A watershed (also called a drainage basin) is an area on the land's surface from which water flows into a stream or lake. From headwaters to outlet, Booker Creek is an urban watershed that flows through historic neighborhoods, downtown St. Petersburg, and the city's waterfront.
Records from Spanish explorers dating back to the 1500s indicate that Tocobaga Indians settled in the Tampa Bay region. At that time, Booker Creek was surrounded by dense tropical vegetation and attracted area wildlife, like fox and possum. The local people probably used the creek as a source of freshwater, as well as hunting and fishing grounds.
The Tocobaga Indians are known for their "middens" - large mounds of discarded shells, bones, and broken pottery. In fact, one of the first hospitals in St. Petersburg, the "Mound Park Hospital," was built next to a large shell midden. Today, the hospital is known as Bayfront Medical Center! In many places, these middens are the only remaining evidence of their culture.
Much later, in the 1960s, parts of Booker Creek were destroyed when developers built modern stormwater drainage systems and roads. When the gulleys and ditches disappeared, so did much of the area's wildlife. Today, Booker Creek is being restored by concerned people and groups in the community. Historic flow patterns are being restored, an outdoor museum is being extended, and regular cleanups take place along the creek's shoreline.