TAMPA BAY WATCH INC

Restoring the bay everyday

aka Tampa Bay Watch   |   Tierra Verde, FL   |  http://www.tampabaywatch.org/

Mission

Tampa Bay Watch is dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Tampa Bay Estuary through scientific and educational programs.

Ruling year info

1993

Principal Officer

Peter Clark

Main address

3000 Pinellas Bayway S

Tierra Verde, FL 33715 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

59-3191962

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Tampa Bay is the largest estuary in the state of Florida, encompassing 400 square miles of open water and 2,300 square miles of highly developed watershed that supports industry, agriculture, and a diverse population in excess of 2.4 million people. Estuaries like Tampa Bay are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. More than 70% of all fish, shellfish, and crustaceans spend some part of their lives in the protected waters of estuaries like Tampa Bay. Residents from the Manatee River to Clearwater Harbor and from Hillsborough Bay to the Gulf of Mexico depend on Tampa Bay for commercial and recreational activities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Bay Grasses in Classes

Started in 1994, Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) coordinates efforts at approximately 18 middle and high schools across the Bay area to grow native salt marsh and then transfer it to large-scale restoration sites along the Tampa Bay shoreline. Through this program, students create, maintain and monitor on-campus salt marsh nurseries. BGIC provides middle and high school students with an educational resource to learn about ecological and agricultural practices, while enhancing the science-based curriculums at their schools. Students actively participate in restoration activities, and work side by side with scientists to perform wetland restoration in Tampa Bay.

Salt marsh plants have many benefits in the Tampa Bay estuary. The loss of coastal wetland habitats has resulted in major declines in fisheries and wildlife that depend upon these habitats for a portion of their life cycle. By involving our youth and educating them about the importance of salt marsh and a healthy wetland environment, Tampa Bay Watch is taking an active role in promoting education about challenges to the health of Tampa Bay and the solutions available through restoration.

The BGIC program is a two phase program. In phase one of the program, students maintain and grow the grasses in their nurseries at their schools. The nurseries are 16 by 16 foot lined ponds that can hold up to 5,000 plugs of salt marsh. During this phase of the program, students are involved with maintaining plant health by checking salinity and pH, fertilizing and overall maintenance of the nursery. The grasses that are raised in the nurseries are used as a teaching tool by providing an educational resource in teaching students ecological and agricultural practices and enhancing science-based curriculums.

The second phase of the BGIC program is to transplant the nursery-raised grasses at restoration sites around Tampa Bay. The student-cultivated salt marsh nurseries produce enough salt marsh grasses to restore 10 - 15 new acres of coastal tidal ponds per year. Each school nursery is capable of supporting between one and two rooting cycles per year, for a potential total of 2,500 salt marsh planting units per school, which are available free of charge to local and state environmental agencies conducting habitat restoration projects.

The goal of Tampa Bay Watch’s Bay Grasses in Classes Program is to provide middle and high school students with an educational resource to learn about ecological and agricultural practices, enhancing the science-based curriculums at their schools. These nurseries provide hands-on opportunities for students to appreciate and learn about the importance of salt marsh vegetation to the estuarine ecosystem. When planted, student-cultivated salt marsh aids in preventing erosion, absorbing pollutants, and providing shelter and habitat for important fish and wildlife species.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Children and youth

Tampa Bay Watch constructs two types of oyster communities in Tampa Bay under the Community Oyster Reef Enhancement (CORE) Program. The first type of oyster habitat restoration involves the installation of marine-friendly concrete oyster domes to promote oyster growth along man-made and altered shorelines of Tampa Bay. The oyster domes attract oyster larvae, and eventually become covered with mature oysters. These oysters provide water quality benefits through natural water filtration and the domes provide habitat for fish and wildlife resources.

The second type of oyster habitat under the CORE program is the construction of oyster shell bars. This type of artificial reef is similar in structure to natural oyster communities found along shorelines throughout Tampa Bay. These oyster bars provide a hard surface for oyster larvae to settle upon and grow, eventually forming a natural reef.

