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Hard Clams; Hard at Work

Improving the Health of Ninigret Pond

"The goal is a self-sustainable hard clam population within the pond".

The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island was awarded $40,000 from the RI Coastal Resources Management Council to transplant hard clams into Ninigret Pond in the spring of 2010.  The Nature Conservancy and partners, including The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, The Salt Ponds Coalition, and Save The Bay, enhanced the hard clam population of Ninigret Pond by transplanting 200,000 adult clams into a designated spawner sanctuary within the pond.  This effort built upon the work performed over the last 2 years in Ninigret Pond (and Quonochontaug Pond) where approximately 400,000 clams were introduced(visit: Shellfish Restoration Project a Success).  The transplant is expected to provide immediate and long-term improvements in water clarity, an increase in juvenile clam replenishment pond-wide, creation of important bottom structure, and improved habitat for a variety of other marine species. 

The adult hard clams for transplant were harvested by commercial diggers within areas of Narragansett Bay that have high density populations - thinning out these high density areas improves the health and reproductive success of the population.  The clams were then transported by a flat bed truck to Ninigret where volunteers unloaded the clams into the pond.

"It's all part of a broader strategy"

Transplanting clams is one piece of a broader strategy to improve the water quality of Ninigret and Quonochontaug Ponds.  The Nature Conservancy is also looking at the maintenance of breach-ways to allow natural exchanges of salt and fresh water, and ways to reduce nitrogen levels in the ponds.

Read about our efforts in this article from The Westerly Sun and see the slideshow!

A Call for a Seaworthy Boat!

The Nature Conservancy's Rhode Island Coastal and Marine Program is in need of a seaworthy boat(and other equipment) to complete this season's work in Ninigret Pond, including pond-wide quahog monitoring. 
We are looking for:

  • A 20' - 26' work skiff made of fiberglass or wood with a solid trailer.
  • A functioning 40-75 hp outboard motor(preferably 4-stroke).
  • A davit with either a hand crank or pot hauler.
  • A slip, mooring or storage for trailer.

If you are inclined to help us out or know someone that could, please call Jules Opton-Himmel, Coastal and Estuary Specialist/TNC, at 401-331-7110 or send an email to jopton-himmel@tnc.org.

 

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