Suncoast Waterkeeper Inc
616 Golden Gate Pt. #7
Sarasota FL 34236
The mission of Suncoast Waterkeeper is to protect and restore the Florida Suncoast's waterways through enforcement, fieldwork, advocacy, and environmental education for the benefit of the communities that rely upon these precious resources.
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
Board Chair Joseph McClash
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2012
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2018
State Registration Yes Mar 2019
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

1.    Leadership role in preventing a massive, poorly conceived shoreline development project (Long Bar Pointe/Aqua on the Bay) from destroying protected coastal habitat. 

2.    Pursuing Clean Water Act citizens suits against St. Petersburg and Gulfport to force them to upgrade their failing sewage systems with adequate accountability to the public.
3.   Leadership role in a coalition of groups opposing expansion of Phosphate mining in our region. Plaintiffs in a Federal Court challenge under the Endangered Species Act, seeking to have the Federal Govt revisit a flawed assessment of environmental impacts that gives rise to future mining permits.

4.     Plaintiffs in a nationwide Endangered Species Act lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US National Marine Fishery Service. At issue is the mortality of thousands of threatened and endangered sea turtles in power plant intakes. The goal of the action is to compel these agencies to advise the EPA forthrightly and accurately about the harm to endangered species of all kinds from once-through cooling systems, leading to a wholesale conversion from antiquated cooling systems to closed-cycle systems, which use 95% less water.

5.    Suncoast Waterkeeper is calling for a comprehensive environmental impact study of beach and inlet erosion control and nourishment practices in our region. Currently we face a disjointed series of projects and proposals from local governments that seek to protect local beaches from erosion in a vacuum. The proposed dredging of Big Pass has raised immediate concerns about Sarasota committing to a 50 year plan to dredge enough sand to fill four Empire State Buildings, but that is but one of a series of projects that seek to mine the shoals that define our area passes and use the sand as fill to build up our vulnerable beaches.

Our goals for the next year are, amongst others:

  • To focus attention on the failure of municipalities in the region to address failing sewage and stormwater infrastructure.
  • To force Big Bend Power Plant, the worst polluter in our region, to clean up their act.
  • To protect mangroves in our region through enforcement and strengthening regulations.
  • To press for a Comprehensive EIS for regional dredging and renourishment proposals that seek to mine our passes for sand without adequate planning and review.

Needs Statement
1. Funds to hire a staffer for organizational management and fundraising. $100 contribution towards $50,000-100,000.
2. Funds to bring and litigate enforcement lawsuits, challenges to poorly-conceived development and efforts to efforts to weaken environmental laws.  $100 contribution towards 50,000-100,000. 
3.  A boat, 21-24' in length, preferably a center-console, with a four-stroke motor, in very good condition, for use in enforcement patrol, scientific research, photography, direct actions, media transport and fundraising.  Value: $15,000 - $25,000
4.  An office of at least 400 sq. ft. near or with access to the Bays or Gulf, to become Suncoast Waterkeeper's home office.  There should be conference facilities in the space or available nearby.  Value: $1,200 - $1,800 / month.   $100 contribution gets us partway there.
5.  Hosts for informational and fundraising house parties to support the work of Suncoast Waterkeeper.  Hosts would open their houses and their contact lists, inviting 10-20 individuals to meet and greet the principals of Suncoast Waterkeeper, learn about ongoing programs, exchange ideas, and hopefully help support the work.  Value each: priceless
Background Statement
Formed in 2012 as a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, Suncoast Waterkeeper was developed to address local and regional environmental challenges that required an advocacy oriented approach to collaborate with stakeholders, educate and rally the public and take strong action when necessary. Suncoast Waterkeeper's founder and E.D. is an environmental lawyer with many years experience working with non-profits and having served as a director of Waterkeeper Alliance.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
FL- Hillsborough
FL- DeSoto
Areas Served Comments

The Suncoast’s major waterbodies include Sarasota Bay, portions of Tampa Bay, the Manatee River, Charlotte Harbor and the nearshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The exclusive jurisdiction of the Suncoast Waterkeeper is a hybrid construct of a media/geopolitical/watershed nature. Rather than attempting a jurisdiction that would include all of the Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor estuaries, the Waterkeeper will focus on the coastal waters of Manatee and Sarasota Counties, a watershed defined by culture and politics as much as hydrology. The watershed includes all of the Sarasota Bay Estuary and the southern reaches of Tampa Bay (Lower Tampa Bay and Terra Ceia Bay,) and the Manatee River. The larger Tampa Bay Estuary and neighboring Charlotte Harbor Estuary will be within the Waterkeeper’s extra-territorial area of influence.

