The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 14 No. 24 - April 9, 2014

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Sarasota Bay Watch made great strides in 2013

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rusty chinnis | submitted

Sarasota Bay Watch board member Caroline McKeon and
Charlie Hunsicker, director of parks and natural resources
in Manatee County, release juvenile scallops into Palma Sola Bay.

In an executive summary prepared by Sarasota Bay Watch (SBW) President Larry Stults Ph.D., J.D., he recapped the organization’s accomplishments in 2013. In total, Sarasota Bay Watch and its volunteers donated well over 2500 hours to restore and protect local waterways, marine life and habitat. Volunteers also removed over two miles of fishing line from local waterway bird rookeries and rescued live entangled birds.

During 2013, SBW sponsored seven volunteer-based events, including the 6th annual Great Scallop Search, the 5th annual Sister Keys Cleanup and a scallop nursery cleanup at Mote Marine. Students from numerous area schools and from Sarasota CREW partnered selected events.

Additionally, SBW is in the third year of its 10-year Scallop Restoration Project successfully released approximately 26 million scallop larvae and over 100,000 juvenile scallops into the bay waters of Manatee and Sarasota counties. This brings the cumulative project release to approximately 54 million scallops. The scallop releases were funded primarily by SBW’s Scallopalooza fundraiser at the Sarasota Yacht Club, which raised $25,000 for scallop restoration in 2013.

SBW’s art exhibit “Gulf Coast Heritage: At the Intersection of Art and Local History” opened at the Conservation Foundation and can be seen at various local venues through 2014. The sale of cards created from the art work supports the efforts of SBW. To purchase them contact Stults at

SBW continued to build and expand partnerships with stakeholders. They included Mote Marine Laboratory, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Selby Gardens, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Longboat Key Garden Club, Sarasota Yacht Club, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Audubon, Save Our Seabirds, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Maritime Museum, Sarasota County, Manatee County, the town of Longboat Key, START, New College, Pineview School, Riverview High School, Sarasota High School, and Sarasota CREW.

Volunteer events in 2013 included a wide range of activities including the 1st annual cleanup of the Jim Neville Marine Preserve with students from the Pineview School Marine Club, the 3rd annual Skier’s Island Cleanup with Riverview National Honor Society students, the 5th annual Sister Keys Clean-up, the 3rd annual Scallopalooza held at the Sarasota Yacht Club, the 6th annual Great Scallop Search, the 1st annual Midnight Pass Fishing Line Cleanup with SRQ Crew, the 4th annual fishing line cleanup with Save Our Seabirds, a clean-up of a forthcoming scallop nursery (a joint MOTE/SBW project) to create a Sarasota-based facility to grow scallops that will be run by community volunteers.

Sarasota Bay Watch set up displays on Earth Day at Oscar Scherer Park, the Fall Family Festival at the Conservation Foundation and Historic Spanish Point, and the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit at Mote Marine Laboratory.

In other projects, SBW kayaked with underprivileged youth in association with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, partnered with Manatee County Parks and Recreation providing SBW field guides, partnered the town of Longboat Key, and the Longboat Key Garden Club in combining Sister Keys educational signage with an audio tour stop developed by the Science and Environmental Council of Southwest Florida.

SBW also advised Riverview High School on planning an outdoor native plant watershed demonstration area, coordinated with Conservation Foundation for signage and messages at its new welcome center and was a co-sponsor of monofilament measurement with Mote interns.

These accomplishments would not have happened without the help of many organizations including several on Anna Maria Island. The Sun has been a supporter of SBW since its inception as has the Chiles Group.

The newest member of Sarasota Bay Watch’s Board, Steve Traves, of AMI Outfitters, has information on Sarasota Bay Watch events and T-shirts for sale. Stop by and see him at 505 Pine Avenue, Anna Maria or call 941-254-4996.

To find out about SBW’s events or to volunteer, go to

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