ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Every week a group of St. Petersburg College biology students trek through tall grass and soggy marsh to a spot near Bay Pines known as Hurricane Hole.
“Because it was a great place to be during a hurricane. It breaks down the waves, it’s really nice and calm on the inside,” said Dr. Linae Boehme-Terrana.
Boehme-Terrana is the professor leading these expeditions. The plan is to knock down about three quarters of the sea wall and return it to its natural state.
“When you put a seawall in place the first thing you do is stop the interaction between the water and the land,” said Boehme-Terrana.
Students are testing the water and plankton as a baseline to compare Hurricane Hole before and after the project.
“We are going to be able to demonstrate to other people how you can deal with older seawalls, how can you restore a more natural interface with the environment and make the area even better,” said Boehme-Terrana.
“We started noticing some nasty stuff, generally an indicator of poor health of the water,” said student David Krampera.
Students said it’s a slow process but they are confident their research will make a huge difference when it comes to improving environmental quality.
The project was made possible through a $10,000 grant from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.