Entering our sixth year as a contributing partner to Sarasota Bay Watch’s successful native clam seeding program in Sarasota Bay, START is very pleased to relay Ernesto Lasso de la Vega’s report on the progress of the repopulation project so far this year.
Members of the Sarasota Bay Watch visited clam farmer, Carter Davis’, leased farming area in Pine Island Sound in June to observe the status of the clams that will be released in the next seeding in October. Approximately 600,000 clams were observed to be growing well at one inch in length. The clams are grown under netting to protect them from predators. Some of these clams have been earmarked for START’s repopulation program at Bay Park in Sarasota.
They collected about 600 clams for a case study by Kera Pasquerilla, a student at New College, shown above in the photograph on the right. The clams were taken to the Marine Center at New College for holding until the study begins.
On June 25th and 27th, Kera, volunteer friend, Ireland Abbott, Ernesto, Steve Martin, President of Sarasota Bay Watch, shown respectively above from left to right, along with Sarasota Bay Watch volunteers Al Jeffrey and Megan McCardell placed the clams in bags in four different potential locations for the October seeding. One of the locations is near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center and the site of START’s four-part holistic stormwater filtering system at the developing Bay Park. The clam study requires biweekly visitations to evaluate their growth and survival at these perspective sites.
The Sarasota Bay Watch is looking for volunteers willing to provide boat transportation to the testing sites and some qualified divers to help monitor and measure the clams. If you are interested in participating in this study or the October clam release event, contact Ernesto Lasso de la Vega at firstname.lastname@example.org. The clam study is being conducted under the auspices of Dr. Bruce Barber and Dr. Dinorah Chacin of the Gulf Shellfish Institute and Dr. Geraldo Toro Farmer from New College.
We all look forward to hearing more about this important marine environmental restoration project after the seeding in October.