Extremely cold weather combined with very low tides in November 2008 or the unusually large influxs of sediment from the December 2008 and January 2009 storms seems to be taking a toll on clams in Oakland Bay. Growers report that there are many more dead clams than usual–maybe twice the ususal number especially in upper Oakland Bay and Chapman Cove.
The increase in clam mortality will set up an interesting experiment this summer. There seems to be a relationship between clams dying and summer nutrient levels/bacteria concentrations in Oakland Bay. If the hypothesis is correct, this summer’s bacteria concentrations should be higher than 2008 or 2007. A hot and sunny summer will likely enhance the increase. We will have the results of the experiment by October 2009.