Water Quality Monitoring
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
University of Florida
(UF) IFAS, and
of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Aquaculture.
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
Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
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.
current project, water quality monitoring
stations are being operated at five shellfish aquaculture lease
areas. These include:
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.
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.
or “live” information can be viewed at the Division of Aquaculture’s
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.
clam growers and others interpret the water quality values, a series of
facts sheets on the role of
on hard clam production was developed by UF faculty and graduate
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.