Hillsborough County

GR8 Inspirations: Cleaning up Tampa Bay is top mission of local woman

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- Tampa Bay is ranked one of the most beautifully restored bodies of water in the country, a far cry from the polluted mess it was in the 1970's and 80's.

"People didn't swim or fish or want to be near the water,"  said Holly Greening, who is the CEO of Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

Greening has dedicated her entire career, nearly three decades, to cleaning up Tampa Bay.

She's been on the front lines of what Greening calls a collaborative effort.

"It's remarkable and it's because of all the action from citizens from our local counties and cities from the industries around the Tampa Bay area. Everyone has chipped in to help us reduce pollution to the bay, and now Tampa Bay is as clear as it was in 1950. We have more sea grass now than we did in 1950. This is remarkable, given our population now is three million and back in 1950 it was about an eighth of that," said Greening.

Greening's career has been dedicated to bridging public-private partnerships across Tampa Bay and coming up with creative ways to clean up the bay.

As she commutes into work each day over the Skyway Bridge, Greening says she can now see the downtown Tampa skyline and that's how she knows everyone's efforts are working.

"That's just a little barometer I use - it really reflects on cleaner air cleaner water - cleaner bait - seeing the birds - coming over the Skyway - it's magical it really is," said Greening.

Helping to bring beauty to Tampa Bay is what makes Holly Greening a Gr8 Inspiration.

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