Port Tampa Bay is seeking a permit for a long-range project to create 67 acres of new uplands by dredging part of East Bay south of the Tampa Shrimp Docks on Causeway Boulevard. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times

Port Tampa Bay wants to create more land by dredging East Bay estuary

The project is planned south of Causeway Boulevard in East Bay, an estuary with a history of dredging going back to the 1960s. The environmental group Tampa Bay Waterkeeper opposes the plan.

TAMPA — Measured by acreage, Port Tampa Bay already is the largest seaport in Florida, with a total of 5,000 acres, about 1,000 of them zoned for industry with deep-water access.

Still, as it plans for the future, the port is looking to create 67 new acres of land for its growing cargo and container operations by dredging and filling part of East Bay near the Tampa Shrimp Docks.

That's because all but about 40 of those 1,000 acres are already being used, leased or spoken for.

"In a few years from now, the port will be out of deep water berths and land, and that’s why we’re trying to get ahead of the curve," Port Tampa Bay director of engineering Patrick Blair said Tuesday.

The nonprofit group Tampa Bay Waterkeeper opposes the project.

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