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Manatee County on board for $500k, big win for ‘clams on deck’

$500,000 is a lot of clams.

Manatee County commissioners Aug. 9 fulfilled a $500,000 funding request made by islander Ed Chiles, founder and board member of the All Clams on Deck initiative.

The seats in the commission chambers were filled with staff and supporters of All Clams on Deck, an initiative of the nonprofit Gulf Shellfish Institute, also a Chiles endeavor, as he spoke to commissioners about the project.

“Harmful algal blooms and water quality issues are what keeps me up at night,” said Chiles, who operates restaurants in Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key and other business enterprises in the county. He also is an appointed member of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council and the Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.

Already this year, the All Clams initiative received $2.5 million in funding through the 2022-23 state budget.

Chiles told commissioners funding from the county would show support for water quality initiatives.