Clams stall Bradenton Beach’s living shoreline project

Hurry up and wait.

Bradenton Beach’s living shoreline project — seeding the bayfront adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier with clams — is stalled.

City engineer Lynn Burnett told Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency members Feb. 6 the clams won’t arrive until the end of winter.

The development of a living shoreline involves populating the waters around the city pier with clams, which filter and benefit water quality, as well as other sea life.

Clam farmer Carter Davis from Farm Raised Clams of Southwest Florida in St. James City is providing the clams.

Burnett said she spoke with Bruce Barber, executive director of the Gulf Shellfish Institute, about placement for the city’s 200,000 clams.

“There’s a pretty big effort and coordination that needs to take place with all of that. So we’re wanting to have a little bit more time. Let season subside a little bit and get a successful placement,” Burnett said.

Helping with the task of transporting the clams from St. James to Bradenton Beach is CRA member and Beach House Restaurant owner Ed Chiles. He has volunteered a refrigerated truck that can carry 6,000 pounds of clams with deliveries to the site one day a week for four-five weeks.

Sarasota Bay Watch will oversee placement and hire local fishers for the task, a move initiated by the CRA to support fishers impacted by red tide in 2018.

City Commissioner Ralph Cole, said, “This is one little step in the direction that could, and I say could, help a lot as far as water quality goes.”