There are two primary goals of the Community Oyster Reef Enhancement Program. The priority goal of the program is to provide and enhance marine habitat. Both the oyster domes and oyster shell bars are designed to promote the growth of oysters along human- created or altered shorelines of Tampa Bay. Once established, the oyster-covered domes and reefs provide water quality benefits, food for foraging birds and wildlife, and are an effective means of wave attenuation. In addition, the hollow domes become a refuge for crabs, juvenile fish and other marine life.

The second goal is to provide environmental education and stewardship within the Tampa Bay community through hands-on community restoration. Tampa Bay Watch enlists the assistance of local middle and high school students and community volunteers who learn and participate in restoration efforts in their community.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families

Tampa Bay Watch supports a large-scale environmental education program entitled “Estuary EDventures”, designed to educate Tampa Bay area students about watershed and environmental issues and estuarine ecology. Estuary EDventures strives to empower students to act as stewards of the Tampa Bay estuary by providing field experiences that combine classroom resources with hands-on field experiences at the Tampa Bay Watch Marine Education Center in Tierra Verde. Estuary EDventures focuses on estuary dynamics through activities such as the “plankton encounter”, where students collect and use microscopes to study some of the smallest animals and plants that play an integral role in estuary and ocean health. The goal of the program is to develop students’ commitment to their local environment by increasing their understanding of the function of the Tampa Bay estuary. Estuary EDventures teaches about the importance of the Tampa Bay estuary in daily life, impacts on the estuary, as well as what can be done to restore the health of our local estuary.

Population(s) Served
Non-adult children
Economically disadvantaged people

Monofilament ("mono") fishing line is a serious threat to birds and other wildlife in the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida. Discarded fishing line and other dangerous entangling debris collects in local bird sanctuaries and colonial nesting areas where birds and other wildlife can easily become entangled or hooked.

Birds hooked at fishing piers or elsewhere may return to nesting colonies or roosts, trailing line that drapes over trees and ultimately endangers the lives of many other animals.

Tampa Bay and the Gulf coast contain some of the most important bird colonies in the entire state. In fact, the National Audubon's Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries directly protects or assists in the protection of more than 50,000 breeding pairs of birds of 25 species, many of which are endangered, threatened, or a designated species of special concern.

Monofilament fishing line cleanup is important because fishing line takes over 600 years to decompose.

With the help of volunteers, Tampa Bay Watch removes and recycles an estimated 50,000 feet of fishing line per year. Our volunteers take responsibility for—or "adopt"—a mono tube, monitoring and collecting fishing line and delivering it to Tampa Bay Watch, where we send it out for recycling.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Marine debris (trash) is a worldwide problem; an estimated 14 billion pounds of trash are dumped in the ocean yearly. Marine debris is not only ugly, but dangerous to marine life and human health. Since many forms of debris are not biodegradable, they can cause problems for years to come.

Keep Pinellas Beautiful and Fort De Soto Park have been our partners since 2001. In 2012, the Sunshine Skyway’s Black Thorne Park was added. Other sites in Pinellas County include Cunningham Key (Tampa Bay Watch), Weedon Island Preserve, Coffee Pot Bayou (kayak only). In Hillsoborough County we partner with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful for a cleanup held at Palonis Park, and Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department for cleanups in Manatee County. Without our partners we would not be able to be as successful as we are in removing marine debris from our waterways. By removing debris from our shorelines we are helping to solve an international issue at a local level.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center on the St. Pete Pier opened in July of 2020 and is a significant new addition to the education and conservation efforts of Tampa Bay Watch and is integral to the advancement of the organization’s mission. The Discovery Center is an interactive visitor experience showcasing the
economic, ecological and recreational value of the Tampa Bay estuary to residents and visitors as
well as an academic component that expands environmental and educational outreach programs to
Tampa Bay area schools, residents, and visitors. The indoor Exhibit Gallery features an Estuary Habitat that showcases a variety of species found in local waters. Visitors can also experience interactive displays, video presentations, a touch tank and docent-led tours. Adjacent to the exhibit gallery is a state-of-the-art classroom that accommodates school field trips and programs for students of all ages. But the Discovery Center is not strictly an indoor experience. The “wet classroom” offers larger outdoor demonstrations and lectures. It’s bordered by walkways and railings, and includes an amphitheater-style observation deck.

