Sarasota Bay Watch Happenings by Larry Stults

“Living seawalls are a win-win. Land owners benefit from superior wave energy management and dramatically reduced wave impacts while the environment benefits because bottom scrubbing is eliminated, thereby reducing turbidity in the water. Clearer water means more seagrass, which makes for healthier and more sustainable ecosystems. Additionally, living seawalls create loads of new habitat for marine life and are seabird friendly.

The very first area living seawall weathered it’s very first tropical storm with flying colors! The City of Palmetto’s recently installed living seawall on the Manatee River took the waves and storm surge of T.S. Colin in stride and the 5500 lb. modules, which are anchored to the seabed with 4 ft fiberglass rebar rods were rock steady.

In other news, Sarasota Bay Watch has partnered with organizations from Tampa to Sarasota who share a common interest in developing and promoting sustainable tourism to form the Blue Community Consortium. This group, which is headed by Dr. David Randle, professor at USF’s Patel College for Global Sustainability, is working with the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization to establish an Observatory here on the Gulf Coast. It will be the first such U.N. Observatory in North America. Observatories around the world gather data on sustainable tourism and share best practices. Stay tuned!

Sarasota has been out and about in the community again. We partnered with the Venice Reef Rovers, a local dive club, to support their SCUBA-based cleanup of the Venice Pier. Gobs of junk was brought up from the bottom, including huge amounts of fishing line, lead weights and rusty fishing tackle. Well done everyone!

We also participated in World Oceans Day at Mote Marine Laboratory. Kids (and their parents) made scallop shell necklaces, learned about marine conservation issues, and helped sort and measure marine debris collected by the Venice Reef Rovers. It was a fun and educational day for everyone.”

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