These ‘College’ Grads Ready to Help ReClam the Bay 

Jun 28, 2017
Courtesy of: ReClam the Bay

The Beach Haven contingent of ReClam the Bay recently hosted the graduating students of “Clam College” on a field trip to the organization’s upweller and a boat tour around Mordecai Island. Dominic Tuman, a member of ReClam the Bay’s board of directors, said the college is similar to the Master Gardeners program, as both are sponsored by the Rutgers University Coperative Extension Service.

“When they graduate the 13-week program, they become a certified shellfish gardener,” he said, which enables the graduates to become involved with the organization.

“They are stewards of the sea,” he said. “They can become teachers for us and help us emphasize the importance of a clean Barnegat Bay.”

Tumas said that in the last 10 years, 500 people have successfully completed the program.

“We have close to 200 active volunteers,” he said. “In those 13 weeks, they learn everything from shellfish biology to environmental issues concerning the bay.”

In Beach Haven, Tumas said, the group observed the upweller tanks located in the old Coast Guard station, which has also been used as borough hall since Superstorm Sandy. The upwellers are 550-gallon tanks that are 12 to 14 feet long and 4 feet wide and are use for raising baby clams and other shellfish that are later returned to the bay.

ReClam the Bay also has upwellers at the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club and Morrison’s Marina, both in Beach Haven, as well as at the Surf City Marina and the Barnegat Light boat ramp. The five areas combine to raise an average of one million baby shellfish a year.

At Mordecai Island, the graduates got a close-up look at shellfish beds the organization set up.

Tumas said some of the new graduates were at a display table at last weekend’s Baymen’s Seafood Festival at the Tuckerton Seaport. 

ReClam the Bay’s mission statement says it looks to involve the general public “so they will understand that the quality of the water in our estuary, and the quality of the shellfish we eat, are really their responsibility.”

“And a good start for people is to enroll in the clam college,” he said. —E.E.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.