TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The local non-profit Tampa Bay Watch is celebrating 30 years of service. In those 30 years they have focused on restoring the Tampa Bay watershed through community-driven projects.

They have recovered over four thousand miles of fishing line to prevent entanglements. Volunteers have restored over 2.6 million square feet of shoreline with native grasses. Over two thousand derelict crab traps have been removed to reduce unnecessary bycatch.

One of Tampa Bay Watch’s main projects is constructing oyster habitats and placing them along shorelines. Oysters are an important part in any watershed because an adult oyster can filter over 50 gallons of water per day! They filter out algae and toxins and improve water quality and clarity day in and day out.

In 30 years, over 17,000 oyster habitats have been installed which filter over 860 million gallons of water per day. These structures are installed along the shoreline in rows to help stabilize it. The structures reduce the wave energy on the beach which prevents erosion.

Over the next few weeks, Tampa Bay Watch needs volunteers to help construct new habitats that will be out planted in the next few months. The process involves pouring concrete into fiberglass molds. Volunteers must be 16 years or older and you can sign up on their website. Check out their calendar of events and sign up for the date that works for you!

They need volunteers all the time for many different projects year round.