Population(s) Served
Age groups
Family relationships
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of oyster domes installed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Community Oyster Reef Enhancement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem.

Number of oyster domes built

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Community Oyster Reef Enhancement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem.

Number of students participating in Bay Grasses in Classes

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Bay Grasses in Classes

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Through BGIC, students plant, maintain, and harvest salt marsh grasses to be replanted into targeted coastal areas. The on-campus nurseries provide an excellent educational resource.

Number of salt marsh plugs planted through Bay Grasses in Classes

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Bay Grasses in Classes

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Tampa Bay Watch's Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) program began 20 years ago and is program that seeks to facilitate youth involvement in habitat restoration efforts.

Pounds of debris collected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Marine debris is not only ugly, but dangerous to marine life and human health. Since many forms of debris are not biodegradable, they can cause problems for years to come.

Number of acres restored through salt marsh plantings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Salt marsh communities are critically important habitats that grow along the intertidal fringe of the bay, preventing erosion, absorbing pollutants, and providing habitat for important fish and wildli

Tons of oyster shell installed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Community Oyster Reef Enhancement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Oyster Shell Bars create oyster reefs similar to natural oyster communities found along shoreline areas throughout Tampa Bay.

Square feet of oyster shell bar created

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Community Oyster Reef Enhancement

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The goal of oyster shell bars is to restore lost habitat systems to the bay, prevent further erosion of the shoreline and improve water quality through natural biological filtration.

Miles of fishing line recovered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Discarded fishing line and other dangerous entangling debris collects in local bird sanctuaries and colonial nesting areas where birds and other wildlife can easily become entangled or hooked.

Total number of fields trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Estuary EDventures program engages students in hands-on educational experiences through marine creature encounters, species collection and identification, and interactive habitat sessions.

Number of students educated through field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Estuary EDventures program engages students in hands-on educational experiences through marine creature encounters, species collection and identification, and interactive habitat sessions.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Tampa Bay Watch is working to preserve the delicate ecological balance that exists in Tampa Bay. A nonprofit organization established in 1993, Tampa Bay Watch performs a variety of habitat restoration and protection activities throughout the year, utilizing thousands of volunteers to help the bay recover from its environmental problems. Individuals of all ages from community groups, scout troops, schools and others participate in salt marsh plantings, storm drain markings, oyster bar creation, coastal cleanups, and wildlife protection each year, demonstrating environmental stewardship in its purest form.

The efforts of Tampa Bay Watch to restore and protect the bay's habitat through stewardship and community awareness provide effective long term improvements to the bay, and empower our community with the knowledge to counteract our environmental problems. Learning how to achieve and maintain a healthy environment is a legacy that will touch our children and their children for years to come.

In order to achieve our goals, on an annual basis, Tampa Bay Watch will construct 1,000 feet of new oyster shell reef communities, install ten acres of salt marsh and coastal native plant communities, construct and install 1,000 oyster domes along urban and eroding shorelines, accomplish community-based coastal cleanups three times each year in targeted locations, coordinate derelict crab trap removal events in priority areas and implement the fishing line removal event at area nesting sites. Staff follow monitoring protocols to assess value and function of all of these restoration activities. In regards to education, Tampa Bay Watch delivers advanced marine science based educational field trips and service-learning opportunities to Tampa Bay area schools and offers a summer camp program unique to the Gulf coast and Tampa Bay area. We seek corporate and private donor sponsorships/scholarship opportunities to support general education programs as well as Title I schools.

