OverviewEelgrass | Bivalves | Songbirds | Black Oystercatchers

A photo story

healthy beaches

Happy as a clam

Every year during the lowest spring and summer tides, we visit the same beaches to check on the clams. Healthy beaches = happy clams.


siphon hole

Long-term basement tenants

A clam spends most of its life buried. Only its feeding siphon hole reveals where it lives. Butter clams can live over 20 years.




Using a scientific process, we randomly mark half metre squares on the beach. Next, we dig down 25cm into the marked area, picking out all the clams.



Counting clams

We find both native and introduced species like the varnish clam. The average number of clams we count in one hole is around 18!


weigh and measure each clam

Annual Check-up

We weigh and measure each clam. After that, we return them to the same hole where we found them.



Surprise shovelful

Many other creatures, like worms and shrimp, also depend on the intertidal area. We never know what the next scoop might bring up.


clam population

Our commitment: to protect

By measuring the trends in clam populations over time, we better understand the health of the beaches in the park reserve. This means we make informed decisions about how to protect them. Learn more: Clam Gardens | Gulf Islands National Park Reserve - Bivalve Monitoring Factsheet (PDF, 716 KB)