Tillamook County Estuaries- Part 4/6

Netarts Bay

Ecological Dilemma:  Will Human Activity Impact Nature/ Natural Systems with Positive or Negative Outcome(s)?

It looked like any other utility trailer until the back door flopped open. Inside was the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish Museum on Wheels.  Anything and everything to do with shellfish identification, ecology, and harvesting was most likely packed into that unique mobile learning center.

En plein air learning- with steady rain, we huddled alongside the road next to Netarts Bay. Donned in rain gear, our Oregon Master Naturalist cadre was prepared for class!

A series of displays, charts, and live specimens provided basic information about the habitat, identification, and life cycles of clams and crabs that inhabit the waters just feet from where we stood.

And most importantly, we contemplated the sustainability of shellfish. I discovered that SEACOR (pronounced “seeker”), is a permanent project of the shellfish program within the Marine Resources Program of ODFW. The goal of this agency is to conduct bay clam population and estuarine habitat studies throughout all the bays along the coast of Oregon. The project’s primary focus includes documenting where recreationally important bay clams are found and the abundance, biomass, and preferred habitat type for each species. Surveys target: butter clams, cockle clams, gaper clams, native littleneck clams as well as softshell clams and juvenile Dungeness crabs.

Interestingly, SEACOR is funded by recreational shellfish license fees, meaning that clammers and crabbers directly contribute to research on the resources they utilize. Information gathered by this project will assist ODFW in making management decisions to conserve clam populations and estuaries for future generations.

Thinking about shellfish, I imagine that in addition to the current resource management/documentation studies, climate change impact and the influence of invasive species are factors that will deem closer watch.

Here lies another set of factors in the Ecological Dilemma: Will Human Activity Impact Nature/ Natural Systems with Positive or Negative Outcome(s)?

 Learn More:
SEACOR; http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/Seacor/index.asp
Interactive map instructions
Netarts Bay Shellfish Areas
Netarts Bay Shellfish

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