Sarasota Bay Watch Happenings by Larry Stults

Summer Fun – Protecting and Restoring the Bay

Save The Date! September 23rd is our annual fundraiser: Scallopalooza, It’s Clamtastic! This is our sole funding event every year and it’s an evening of fun at the Sarasota Yacht Club. The generous donations and outpouring of community support are the fuel that keep our programs going – making the bay better for everyone. START has already generously pledged a matching donation of $4000, which is a fabulous start indeed! Our challenge is to match this amount. More information and registration for this event will be available on the SBW website soon. But why wait? You can donate to our marine restoration programs anytime at sarasotabaywatch.org.

As we enter the dog days of summer Sarasota Bay Watch volunteers are as busy as ever! We are partnering with Venice based Suncoast Reef Rovers to help out with underwater cleanups of Sharky’s Fishing Pier and both the north and south sides of the Venice Jetties. If history is any guide, divers will pick up well over 1500 pounds of cast nets, lead weights, fishing gear, chairs, cell phones, plastics – everything that falls into the water or is thrown in. We are “janitors of the sea” but it is a job worth doing.

In late August Sarasota Bay Watch hosts our Annual Great Scallop Search where volunteers who like to snorkel help to look for scallops in the sea grass beds around the bay. Families and water lovers of all ages jump in boats and fan out across the bay to count scallops. It a great way to spend a Saturday morning! This will be followed in October by our Annual Fishing Line cleanups of area bird rookeries to remove entanglement risk for our seabirds.

Finally, our first foray into native clam restoration is progressing nicely. A quarter of a million southern hard clams are happy and healthy and growing in the Boca Grande area under the watchful eye of a commercial clam farmer; one of our newest partners helping to protect and restore our waterways. In less than a year’s time Sarasota Bay Watch volunteers will help harvest and transplant these 250,000 clams into Sarasota Bay where they will spend the rest of their lives (30 years!) continuously cleaning the water and enhancing our fisheries.

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