UF/IFAS Online Resource Guide for Florida Shellfish Aquaculture
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Water Quality Monitoring

Monitoring equipmentImportant information about water quality and weather is available to clam industry members and other interested people. The information can be used real-time by clam growers and seed producers in making immediate management decisions. Archived information can be used in comparing annual and seasonal differences in clam productivity as well as substantiating crop losses. This decision support tool is the result of a cooperative partnership among the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), University of Florida (UF) IFAS, and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Aquaculture.

Installation and operation of water quality monitoring stations at 10 shellfish aquaculture lease areas in Florida began in 2002 as part of the CLAMMRS (Clam Lease Assessment, Management, and Modeling using Remote Sensing) project. Continuous monitoring over a 4-year period documented environmental conditions that could negatively impact clam survival and growth and identified biologically relevant water quality differences among leases.  A final report on the CLAMMRS project is available here. In 2006, a partnership agreement was initiated with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) (the funding agency), which allowed for continued operation of selected stations. Renewed in 2009, the agreement provides for monitoring of water quality and weather though 2012.

Monitoring Stations

In the current project, water quality monitoring stations are being operated at five shellfish aquaculture lease areas. These include: Alligator Harbor in Franklin County, Dog Island near Cedar Key in Levy County, Gulf Jackson near Cedar Key in Levy County, Horseshoe Beach in Dixie County, and Indian River near Sebastian in Indian River County.

Monitoring Equipment

The water quality information is collected using Yellow Springs Instruments (YSI 6600-V2) monitoring probes, which measure water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and depth. In addition, Campbell Scientific weather stations (Vaisala WXT510) monitor wind speed and direction, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and air temperature. These parameters are measured every half hour, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Every two hours the measurements are posted to a website via internet connection to computers in Tallahassee. The stations undergo regular maintenance by FDACS Division of Aquaculture staff.

Obtaining Information

Screen shot of live water quality data available from FDACSReal-time or “live” information can be viewed at the Division of Aquaculture’s website, www.floridaaquaculture.com.  Information is posted to the website every 2 hours, but only the most recent 36 hours is shown. (For an example of the data available and an explanation of how to interpret it, click here.)  After this time period, the data are archived and made available on this site.  Archived data are error-corrected by UF extension faculty and presented in “farmer friendly” graphic format.

To assist clam growers and others interpret the water quality values, a series of facts sheets on the role of water temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen on hard clam production was developed by UF faculty and graduate students. Topics include: how the water quality parameter is measured, why it is variable, how does it affect clam physiology, and what are the signs of stress in clams. Information is also provided on how to manage clam crops in response to the water quality parameter.



Water Quality


Water Quality

About Archives

Alligator Harbor

Body A

Body F

Dog Island

Gulf Jackson

Horseshoe Beach

Indian River

Pine Island

Sandfly Key

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USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture logo

FDACS Division of Aquaculture logo


UF Shellfish Extension Office | FWC Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Laboratory | PO Box 89 | Cedar Key, FL  32625 | 352-543-5057
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Photos in header banner by:  Carlton Ward, Jr. and Eric Zamora
Last updated January 10, 2013

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