Sarasota Bay Watch Happenings by Larry Stults

After releasing 26 million scallop larvae last year (and 54 million total to date), Sarasota Bay Watch is geared up and ready for the 2014 scallop restoration season. In early August SBW raised $20,000 from the community at our 4th Annual Scallopalooza, hosted again by the Sarasota Yacht Club. We had live scallops on every table and added algae to demonstrate how quickly and effectively they filter sea water. It was a great success with over 185 people attending! The level of excitement and media coverage of this event has increased dramatically over the last 2 years.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund just awarded Sarasota Bay Watch a grant for $25,000 for it scallop program! Between the Disney DWCF grant, Scallopalooza fundraiser, and in-kind support from local businesses, foundations and organizations we have over $50,000 in donations for our scallop program this year!

SBW also hosted its 7th Annual Sarasota Great Scallop Search, which launched out of the Mar Vista Restaurant (who generously once again provided lunch for volunteers). The event was oversubscribed with 135 people attending, who spread out across the bay from Anna Maria Island to Siesta Key in their boats to survey over 40 sites in the bay. Last year volunteer searchers found 11 live scallops, this year they found 40. Jim Culter of Mote commented that the extremely high tide and low water clarity this year probably caused the count to be lower than it otherwise might have been under more normal conditions. While still low, 40 is an improvement over last year, and a step in the right direction! We again had great community engagement and media coverage.

Register today for the annual Sarasota Bay Watch/Audubon Fishing Line Cleanup of waterway bird rookeries on October 4th, hosted by the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Join area volunteers and help remove entanglement threats to our sea birds. Go online to sarasotabaywatch.org for more information and to register.

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