Horizon settlement.

McKay Bay, just east of the Port of Tampa, is known to some as the place Tampa takes its trash. It's where the city's waste-to-energy operates, but environmental scientists and engineers hope to breath new life into a part of the bay that was once feared dead. 

Ed Sherwood, senior scientist with the Tampa Bay Estuary program, sees the potential McKay Bay holds.

"We certainly view this area as an urban oasis. This is a jewel to the city of Tampa," Sherwood said.

The Estuary Program, the Water Management District, the Port  and other agencies are about to embark on new restoration efforts. They plan to spend around a million dollars, which is roughly half of the total coming from federal Deepwater Horizon funds. 

Some former industrial areas near the bay have been cleaned up. The massive Ikea store is built on so-called "brownfields" - land that underwent intense clean-up. Now, Ikea employees have adopted McKay Bay. 

"This is one of those things we really like that contribute to our waterways," says Kathi Garden of Ikea.

Scientists and engineers plan to restore additional tidal streams, hoping to turn back time for a bay that was abused for decades.  

"These restoration efforts will provide generational impact to this community," Port Tampa Bay's Chris Cooley said. 

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