Lake Tarpon History

JULY 11, 1949 - St. Pete Times

Lake Butler changes name to Lake Tarpon

CLEARWATER - One of this area's most popular fishing spots has had its name changed by an official act of the state Legislature. In the future, it will be known as Lake Tarpon instead of Lake Butler. The Legislature changed the name in order to avoid confusion with another lake by the same name located elsewhere in the state.

[web site editor note: there is a lake Butler in Orlando (Lake County) and a town of Lake Butler with a lake of the same name in Union County.  -- Paul]

Since Lake Tarpon is in the vicinity of Tarpon Springs, some informed sources also consider the new name appropriate for that reason. A number of residents in Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and other Pinellas communities own cottages there and go to the lake on weekends and holidays to try their luck at freshwater fishing. It is also a popular spot for fishing parties. Since the lake is within easy driving distance of any Pinellas community, some cottage owners stay there during the summer, driving to and from work.


[web site editor note: the article below correctly predicts the weed problem and reveals that the sink was closed in anticipation of using Lake Tarpon as a fresh water source.  Note the hilarious assertion by the School Superintendent that "I never caught any fish out of Lake Tarpon anyhow."]

St. Petersburg Times, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 1968

Closing of Lake Tarpon Sinkhole Gets Approval

Times Bureau TALLAHASSEE - With Atty. Gen. Earl Faircloth declaring it "a choice between the people of Pinellas County and small fish," Florida's Cabinet yesterday okayed plans to shut off a sinkhole from Spring Bayou and maintain Lake Tarpon as a fresh water lake.

"Hillsborough continually threatens to cut our water off," said Charles Cheezem of St. Petersburg. "This is the one real opportunity to create a large body of freshwater in Pinellas County."

THE FLORIDA Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, contending the inflow of brackish water from the bayou in Tarpon Springs benefits fish in the lake, opposed the project.

Cabinet officials, sitting as the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund (IIF), gave the Southwest Florida Water Management District a unanimous okay to construct an earthen dike around the sinkhole.

"The benefits far exceed the intrusion of salt water to protect a few fish," said State School Supt. Floyd Christian, a former St. Petersburg resident. "I never caught any fish out of Lake Tarpon anyhow."

Cheezem, vice chairman of the Water Management District Board and head of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board, said bids on the estimated $115,000 project will be received in about 45 days, and construction completed in an other six months.

WHEN THE lake reaches high levels, control structures and pipes in the dike will en able the discharge of freshwater into the sinkhole, according to water management district director Dale Twachtmann.

H. E. Wallace, assistant director of the Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, told the board that "a little saltwater controls the fish just right."

It prevents overpopulation of brim and "stunted fish growth," Wallace told the board, adding that sealing off the sinkhole would "cause a very bad weed problem."

IN ANOTHER Pinellas action yesterday, IIF trustees sold a small strip of sub merged land about six feet wide in Tampa Bay to W. Paul Resop and William G. Gratten Jr. for $100. Adrian Bacon, a St. Petersburg attorney representing the two men, said the purchase merely cleared title to the .056 acre parcel and resolved uncertainty over where the mean high water mark was located be fore a seawall was built for a waterfront apartment project on Pinellas Point.


Monday, March 4, 1968 CLEARWATER SUN


Bayou To Lake Tarpon Link Baffles Survey Team

By EVA BURLEY - Sun Correspondent

TARPON SPRINGS - "Where did the dye go that was put into the underwater spring in Spring Bayou?" is the question that the U.S. Geological Survey Tampa office is trying to answer out today, Rodney Cherry, hydrologist of the Tampa office said this morning.

According to Cherry the dye placed in Spring Bayou Thurs day to see if it would "show up" in the sinkhole in Lake Tarpon that is said to be connected by an underground stream did not show up in a test made in the Tampa laboratory Friday.

The hydrologist said in the preliminary test samples of water were taken from 65 foot down in the lake sinkhole.

"The dye could not be seen with the naked eye or under a fluorometer. The dye used was fluorescein water soluble dye."

The U.S. Geological Survey office is making the tests to determine if the lake and spring are connected with "only one underground stream."

The Southwest Florida Water Management District already has planned for a unique earth dam. The dam to enclose the hole in Lake Tarpon that is supposed to connect with the bayou that is salty because the water from the Gulf of Mexico connects with the waterways in Tarpon Springs.

Construction of this dam has been planned to start after the outfall canal is completed which is expected to be in the near future. Cost was estimated between $75,000 and $100,000 for the lake dam, not including any of the facility except the levee and controls. The dam will be approximately 1,100 feet long and constructed in a horseshoe shape with a distance of approximately 400 feet between the center of the structure and the shoreline.

Today tests are being made at both Spring Bayou and Lake Tarpon. Cherry said an attempt to compute the quanity and felqcity of water coming from the two springs were being made this morning with the outgoing and incoming tides.

Cherry said the felocity and quanity would be measured by special meter equipment. This is a very important test because if there are more than one spring connecting Spring Bayou and Lake Tarpon plans will have to be changed in the horseshoe dam.

"The possibility of Lake Tarpon becoming a fresh water lake might not be so bright if we find there is other sinkholes in Lake Tarpon," Cherry said. The plans for the dam were made by the Southwest Florida Water Management District with the idea that only one connection was between these two bodies of water.


Lake Tarpon Canal Start Is Pushed [date unknown]

WASHINGTON, D.C, (Tribune Bureau) Rep. William Cramer yesterday sought authority for local interests to start immediate construction of the Lake Tarpon phase of the Four Rivers flood control project, with assurance of future repayment of the federal government's share.

The St. Petersburg Republican introduced a" bill in the House which would spell out - the guarantee aspect.

And in a separate move, he officially requested permission from the Secretary of the Army and the Budget Bureau for the advance construction.

That same approach was tried last year and the bill was approved in the House but died in the Senate.

The Four Rivers project as a whole has been authorized by Congress but no construction funds have been allotted, pending completion of the planning phase for some sections of it.


Lake Outfall Canal Nearing Completion [date unknown]

Completion of the outfall canal under construction between Lake Tarpon, and Tam pa Bay is expected within two months, according to W. V. Canady, area engineer for the U. S. Corps of Engineers.

"The canal is 95 per cent completed," he said, "and the dedication date will be announced when the contractors complete the job."

The project was originally scheduled to be completed Dec. 8 and the contractor, Robert E. Lee and Co. is being penalized $200 a day for every day over this date.

The outfall canal is part of the Four River Basin flood control project and plans for it were drawn up at the request of the Southwest Management' District, with headquarters at Brooksville. The canal project was contracted for $96,300 and the overall cost, including bridges, road work, etc. was estimated at $713,605.

Canady said plans for dedicating the project would be up to the Southwest Management District. Groundbreaking for the project brought officials from Washington and high officials from Florida to take part in the first project of the Four River Basin flood control.

The outfall canal is three and one-half miles long. Canady said the slowdown on the project was due to rock formation in the canal route, removing St. Petersburg waterline on Mc- Mullen Road and other minor problems.

Canady said the banks of the canal would be grassed and beautified.

As soon as the canal is completed the Southwest Florida Water Management District is planning to start construction of a unique earthen dam on Lake Tarpon. The dam, horseshoe in design, will enclose the spring that connects Spring bayou in Tarpon Springs and the lake and is expected to make Lake Tarpon a fresh water lake.


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