From: Rob Brumbaugh []
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 2:43 PM
Subject: Shellfish Clamor July 2007

Funding Opportunities

Shellfish Restoration Network

Native shellfish play vital ecological roles in many estuaries, but are imperiled in many estuaries by habitat loss, over fishing, and pollution. Through a Shellfish Restoration Network, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are working to improve the design and implementation of restoration projects that help to illustrate the ecosystem services that shellfish provide. Through this network, we also hope to demonstrate the elements necessary to expand restoration and conservation to ecosystem scales.

Global Marine
Initiative's Vision

"The Nature Conservancy and partners working together in polar, temperate and tropical seas worldwide to conserve marine biodiversity effectively across seascapes and landscapes through transformative strategies and integrated planning and action."

To Join the Network, contact:
Rob Brumbaugh
Restoration Program Director
The Nature Conservancy, Global Marine Initiative or

For more information about
The Nature Conservancy’s
Global Marine Initiative, visit:

July 2007
Distributed by The Nature Conservancy's Global Marine Initiative

ASMFC Publishes Shellfish Habitat Synthesis

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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is responsible for developing and promoting effective fisheries management strategies among the 15 coastal U.S. states from Maine to Florida, including Pennsylvania. Management plans have been developed and are being implemented through ASMFC for 22 species of fish and shellfish that are shared among some or all of the states in the Commission’s geographic range.

Habitat management and protection is an important component of management plans, but quite often information about various habitats of importance to fishery managers is dispersed within the peer-reviewed and gray literature. To address this challenge for bivalve mollusc dominated habitats, ASFMC commissioned a report on the value of shellfish habitat to the array of species managed through ASMFC. The report summarizes recent and historic studies to characterize the four most important characteristics of shellfish habitat – “hard substrate, vertical structure, food, and water quality regulation” – that benefit the species managed through ASMFC.

The report also notes the challenges that remain for effectively managing shellfish in a habitat context. Significant data gaps exist regarding (among other topics) distribution, bivalve health and physiology in response to climate change and harmful algal blooms, community ecology, restoration techniques and shellfish responses to environmental change.

This publication should be of great value to the restoration community as a general resource and platform for developing multi-species management approaches.

Coen, L.D. and R.E.Grizzle. 2007. The importance of habitat created by molluscan shellfish to managed species along the Atlantic coast of the United States. ASMFC Habitat Management Series #8. Washington DC. 107pp. (available through ‘Publications’ and ‘Habitat Documents’)

Status Review published for the Eastern Oyster

A petition to list the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, under the Endangered Species Act was submitted to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service in 2005 (reported in the June 2005 Shellfish Restoration Clamor). Although the petition was ultimately withdrawn by the applicant, the Biological Review Team that was assembled to conduct a preliminary assessment determined that there was merit in proceeding with the formal ‘Status Review’ of the species throughout its range within the U.S.

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Intertidal reefs like those being restored and managed by TNC in the Virginia Coast Reserve, are prominent features in coastal bays throughout the southern half of the Eastern oyster's range. These reefs provide a variety of valuable services including water filtration, shoreline protection and provision of fish habitat. © Diana Garland, TNC Volunteer, 2006

 The Status report concludes that, although not threatened with extinction, the species does face a variety of threats throughout its range, including habitat loss from development and historic over-fishing, water quality degradation/harmful algal blooms, and natural environmental disasters such as hurricanes. These and other threats vary in their intensity from place to place, but none were considered overarching or critical to long-term species survival standpoint. However, the report also notes that restoration is being conducted throughout the species’ range and is perceived to be an important strategy for ensuring optimal fisheries productivity and, in some locations, recovery from steep declines (e.g., mid-Atlantic estuaries and northward).

Citation: Eastern Oyster Biological Review Team. 2007. Status review of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). Report to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office. February 16, 2007. 105pp.

The full Status Review report, as well as the original Petition and Findings are available on NOAA’s website.

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NOAA launches new Restoration Portal

The NOAA Restoration Center has launched a new website containing information about habitats, restoration approaches and relevant background information on an array of species and ecosystems. The site provides a good base of information for restoration practitioners and members of the public who wish to gain a better understanding of coastal habitats. Of particular value are the ‘habitat loss’ statistics summarized by region in the ‘Habitats, Techniques and Resources’ tab – from wetlands, to riparian buffers to shellfish habitat, the statistics on habitat loss highlight the need for both effective conservation and restoration.

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Looking Ahead

Estuarine Research Federation 2007 Conference, November 4-8
Providence, Rhode Island. Early registration ends September 21st! (Several sessions pertain to shellfish conservation, restoration and management).

10th International Conference on Shellfish Restoration, November 12-16
Vlissingen, Netherlands. 

100th Annual meeting of the National Shellfisheries Association, April 6-10, 2008
Providence, Rhode Island. Early registration deadline May 31st.

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Funding Opportunities

Estuaries Restoration Act – proposals due August 20, 2007

NOAA Community-based Restoration Program – proposals due September 27, 2007

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