A very special organization that's unique to the Jersey Shore is getting ready to restart its mission. Reclam The Bay, a grass roots organization based out of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, is recruiting volunteers to help establish populations of clams and oysters in local waterways.

Gef Flimlin
Gef Flimlin (Rutgers)

Group leader, Gef Flimlin says they were founded and are run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the State Department of Environmental Protection's (NJDEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Shellfisheries.

"It's set up on face value as a shellfish restoration program but it's actually not, according to Flemlin. It's a program to help with environmental stewardship with people who live in the watershed of Barnegat Bay using shellfish as the focal point of which the people understand that there are shellfish in the bay and what they do in the watershed impacts what happens with what goes on in the bay."

In fact, the population of the bivalves or lack their of is a key indicator on the condition of the bay. Clams and oysters help filter water removing nitrogen and microscopic plants as they feed, eliminating major contributors to the bay's declining conditions, according to the group's materials.

little clams
(Facebook via ReClam The Bay)

Flimlin says the Superstorm didn't impact them much. He says "it actually hasn't changed our mission one bit. We got all of our nursery systems back, we had very little damage to the stuff that we planted last year." He says he had one Bayman tell him that he's optimistic about what the storm did to the Bay and feel's the storm actually had a positive impact on the condition of the bay."

Flimlin says they're starting its program this Tuesday at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County and will be running for seven nights this Spring and five nights in the Fall. He says volunteers are responsible twenty hours during the summer. Get the details at reclamthebay.org.

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