Incorporated in 1993, Tampa Bay Watch is the first organization of its kind in the southeastern United States and has proven highly effective in mobilizing the Tampa Bay community to participate in restoration and protection activities. The Tampa Bay estuary is one of the only estuaries in the nation to have shown significant indications of improved water quality due to the efforts of community habitat restoration projects. A great strength of Tampa Bay Watch is the support the organization receives from the community. Volunteers' participation in Tampa Bay Watch projects provides them with an investment in our environment and empowers them to spread the Tampa Bay Watch message to their friends and family. Over 100,000 volunteers have joined forces with the organization to participate in habitat restoration projects such as salt marsh plantings, oyster reef construction, coastal cleanups and storm drain markings to help the bay recover from its devastating environmental problems. In addition, the efforts of Tampa Bay Watch to restore and protect the bay's habitat through stewardship and community awareness provide effective long term improvements to the bay and empower the community with the knowledge to counteract environmental problems.

Peter Clark founded Tampa Bay Watch in 1993 and it has emerged as a celebrated community-based habitat restoration organization that has made a significant impact on improving the health of Tampa Bay. More than 10,000 youth and adult volunteers are involved each year in a variety of hands-on habitat restoration projects such as oyster dome and reef construction, salt marsh plantings and coastal cleanups to help the bay recover from its devastating environmental problems.

Oyster communities in Tampa Bay have been heavily impacted by construction activities and overfishing. Tampa Bay Watch's Community Oyster Reef Enhancement program accomplishes two types of oyster restoration programs, oyster domes and oyster shell bars, to create natural oyster communities similar to those found along the shoreline of Tampa Bay. Oyster domes and shell bars are placed along seawalls and shorelines to restore hard bottom habitat, improve water quality and reduce shoreline erosion. Tampa Bay Watch builds and installs 1,000 oyster domes annually with the help of community volunteers. Over the last twelve years, the oyster shell program has successfully created approximately 9,000 feet of new oyster habitat with 700 tons of fossilized shell and 3,000 volunteers.

In addition to the community-based habitat restoration projects, Tampa Bay Watch has a strong focus on environmental education. Bay Grasses in Classes is a coastal wetland nursery program initiated in 1994 by Tampa Bay Watch. Seventeen salt marsh wetland nurseries have been established at fifteen middle and high schools across Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties. Students monitor and maintain the nurseries which ultimately provide a source of native wetland plants for use in regional coastal habitat restoration projects. Since its inception, the BGIC program has restored over 152 acres around Tampa Bay involving about 19,000 students and teachers. Additionally, BGIC has been duplicated by environmental organizations in Louisiana, North Carolina, Long Island Sound, Baltimore Harbor and others.

In 2005, Tampa Bay Watch constructed a Marine Education Center at the entrance to Fort De Soto Park. The Marine Center features an indoor classroom, an outdoor wet lab and two 5,000 gallon touch tanks, all of which are utilized for Estuary EDventures, an environmental education program featuring school field trips and summer camp programs. The Estuary EDventures curriculum builds environmental literacy and encourages stewardship while educating students about estuarine science and habitat restoration. The Gulf of Mexico program of the Environmental Protection Agency awarded Estuary EDventures with the 2011 “Gulf Guardian Award" in the Youth Education category as a way to recognize and honor the program for taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Tampa Bay Watch surveys volunteers who participate in our projects and feature the results in our Annual Report. The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center gives visitors and exit survey and are currently taking the feedback of the survey results to incorporate new exhibits with animals into the Exhibit Gallery.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

TAMPA BAY WATCH INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

TAMPA BAY WATCH INC

Board of directors
as of 1/29/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Mark Chmielewski

MC Strategic

Term: 2021 - 2022


Board co-chair

Mike Wilson

General Dynamics

Term: 2021 - 2022

Steve Stanley

Metro Diner

Matt Bisset

Eckerd College

Steve McCreary

No Affiliation

Lawrence Weiner

Insurance Dispute Solutions LLC

Derek Houston

Houston Taylor Law

Travis Parker

Biltmore Construction

Kevin Kelso

Hancock Whitney Bank

Lari Johnson

Lari Johnson Public Relations

Steven Lay

LBP LAY, Inc.

Mary Ann Renfrow

The Alden Suites

Elizabeth Watts

Bloomin' Brands

Chip Webster

Vistage, Florida

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/29/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/29/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.