Looking at the beautiful surf of Anna Maria Island’s beaches, it feels like the sort of natural wonder that could last forever. The people behind All Clams on Deck are here to ensure natural beauty never fades.
With local philanthropist and restaurateur Ed Chiles as a spokesperson, All Clams on Deck is moving forward with a five-year plan to preserve the waterways in and around Anna Maria Island for generations to come.
It’s no secret that pollution threatens much of our natural environment. The All Clams on Deck project seeks to remove harmful nutrients and pollutants from the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay using natural means. By seeding clams in these bodies of water, The All Clams on Deck initiative is working to remove what’s detrimental to our waterways while also contributing to the ecosystem for healthier sea life.
One little clam can filter up to 10 gallons of water per day. When you put hundreds or thousands of clams into a body of water, those little shellfish can filter millions of gallons of water per day. In turn, this helps to reduce red tide, blue-green algae, and other occurrences that have the potential to harm life on land and in the sea.
In addition to planting these protected beds of clams, the group also is planting millions of acres of seagrasses. Those seagrasses are helping to create a healthy, protected nursery area where shellfish and sea life can grow and thrive safely.
The driving forces behind All Clams on Deck believe that all of Florida’s natural waterways are connected. To keep one healthy requires a focus on large-scale change. That’s why seeding clam beds and planting seagrasses isn’t all that the group is up to. In addition to those two initiatives, the group is working to raise awareness about fertilizer and other run off that can negatively affect the water, even if that water isn’t exactly in your back yard.
Think about it – there’s a creek in your backyard, and someone drops a pollutant in it. That pollutant can travel down the creek to a river to a bay and then all the way out into the ocean, even if it was first dropped in many miles away. By adding in a public education component, the All Clams on Deck group hopes to eventually stop pollutants from ever entering the water.
The first couple of years of the project focuses on getting those clams in the water along with the seagrasses. After that, the focus shifts slightly to maintenance, monitoring, and collecting data. With an estimated price tag of around $15 million, the public awareness campaign already moves forward with Ed Chiles at the helm. Ed, an Anna Maria Island native, is hard at work trying to raise funds for All Clams on Deck.
While local and federal grants and government funds are being put to work on the project, All Clams on Deck is open to all donations. For couples tying the knot on Anna Maria Island, helping to preserve the island paradise where you said “I do” is a great way to make sure it’s just as pristine in the years to come as it is today. If you’re making a nonprofit donation list for your guests on your gift registry, consider adding All Clams on Deck to the list. Plan bringing your children and grandchildren back to Anna Maria Island to show them where you were married and tell them how you helped preserve the magic of the beach.