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Environmental group releasing more clams into Sarasota Bay this weekend

 Sarasota Bay Watch volunteers deploy 55,000 clams near the Field Club in Sarasota Bay
Sarasota Bay Watch
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Sarasota Bay Watch volunteers deploy 55,000 clams near the Field Club in Sarasota Bay

The organization releases clams into Sarasota Bay due to their natural abilities to filter excess nutrients.

The Sarasota Bay Watch is working toward its goal of releasing 1 million clams into the bay this year.

They will continue their mission as Earth Day approaches, with a clam cleaning event on Friday and a release event on Saturday.

The organization releases clams into Sarasota Bay due to their natural abilities to filter excess nutrients.

Sarasota Bay Watch member Rhonda Ryan said this can help decrease red algae blooms among other benefits.

“We believe that by putting clams in the water, we're hoping to improve the clarity of the water and the water quality,” she said.

She added that this process is standard for clams.

“They take in water and they push out clean water,” she said. “That's how they get their food, and we know that in water that has a lot of algae, the clams will take that water in. And then essentially, they can clear that water in a certain amount of time.”

An event to clean and prepare the clams for release will be held Friday at 10 a.m. in East Palmetto.

“This is a way of sort of cleaning out the clams, getting rid of dead shells that might interfere with some of the scientific studies that we're doing, and getting rid of some of those other animals that are in the baskets,” said Ryan.

Following this, the clams will be released into the Bay starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the 10th Street boat ramp (1059 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236).

The organization picks sites to release the clams and track their growth strategically, with help from other scientific institutions.

Ryan said that this includes using acoustic receivers and recorders to listen to the sounds of animals and see which predators are in the water.

“Aquaculture needs to have this kind of information if aquaculture is going to succeed,” she said.

She said that the organization is always looking for volunteers, like people who can help clean out clams or take their boats to help release clams.

Ryan adds that high school students can add volunteering hours for this as well.

For more information about Sarasota Bay Watch, including volunteering or donating information, visit the organization’s site.

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