Beautifying The Bay

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The Green Armada Foundation: Two local brothers and a cousin created this nonprofit that strives to rid coastal waterways of trash through volunteer efforts and a specially designed boat. or 800-496-9161.

Keep Pinellas Beautiful: This all-volunteer organization conducts several annual clean-ups throughout Pinellas County as well as Adopt-A-Shore programs.

[email protected] or 727-533-0402.

Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful: Another affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. or 813-960-5121.

Friends of the River: This citizen-led group promotes “health and environmental policies that affect the quality and quantity of water in the Lower Hillsborough River.” They conduct several clean-ups a year as well. or 813-237-8497

Suncoast Sierra Club: This local chapter of the national environmental organization specifically targets the effects of local and state policy on our waterways. or 727-945-0999.

Tampa Bay Watch: These nonprofit stewards of the Tampa Bay estuary work with students, at-risk youth, civic organizations and individual citizens to restore and protect the region’s wetlands. or 727-867-8188.

Gulfport Water Watch: A grassroots effort of Gulfport community activists formed mainly to advocate for Clam Bayou, but also to guarantee citizens unfettered access to the water. or 727-323-9788.

Last week, I profiled the environmental efforts of Kurt Zuelsdorf, owner and operator of Kayak Nature Adventures. Zuelsdorf has found a unique way to convince people to help him clean-up area waterways: offer them a chance to paddle local creeks and bayous in exchange for filling one or two bags with garbage.

(His next outing will be in Clam Bayou on Sept. 8 — check his Web site for details)

His efforts are even more crucial as developers eye the wetlands that many times offer the only barrier between trash-laden storm water and the area's bays and inland waters.

But Zuelsdorf is not alone in his attempts to clean up the region’s waterways. Several nonprofits on either side of Tampa Bay regularly organize water beautification projects.

Here’s a sampling of them:

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