The inaugural IRL Clam Restoration Project Benefit was one for the record books, raising over $140,000 in one night. With only 3 months of planning, over 200 fishing enthusiasts from all across the country; including TV celebrities, charter captains, and fishing guides showed up at the Cocoa Civic Center in support of the project. The successful evening was spearheaded by local TV host, Capt Blair Wiggins of Addictive Fishing Television. Capt Blair spoke from experience growing up as a fishing guide on Florida's Space Coast. He shared his experiences and about how he witnessed the Indian River and Banana River water quality change when the clam population was decimated in the 1990's.
Next up, Capt. Wiggins introduced the project clam master - Dr. Todd Osborne PhD. from the University of Florida's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine. Dr. Todd showed the standing room only audience the statistics behind the sustainable clam restoration project. Dr. Todd and Marine Biologist, Jose Nunez are spawning our future generation of clam filters to help water quality. It's what this fishery needs. The clam team including Jeff Beal from FWC, was then presented with the big donation of the night from the IRL Council for $103,322.00. Boom!
Thanks to CCA Florida for the evening's closer - a high energy "live" auction to raise more money towards the goal. Before it was all said and done, $140,000 was raised and Phase 1 funding is now complete. The clam team is planning the deployment of the first generation of 4,000,000+ clams back into the Indian River Lagoon this fall. Stay tuned for the video.
Watch project videos below:
Stay tuned for next year's dates so you can mark your calendar and plan on attending one of the most forward-thinking environmental projects of our time.
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