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Contractor withdraws, puts end to Anna Maria Island clam-seeding proposal

Anna Maria is putting clams on the shelf.

The plan to use American Rescue Plan Act funding to seed clams in Anna Maria’s waters is moot.

Commission Chair Carol Carter said March 24 the city received a letter from the Diatom Initiative, one of the contractors that proposed seeding clams on Anna Maria’s shore, withdrawing the project from consideration.

Instead, the funding will go to maintain the city’s stormwater infiltration trenches.

The city received $740,432 from the U.S. American Rescue Plan and earmarked $50,000 to spend on addressing environmental issues, including red tide.

A collection of four contractors, including Diatom, proposed using the money to seed 1 million-2 million southern hard clams along the city’s northern shoreline on Tampa Bay and Bimini Bay.

The project was put forth by Palmetto-based Gulf Shellfish Institute, a nonprofit that would provide collaborative oversight, of which island business owner Ed Chiles is a founding board member.

Chiles was set to make a presentation on the proposed project at the meeting before the offer was withdrawn.