Captain Peter A. Clark is the founder and president of the Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the Tampa Bay estuary. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Captain Clark grew up on Skaneateles Lake. Inspired by the stewardship of the lake, Clark earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Long Island University. In the 1970s, he moved to Tampa to work as an environmental planner for the Agency on Bay Management. After realizing that Tampa Bay lacked a nonprofit bay stewardship program, he founded the Tampa Bay Watch in 1993.
In this interview, Captain Clark provides an overview of the development of the Tampa Bay Watch from its modest infancy to its current status as a thriving nonprofit with its own marine center and classroom boat. During his discussion, he describes the legislative background and agencies that helped transform the bay during the 1980s and 1990s. Captain Clark also discusses Tampa Bay Watch’s volunteer restoration programs including oyster reef enhancement, salt marsh plantings, seagrass monitoring, and scallop searches. He continues his interview outlining the educational components of the Tampa Bay Watch including field trips, summer camps, and its signature program, Bay Grasses in Classes.