WHAT: Tampa Bay Watch’s 21st Annual Great Bay Scallop Search Each year Tampa Bay Watch plans the Great Bay Scallop Search, a Tampa Bay treasure hunt-type resource monitoring program where 200 community volunteers and 35 volunteer boaters have been recruited to snorkel in search of the ellusive scallops in select areas within Boca Ciega and Lower Tampa Bays. The event will be followed by a celebratory complimentary BBQ lunch.
When: Saturday, August 23rd, 9am – 12pm
Where: Fort De Soto Park boat ramp, 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715. The boat ramp is the first right hand turn once you enter the park. Tampa Bay Watch will staff a registration table on the eastern side of the boat ramp.
Photo/interview opportunities: Tampa Bay Watch will have a skiff available at the Fort De Soto Park boat ramp at 9am to transport media for on-water interviews with scallop search participants. On-water and in-water shots of adults and kids boating, snorkeling, and holding bay scallops in lower Tampa Bay sea grass beds (near Ft. De Soto). Individuals, families, and group shots available. Great opportunities to report from land or sea, whichever is your preference.
Why: The event has been conducted annually since 1993 with a goal to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population. Not only does it offer the opportunity to bring attention to the bay’s valuable resources, but it also promotes hands-on volunteerism and education to families and residents of the estuary.
Background: This is a great opportunity to connect with the Tampa Bay community while they are volunteering to serve their local bay area and have fun doing it. Also it is a chance to highlight how bay scallops, disappeared from Tampa Bay in the early 1960s when the bay water was highly polluted from dredging operations and industrial and municipal wastes. Tampa Bay’s water quality and seagrass beds have since improved greatly to levels that will once again support the bay scallop population. In fact, a 2013 research study by Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management Program states that Tampa Bay now supports 34,642 acres of seagrass beds, the largest amount of seagrass measured since the 1950’s. This week, a study reported that a clean, healthy bay can be worth more than $20 billion of economic activity in the greater 6 county region surrounding Tampa Bay.
Contact: Annie Dowling at 727-867-8166 extension 233 or email at email@example.com for more information or to reserve a spot on a Tampa Bay Watch boat. Cell phone number for day of event is (727) 742-0283.
Tampa Bay Watch is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the charitable and scientific purpose of protecting and restoring the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary encompassing over 400 square miles of open water and 2,300 square miles of highly- developed watershed. Tampa Bay Watch involves more than 10,000 youth and adult volunteers each year in hands on habitat restoration projects. For more information on upcoming events, becoming a volunteer or member, visit www.tampabaywatch.org, or call 727-867-8166.