Whomever invented the phrase “happy as a clam” must not have been very familiar with the clams in Shinnecock Bay. Those clams — our clams, really — are in danger, ravaged by the effects of decades of overfishing, habitat loss, and disease. And because clams and oysters, being bivalves, are responsible for filtering our water, if they’re in trouble, so are we. Which is why, in 2012, the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program (ShiRP) was founded. It is also why, on July 10, ShiRP will be hosting their annual CLAMS for CLAMS fundraiser, to help them continue all their good work in the bay.
Hosted by the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program, at the Marine Sciences Center on the Southampton campus of Stony Brook University, CLAMS for CLAMS will feature a cocktail reception from 6-8:30 p.m., with a sunset cruise on Shinnecock Bay at 7. Tickets and sponsorships range from $150-$10,000; all proceeds go directly to the bay. There, guests’ support will help ShiRP continue to build clam sanctuaries (to enhance clam reproductive output), increase water quality, and help control harmful algal blooms—a three-pronged approach to restoration that we can see is already working.
In 2014, the overall density of brown tide in Shinnecock Bay was half the level seen in 2013. Even more promising, Fall 2014 was the first time in more than a decade that a brown tide occurred in Great South Bay without occurring in Shinnecock Bay too!
Of course, this doesn’t mean ShiRP’s work is done quite yet. Western Shinnecock Bay was recently closed to shellfishing due to a harmful red algae bloom that can poison humans. Toxic algae blooms like these are precisely why restoration is so important; ShiRP’s goal is to improve conditions in the bay so thoroughly that these blooms won’t occur in the first place.
So, want to help turn the tide of Shinnecock Bay from brown to blue? RSVP to attend CLAMS for CLAMS today, and join ShiRP on Saturday, June 20, for their annual eelgrass reseeding event at the Stony Brook Southampton marine station.