TAMPA — Outback Bowl fans will be helping to restore Tampa Bay with every Guy Harvey T-shirt they purchase with this year’s game logo on it.
This is the fifth year the renowned marine wildlife artist has been selected to design the logo and produce the T-shirts for the New Year’s Day game, which features the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Louisiana State University Tigers playing at Raymond James Stadium.
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation has pledged $1 from the sale of every Harvey-designed shirt to Tampa Bay Watch for its work building oyster habitat in the bay.
For the past 13 years, volunteers for the local nonprofit environmental group have been molding oyster domes from marine-friendly concrete and placing them in various parts of the bay to help increase oyster populations.
The oysters provide a food source for marine creatures, and an adult oyster can filter eight to 10 gallons of water an hour, which adds to the cleansing of the bay’s waters, said Peter Clark, executive director of Tampa Bay Watch.
Clark said all the money from the donations will go to continuing the oyster dome projects, which have become the bedrock for Tampa Bay Watch and its work to restore the estuary.
For the Guy Harvey foundation, choosing Tampa Bay Watch as a donation recipient was an easy decision.
“We’ve heard about Tampa Bay Watch for a while and I’m in the business, with our foundation, of trying to learn who in the state is doing good deeds, good work for our ocean resources,” said Steve Stock, president of the foundation. “When I started asking around, one of the things I quickly heard is that Tampa Bay Watch is doing some really good work, particularly with oyster beds and habitat restoration.
So far, Clark said, Tampa Bay Watch volunteers have set out 11,160 oyster domes, which rise 18 inches above the bay’s surface and have mostly been placed in areas impacted by seawalls, including MacDill Air Force Base, Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.