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Results from the planting will create a foundation for natural habitat development and restore shellfish populations in the IRL

Orlando, Fla. – June 25, 2020 – On Friday, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, Capt. Blair Wiggins of Addictive Fishing, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and University of Florida (UF) will host a historic clam planting in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), deploying more than 2 million clams in the river’s Northern sector. 

Friday’s event marks a crucial milestone for the IRL Clam Restoration Project, which began in 2017 after Captain Wiggins contacted CCA Florida to discuss his concerns for the demise of clams in the IRL. A few months later, CCA Florida teamed up with Captain Wiggins, FWC and UF on the project, the first of its kind in the IRL. The primary goal is to initiate clam restoration by repatriating hardy varieties of native clam species and assessing their survivorship under various environmental conditions.

“The IRL Clam Restoration Project is a science-backed, collaborative effort between public, private, academic and non-profit organizations to improve the water quality of the IRL,” CCA Florida Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration Frank Gidus said. “The upcoming clam planting is an historic event for the IRL, as clam restoration has never been conducted in the area.  In addition to filtering out pollutants, the clams will improve water clarity, and in turn, help grow and expand seagrasses.” 

Clams are filter feeders, removing excess nutrients from inshore coastal waters, as a result, creating clearer water. Improved water clarity allows more sunlight to penetrate the ecosystem and supports the growth of essential seagrasses, a vital need for the IRL. The restorative work from the clam planting will form the foundation for rebuilding shellfish populations, benefitting the needs for today and tomorrow. marine resource council won 19thannual conservation IRL Project of the Year award for project of the year.

Last year, CCA Florida, FWC and UF collaborated won a grant through the IRL National Estuary Program in the amount of $103,322 and included $105,591 match. CCA Florida and CCA’s Music City Chapter exclusively donated $34,000 to the project. In January, the IRL Clam Restoration Project received the “Project of the Year” award from Marine Resources Council. 

CCA Florida is committed to enhancing Florida’s marine resources for today and generations to come. For additional information, visit irlclamproject.com.   

Contact: Mary Hillyer Peelen| 407.617.0604 | mhpeelen@ccaflorida.org 


About CCA Florida

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations.  One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985.  A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources.  Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments.  Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.

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