Sarasota Bay Watch's "Gulf Coast Heritage" Art Exhibit Opens
Friday December 6, 2013
"New Pass Fisherman" by William Hartman
The opening reception for the Gulf Coast Heritage Art Exhibit was held on December 5, 2013 at the Conservation Foundation's historic Burrows-Matson house. The exhibit was very well received by the approximately 80 people attending the opening, with a lot of buzz and excitement in the exhibit rooms. Christine Johnson, President of the Conservation Foundation (who is hosting the exhibit and sponsored the reception), said kind words about the exhibit and about SBW. Bill Hartman and Sarasota Bay Watch President Larry Stults (co-curators of the exhibit) both spoke briefly about the artists and connections to our coastal heritage and local history. See the article in the Longboat Observer
5th Annual Monofilament Cleanup
Results in Rescue of 3 Seabirds and
Nets 800 Pounds of Trash and Fishing Line!
On October 5th Sarasota Bay Watch held its 5th Annual Monofilament Cleanup. The objective is to prevent the unnecessary suffering of aquatic birds and to join the world-wide groundswell to keep plastic out of our oceans. Sixty volunteers on boats, in kayaks, and on foot cleaned coastlines between Cortez and Roberts Bay, and retrieved approximately 800 pounds of trash and fishing line. Eight trash cans of recyclable materials were gathered and included plastic bottles and bags, buckets, glass bottles and beer cans. The fishing line that was collected will be weighed, measured, and mapped with the help of Mote Marine Laboratory interns. The line will be recycled and the data will be shared with scientists in the Florida Entanglement Working Group.
This year, for the first time, our volunteers rescued three entangled birds and delivered them to the wildlife hospital at Save Our Seabirds, where they are expected to make a full recovery. Four dead birds were also found, which is a disappointing increase over previous years.
Luke Yates, Hannah Yates, Sarah Oliveri- Save our Seabirds Avian Hospital Administrator, a rescued cormorant, Kai Meighan, Joshua Meighan
Sarasota Bay Watch has numerous allies in this project. The Sarasota Sailing Squadron provided the venue and lunch, Audubon of Florida provided expertise on the timing and methods for cleaning of rookeries. Save Our Seabirds trained the volunteers on safe and proper technique for rescuing entangled birds (which proved extremely beneficial this year!). Island Style Watersports donated 16 kayaks for volunteers to use, and the Carefree Learner floating classroom brought 16 Sarasota High School teen volunteers. These partnerships have improved the volunteer knowledge base, improved rescue effectiveness, and contributed to an overall fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
In September, Sarasota Bay Watch paired with the Sarasota Crew rowing program to collect monofilament from the Jim Neville Preserve in Little Sarasota Bay. In November, Sarasota Bay Watch will be partnering with the vibrant retirement community of Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay for the Second Annual Coon Key Cleanup. What started out 5 years ago with 5 volunteers has now expanded into a multiple location collaborative effort to clean and protect roosting habitats - making our local waters even better!
Sarasota natives tell us of a time when the bays were teeming with fish and the sun cast shadows from thousands of birds flying overhead. Time and again this community has demonstrated their love for fishing, boating and birding in and around our local waters. The good life in Sarasota is fishing smart, keeping our mangrove islands safe for our avian friends, and taking the lead in preventing the "plastic ocean" seen in other parts of the globe. Sarasota Bay Watch - a healthy bay is everybody's business.
2013 Scallop Restoration Is Off To A Great Start
Sarasota Bay Watch got an early start to scallop restoration this year, releasing it’s first batch of scallop larvae (6.7 million) on September 12th. This compares to last year’s November 10th first release, where scallop spawning was held back due to red tide threats. SBW quickly followed up the initial release with additional releases of 5.5 million and 9 million larvae, the latter in the middle of the recent historic flooding rainstorms! Scallop larvae need to get into the bay 10 days after spawning when they are ready to settle out of the water onto sea grass so SBW volunteers are on the water rain or shine to get the job done.
Jim Culter (Mote Marine), Ronda Ryan and Steve Traves (SBW volunteers) and Kevin Burnette (Mote Marine intern) brave the weather to help restore scallops.
This year SBW also kept 100,000 scallop babies at the Bay Shellfish Co. so that the hatchery could grow them up to juvenile stage. This is an expensive step and the capacity to grow juveniles is much less than that for larvae. However, it is a very exciting development because not only will the scallops be large enough to see and touch, but it also enables SBW to release scallops at a later life cycle that hopefully will help avoid early life cycle predation. Since so little is know about successful scallop restoration we are trying lots of different approaches to re-establish stable breeding populations in Sarasota Bay.
So far this year we have put about 21 million scallops into the bay, and we have enough money for one more batch. This will bring our total to about 30 million, which compares to 24 million last year. Congratulations to everyone for making that happen.
Will will run out of scallops well before scallop restoration season is over – last year we released scallops through the end of December! It is just a matter of money and being able to purchase scallop babies from the hatchery. Get you friends and local businesses to donate now to keep scallop restoration going. We have months to go and could put many, many millions more scallop babies into the bay by year end. Encourage everyone you know to donate now at www.sarasotabaywatch.org.
SBW and SRQ CREW clean up Midnight Pass
SBW joined forces with Sarasota CREW kids to cleanup the bird rookeries and mangrove fringes around the Jim Neville Marine Preserve and Midnight Pass area. It was a great event that netted lots of fishing line and tackle (which entangle and kill sea birds) as well as loads of trash. We hope to do it again next year with our new friends at CREW.
"Check out Sarasota Bay Watch's Facebook page for great pictures of the event"
Larry Stults Ph.D., J.D.
Annual Scallop Search
Gulf of Mexico Program (GOMA) Awards SBW 3rd Place Gulf Guardian Award in Civic/NonProfit Organization
Sarasota Bay Watch is honored to be awarded the 3rd place Gulf Guardian Award in the Civic/Non-Profit category for our Sarasota Bay Scallop Restoration Project. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Alliance reviews marine educational and restoration programs from states that touch the Gulf of Mexico, and neighboring states whose watersheds drain into the Gulf. Every 2 years GOMA selects exceptional projects and presents Gulf Guardian Awards.
We send out a great big THANK YOU to all of our volunteers, partners, and donors for helping to make our local scallop restoration efforts an award winning project!
Special thanks to the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Bay Shellfish Co. and the Sarasota Yacht club for key scallop restoration partnerships.
Here is the official photograph from U.S. EPA's Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Gulf Guardian Award Ceremony:
Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 6, Dallas, TX, Larry Stults, SBW President, Ronda Ryan, SBW Program Director, John Ryan SBW Co-Founder (holding the Sarasota Yacht Club burgee - thanks SYC for all of your support) and Beverly Banister, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 4, Atlanta GA