The Shellfish Restoration Program is a partnership between Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Game Bureau of Shellfisheries. Its goals are to educate the community about the natural cycle and ecology of the Barnegat Bay, to promote environmental stewardship, and to use clams and oysters as the teaching tool to achieve these goals ---including helping people understand they are both part of the problem AND the solution!
The program now going into its 12th year has put millions of clam seed and oyster seed into Barnegat Bay. Clam seed which survive a year planted are broadcast into the bay in random fashion. Oysters and spat on shell oysters have been put onto a reef constructed for the program.
Volunteers take a course, commonly known as Clam College, to become familiar with shellfish, bay ecology, water quality, watersheds and environmental protection. These volunteers are the workforce that grows locally sourced clam and oyster seed for growout. Volunteers also educate people at the upweller nurseries about the bay, at fairs and festivals, and in classrooms full of local students.
The Shellfish Program is award winning!! ReClam the won the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Environmental Quality Award. The program has also won two National Extension Awards at the Association for Natural Resource Extension Professionals Meeting, and Two Governor's Excellence Awards - The Governor's Excellence Award in Tourism for the Clam Trail, and an Honorable Mention in the Healthy Ecosystems Category of the Environmental Excellence Awards. This is in addition to Gef Flimlin, the program’s founder to be honored by the Jersey Shore Partnership for his work with the seafood industry and the Shellfish Program.
The volunteers have formed a non-profit organization to carry out our shared mission, and provide fundraising support to increase shellfish restoration efforts. Please visit www.reclamthebay.org to find out more about the volunteer experience. For more information about the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program, contact the Ocean County Extension office.
The program has been supported by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, The Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Exelon Corporation.