Brevard Zoo Continues Indian River Lagoon Conservation Initiative, Plants 100 Clam Beds

By  //  March 31, 2021

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Zoo plans to construct 100 clam beds with 3 million clams by summer of 2022

Brevard Zoo is adding clam restoration to its diverse portfolio of Indian River Lagoon conservation initiatives. Beginning next month, the Zoo’s conservation specialists will deploy young clams at designated sites throughout the Brevard County portion of the lagoon. (Brevard Zoo image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Brevard Zoo is adding clam restoration to its diverse portfolio of Indian River Lagoon conservation initiatives.

Beginning next month, the Zoo’s conservation specialists will deploy young clams at designated sites throughout the Brevard County portion of the lagoon.

The clams, which will be sourced from the University of Florida’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, will be covered by a net to protect them from predators.

Some sites will be planted with aquatic grasses cultivated by the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart. The installations will be monitored to evaluate the project’s efficacy.

The Zoo plans to construct 100 clam beds with a total of three million clams by the summer of 2022. An additional five million “seed clams” will be placed in existing oyster reefs.

This project is funded by the State of Florida through the St. Johns River Water Management District. Clams are filter feeders that remove nitrogen and phosphorous from the water. (Brevard Zoo image)

This project is funded by the State of Florida through the St. Johns River Water Management District. Clams are filter feeders that remove nitrogen and phosphorous from the water.

These chemicals—which are found in fertilizers and human and pet waste—have been linked to the algae blooms, muck buildup, and other environmental issues ailing the lagoon. The Zoo has been actively involved in lagoon restoration since 2010 when it joined the now-famous “oyster mat” project.

The Zoo gradually expanded its efforts to encompass mangroves and aquatic grasses, forming the basis of the Restore Our Shores (ROS) program.

ROS is seeking lagoon-front residents who are willing to have their properties considered as clam deployment sites. Interested parties can schedule an evaluation at www.restoreourshores.org/clams

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