Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program

An opportunity to get involved and learn about Barnegat Bay ecology, shellfish biology and aquaculture, and positive environmental stewardship while helping the Bay, growing shellfish, and educating other citizens.

***The 2018 Shellfish Gardener Course will run from May 8 through June 25. Please click here to download a flyer that includes more information about the course and details on how to register***

EPA Award

The Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program (BBSRP) is a part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), and includes collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Bureau of Shellfisheries and local non-profit organizations. The goals of the BBSRP are to educate the community about the ecology of Barnegat Bay and to promote positive environmental stewardship while using the biology and aquaculture of shellfish (primarily hard clams and oysters) as the primary teaching tools to achieve these goals -- including helping people to understand they are both part of the problem and the solution.


The  BBSRP was started in 2005 and has worked in close collaboration with one of our partnering non-profit organizations, ReClam the Bay (, which primarily consists of graduates of our Shellfish Gardener course. Course graduates often continue volunteering with ReClam the Bay on an annual basis to carry out the shared goals of our programs. The Shellfish Gardener course teaches volunteers about topics such as Barnegat Bay ecology, water quality, watersheds, environmental protection, shellfish biology, and aquaculture. The flyer for the 2018 course offering can be downloaded here.


The BBSRP has grown millions of hard clams and tens of thousands of oysters with BBSRP and ReClam the Bay volunteers. In support of population restoration efforts, the shellfish are grown annually at upwellers and then planted in the wild throughout Barnegat Bay when they reach adequate size. These volunteers also educate other citizens (e.g., visitors to upweller nurseries, fairs and festivals, local schools) by sharing with them what they have learned in the Shellfish Gardener course and while working in the field.


For more information about the BBSRP, please contact Dr. Douglas Zemeckis, County Agent III (Assistant Professor), Ocean, Atlantic, and Monmouth Counties, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station:  |  732-349-1152


Or Kelly Jurgensen, Admin. Assistant, Marine Extension Program:  |  732-349-1152


Douglas Zemeckis

Gef and Freeholder Vicari at Summer Celebration 2006

Dr. Douglas Zemeckis, County Agent III

(Assistant Professor)

Joseph Vicari (left) Ocean County Freeholder

and Gef Flimlin (right) founder of BBSRP. Retired

in 2016 after 38 years of services.


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 to find out more about the volunteer experience. For more information about the Barnegat Bay Shellfish Restoration Program, contact the Ocean County Extension office.


Rutgers Logo Ocean County Logo NJDEP Logo NJ Fish and Wildlife Logo   Barnegat Bay Partnership  


The program has been supported by the Ocean County Board of Chosen FreeholdersBarnegat Bay Partnership, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Exelon Corporation.

Cooperative Extension of Ocean County