Service Categories
Primary Org Type Environment
Secondary Org Type Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
Tertiary Org Type Animal Related
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Thank you for your interest in of Suncoast Waterkeeper. We’ve been busy! Check out our Website and Facebook page to see lots of actions, recent press and events. Here are our priority programs, all of which depend on the generosity of donors like you:
Mangrove Protections: Mangroves provide essential nursery habitat for many aquatic species and define our remaining natural shoreline. We have lost thousands of acres of mangroves in our region as development has replaced saltwater wetlands with seawalls and turfgrass. Suncoast Waterkeeper will pressure the State and Counties to improve their regulatory and enforcement efforts, which have been sidelined by politics. When the regulators don’t do their jobs enforcing the law, we do, by directly suing violators for dredge and fill violations that damage and destroy our mangroves. Similarly, when local governments and agencies refuse to follow the law, we challenge decisions that are too often based on politics, greed and nepotism rather than good policy and science.
Phosphate Mining: Mosaic, familiar to most of us from their highly-misleading advertising and PR campaign, continues to build the nation’s largest toxic and hazardous waste repository. Over 400 square miles of west-central Florida have been literally destroyed, and the region’s primary rivers either threatened or degraded. Suncoast Waterkeeper is working to keep Mosaic from expanding its Wingate East mine into thousands of acres in Manatee County, we are also suing the Federal Government for approving a phosphate plan for Central Florida in violation of the Endangered Species Act and NEPA.
Sewage: In the wake of last summer’s massive sewage spills of hundreds of millions of gallons, Suncoast Waterkeeper has sued the City of St. Petersburg, the primary polluter, as well as Gulfport, and are investigating other municipalities throughout the Suncoast. Our goal is to force these municipalities to fix their aging, failing sewage systems, under the authority of consent decrees enforceable in Federal Court.
Big Bend Power Plant: Since 1970, the Big Bend power generation facility on Tampa Bay has been one of the worst polluters in our region. It's time for them to clean up their act, or shut down. We are fighting to compel TECO to address the destruction of billions of marine organisms including endangered sea turtles and important juvenile fish sucked into its cooling system, the heavy metals and other pollutants that are leaking into the Bay from its coal ash dumps, the coal and dust that gets dumped into the Bay during delivery and storage, and finally, to abide by a CO2 budget.
Dredging Passes for Beach Renourishment: Suncoast Waterkeeper calls for a comprehensive environmental impact study of beach and inlet erosion control and nourishment practices in our region. The proposed dredging of Big Pass raises concerns about Sarasota committing to a 50 year plan to dredge enough sand to fill the Empire State Building, but that is just one of a series of projects in the region that seek to mine the shoals that define our area passes and use the sand as fill to build up vulnerable beaches.
Description Strategic research and assessment is a process by which SCWK evaluates and prioritizes regional, local and sometimes national issues for appropriate action.  It begins with deep listening through a network of partner organizations and citizens, to sort out the facts and science from emotions, and characterize the issue in terms of applicable law.  The product of this process will be an impressionistic but defensible prioritization and a range of responses.
Budget $40,000
Category Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success Short-term success can be measured from an internal perspective.  As the process succeeds, so succeed the subsequent steps that follow from it.  By keeping up with the flow of information, by conducting our own research and inquiries, and staying ahead of the curve, we will know that we are mounting a successful defense of the regional environment.
Long Term Success The program's long-term success is difficult to measure, because the flow of poorly-conceived development projects that threaten shoreline and upland habitat seems endless, motivated by market forces and greed.  One doubts that there will ever be a meaningful change in the ways developers view their opportunities, unless word gets around that SCWK is watching, vigilant, and ready to contest a bad project.  
Program Success Monitoring Program success will be monitored internally by constant assessment of the interactions between assessment and action.  Are the strategic needs of the group's mission being met?  Are the resources in place?  Again, this is not numeric, and will rely upon metadata and impressionistic evaluation, but the monitoring will be continuous.  
Program Success Examples Recently our staff evaluated the US Army Corps of Engineers' plans to dredge New Pass and Longboat Pass, and by extension, Big Pass, which will be a project on a scale unseen here since the building of Bird Key essentially smothered all the life in Sarasota Bay under a blanket of sediment. Our conclusion was that we need to mobilize our partners and the local population, to the greatest extent possible, to insist that the Corps perform a full and rigorous Environmental Impact Statement, as required by federal law.  No organization should consider itself above the law, and yet many do.
Description Informed by our assessment analysis, we decide what actions are appropriate, ranging from none at all to a full-out lawsuit with multiple plaintiffs.  Our broad and long-term experience in the arena of public policy and law has uniquely equipped us to select and deliver the right actions to achieve the maximum results, always driven by our mission.
Budget $100,000
Category Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success The win rate is important short term, as well.  But sometimes legal action results in fines and fees being paid to the plaintiffs, in which case hard-won funds can be measured and applied to future legal actions.  Media outreach is an important tool for generating and sustaining public awareness and support.
Long Term Success This program will be judged based on the number of positive outcomes resulting from our efforts, and the percentage of "wins."  Also, when developers start following the law and desist attempting to cut corners and destroy important coastal habitat, and when governmental agencies start following their own regulations and policies, and observing the law, we will be able to take some credit.
Program Success Monitoring Program success is monitored by internal review on a case-by-case basis, by the win rate, the fines received, and the amount of outreach achieved.
Program Success Examples Recently, SCWK challenged a USACOE dredging and beach "nourishment" project at Longboat Pass, and in an administrative hearing managed to halt the most egregious of the project's features: a massive groin that would have caused more damage than good, and would have permanently disrupted sea turtle nesting. 
Description The Waterkeeper Alliance maintains a web-based publication called the Swim Guide, that characterizes the health risks, if any, at beaches around the country.  One of the three goals of the Waterkeeper Alliance is swimmable waters (along with fishable and drinkable).  It is up to the local and regional "keepers" to maintain and update the data, to keep the Guide fresh and accurate.
Budget $10,000
Category Environment, General/Other Water Pollution Control
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success Our ability to run a program of frequent sampling, in affiliation with Water Wizards, and bring our region of the Guide into currency will be measured in the number of samples and the number of Guide usages.
Long Term Success Long-term success will be gauged by the extent to which the Guide becomes used as a reference for people enjoying the beach, but concerned about their families' health.  
Program Success Monitoring The Water Wizard supervisor -- the Grand Wizard -- will monitor the program's progress and success.
Program Success Examples The Swim Guide has been accessed tens of thousands of times, around the nation, so it has been a demonstrable success.  Our job will be to heighten its relevance and use regionally, as more than a curiosity, but as a tool.  Regionally, it is a program in development.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email

