All Clams On Deck Granted $500K Matching funds Here on the Suncoast
All Clams on Deck and the Gulf Shellfish Institute are on a mission to clean waters for sustainable water ecosystems here on the Suncoast. On June 5, 2022, with the help of government leaders like Governor Ron DeSantis, State Senator Jim Boyd, and State Representative Will Robinson, the efforts paid off with an appropriation of $2.5 million to support these efforts. Nobody was resting on their laurels, though, and went to work to get matching funds from local communities to expand upon these efforts.
Manatee County Commissioners heard this pitch on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, when Ed Chiles, Founding Member of All Clams On Deck and Gulf Shellfish Institute Board of Directors Vice President, presented the mission to the group. He invited Manatee County to join the State of Florida in providing global leadership in protecting our environment and strengthening our economy. Ed explained that Manatee County could lead the way by providing matching funds of $500,000 to the $2.5 million appropriated from the State of Florida to restore estuaries, grow coastal economies and make our waters resilient and sustainable for all our futures.
Upon completion of the presentation, the Manatee Board of County Commissioners approved the $500,000 grant with a unanimous vote. The Commission is to be commended for its support of this effort and for being “on board” early with the oyster restoration project in the Manatee River & the oyster recycling and renewal project (GCORR). This was an amazing win for our waterways and the future efforts of both these organizations.
This project will provide for large-scale plantings of clams and seagrass, which will support local businesses and create a natural “macro-laboratory” that will allow researchers to evaluate natural biological mitigation strategies to combat nutrient loading and improve water quality. These estuaries are cradles of the Gulf, providing critical nursery habitat to commercially and recreationally important species and supporting billions of dollars in fisheries and tourism every year. Restoring and maintaining healthy water in these systems is key to community wellbeing and economic success.
Over the next few months, presentations will be made to cities and counties surrounding the three national estuaries. Each will be asked to lend financial support to this Gulf Coast Restoration Initiative by providing matching funds to the $2.5 million State appropriation. If you want to learn more about
Restoring clam populations and seagrass meadows will result in improved water quality, reduced algal blooms, and healthier habitats for commercial and recreational fisheries in Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor estuaries. Improving water quality has a direct correlation to improved economies in fishing, tourism, and other avenues. Follow the All Clams on Deck website, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts to stay abreast of all the amazing things these two organizations help bring to fruition here on the Suncoast.
Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos