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Oysters and Clams for Mosquito Region

by Ellen Hardy
08 July 2008, at 1:00am

US - The Jensen Beach Mosquito Impoundment on Hutchinson Island may soon be home to a new facility that could enhance the water quality in the Indian River Lagoon and help offset recent staff reductions at Martin County Mosquito Control.

In exchange for the opportunity, the contractor must agree to manage some of the daily operations at the impoundment, such as minor pump maintenance, according to reports in TCPalm.

The contractor will also have to record observations on the mosquito population, wildlife and water quality in the impoundment.

Martin County Mosquito Control administrator Gene Lemire told TC Palm the county's main hope is the oysters and clams will improve water quality in the impoundment basin.

Clams and oysters are known to manage water quality through a process known as "filter feeding."

The aquatic animals consume plankton, algae and other nutrients by sucking in water, trapping food and expelling the water.

If the shellfish can be successfully reared, the county may consider seeding other areas of the lagoon.

Officials believe the growth of clams and oysters in other areas could help with water quality monitoring and restore the lagoon's ecosystem.

The reports says that the nursery facility will use floating docks, and the contractor will be responsible for removing debris at the site as well as obtain the necessary permitting. The contractor will pay for all installation and operating costs of the facility and be able to harvest the shellfish for profit.

Proposals can be submitted to the Martin County Purchasing Division until 16 July.

View the TCPalm story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy