On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, Ed Chiles, Founding Member of All Clams On Deck & Gulf Shellfish Institute Board of Directors Vice President, presented to the Manatee County Commissioners. 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.
Dr. Stephen Hesterberg, Executive Director, Gulf Shellfish Institute, provided a letter of support for the request and spoke at the meeting. He is quoted as saying GSI is about to embark upon a large-scale research initiative to co-restore bivalves and seagrass, which will directly restore habitat, support coastal economies, and allow scientists to address existing data gaps. Please consider appropriating $500,000 for marine ecosystem restoration and making Manatee County the epicenter of seagrass recovery rather than loss.
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).
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.