Justin Bloom volunteers as Executive Director of Suncoast Waterkeeper. He is a private practice attorney specializing in environmental law. He is the owner of Osprey Motorcar Company and co-owner of SUP Sarasota Watersports. Justin is the Secretary of the Board of the Florida West Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council (operator of Geraldson Community Organic Farm). He also serves as the Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Justin graduated from New College of Florida in 1991 with a BA Degree in Environmental Studies. He completed his law degree at Tulane University in 1996.

For the last 20 + years, Justin has worked with and for many environmental organizations including most recently as a director for Waterkeeper Alliance.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 0
Volunteers 50
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
Sierra Club Manatee-Sarasota Group
Manasota 88
Sarasota County
Manatee Fish and Game 
Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage 
Manatee County
Save Our Siesta Sands 2
Sarasota Bay Watch
Sarasota Bay Estuary Program
Sarasota SUP 
Tampa Bay Waterkeeper 
Waterkeeper Alliance 
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization We aspire to raise adequate funds in within the next year to hire a professional Executive Director.
Management Comments by Foundation Organization is all volunteer.
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization We are actively developing a Strategic Plan.  We expect it to be completed in February 2018.
Board Chair
Board Chair Joseph McClash
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Feb 2018 to Feb 2021
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Justin Bloom Suncoast Waterkeeper
Joe McClash Bradenton Times
Jack Merriam Retired Sarasota County employee
Merrie Lynn Parker Community Volunteer
Sandra Ripberger Retired
Terri Wonder Community Volunteer
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 3
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 76
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Human Resources / Personnel
Governance Comments by Organization This is still a hybrid of the initiatory Board established to incorporate SCWK and begin its mission-driven activities. The Executive Director is a volunteer, who serves on the Board. We are expanding the Board, hoping for a final level of 8 persons, and therefore actively, but very selectively, looking for new Board candidates. We will update the Board list as additions are made. We hope to raise adequate funds to hire an executive director that will report to the Board.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Nov
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Oct
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $45,000.00
Projected Expenses $45,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$24,312$6,695--
Administration Expense$460$1,792--
Fundraising Expense$30$0--
Payments to Affiliates$0$0--
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.713.59--
Program Expense/Total Expenses98%79%--
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%--
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$0$0--
Current Assets$0$0--
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$0$0--
Total Net Assets$0$0--
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $16,698Contributions, gifts, grants $27,017--
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram service revenue $800Fundraising $2,987--
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther $10Foundation & Corporate Support $500--
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets------
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Suncoast Waterkeeper (SCWK) has been concentrating on establishing itself as a regional mission-based advocate for water quality, habitat preservation, the health and resilience of species, both aquatic and terrestrial, and ensuring that development is conducted according to good governance and the rule of law.
SCWK Executive Director Justin Bloom remains a volunteer, while Waterkeeper Andy Mele has performed some limited services under contract.  We have continued to develop SCWK into an increasingly well-known and highly-regarded regional resource with a very low budget.  Having made news on any number of occasions, particularly with regards to mangrove and coastal habitat preservation and opposition to phosphate strip-mining, the group's unwavering commitment to the mission and principled values have shown results in the fundraising arena.  In-kind contributions continue to exceed $100,000.  Fundraising is now a priority, especially in our quest to demonstrate that we can generate sustainable revenues for SCWK and its work. We are improving our utilization of the new NationBuilder web platform, and have been maintaining a robust presence on Facebook, with posts almost every day.  Our organizational narrative and accomplishments will allow us to make a solid case for support. 
Financial Comments by Foundation Suncoast Waterkeeper files a 990-N (postcard) with the IRS, which does not include financial information.  Financial information based on unaudited income & expense compilations.  No balance sheet information has been provided.
Nonprofit Suncoast Waterkeeper Inc
Address 616 Golden Gate Pt. #7
Sarasota, FL 34230
Phone 941 275-2922