Sarasota County has been selected to receive a grant of $14.5 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The grant will be used for cleaning up Alligator Creek. 

“It’s very exciting to be part of this as a designer, because we are going to re-pattern it, re-dimension it, and turn it into an incredible resource for snook and other fish. For wading birds. And it will purify water on its way to the bay”, said John Kiefer.

Kiefer, National Stream Restoration Practice Lead, also says, the main reason the creek was man-made, was to drain land. He says Sarasota County triggered a state-wide movement.

Mote and Kiefer’s company called Wood, partnered together, in order for this restoration to happen. The company Wood, restores and conserves river systems.

The body of water that will be impacted the most, is Lemon bay. Paul Semence, Sarasota County Watershed Planning Manager, says the long stretch of alligator creek runs through Woodmere Park, in Venice, and eventually ends up in Lemon Bay.

“The benefits that we want to realize include, reduced nutrients, reduced erosion, and subsequent sedimentation, reduced maintenance cost, and enhanced recreation, as well as improved habitat for fish and other wildlife”, said Paul Semence.

Nathan Brennan, Staff Scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory,  says this restoration project serves as a model for future restoration work. They have a fish tracking system set up, in order to see which fish leave the area, and which come in.

Snook and tarpon, sheep head, maybe some mullet will be tagged. And then we have this automatic system here, that will be tracking the fish whereabouts, and movement patterns, 24/7”, said Nathan Brennan.

Alligator Creek, the urban drainage canal, was built in the 1940’s.