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Layer: Hard Clam Habitat Suitability (ID: 2)

Name: Hard Clam Habitat Suitability

Display Field: HardClamSu

Type: Feature Layer

Geometry Type: esriGeometryPolygon

Description: Northern Quahog or Hard Clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) Habitat Suitability — A Subaqueous Soil Interpretation The Northern quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), commonly called the hard clam, is a species of great ecological, economic, and cultural importance. Hard clams are found in intertidal and subtidal areas from Nova Scotia, Canada to Florida. A similar species, the Southern quahog (Mercenaria campechiensis), lives in coastal waters from North Carolina south to Florida and Texas. Throughout their ranges, these hard clam species support extensive commercial aquaculture farming and recreational harvest activities. Hard clams have thick shells, a violet interior border, and short siphons. The violet-colored part of the shell was fashioned into wampum by Native Americans for use as money or jewelry, hence the Latin name Mercenaria. Hard clams are the most commonly cultured of the bivalve species. Clams are an infaunal species (living in the sediment or soil). It uses a strong muscular foot to burrow into sediment (soil) and then extends siphons to the sediment-water interface allowing it to filter feed phytoplankton from the water. Purpose: Hard clams serve as biological indicators of changing environmental conditions because adult clams are sedentary. Hard clams do not migrate, so any disturbance may cause long-term population effects. While conservation and protection of existing hard clam habitat is the best strategy for addressing this problem, restoring areas that supported hard clams in the past is a valuable management measure. This soil interpretation is intended to help identify sites with appropriate soil (substrate) types for targeted hard clam habitat restoration. Soil Rating Classes: High Suitability: Soils in this rating class have a high potential for establishing successful hard clam habitat because they have the best soil properties or characteristics. Moderate Suitability: Soils in this rating class have a moderate potential for successful hard clam habitat establishment due to one limiting soil property or characteristic such as soil texture or electrical conductivity. Low Suitability: Soils in this rating class have a low potential for successful hard clam habitat establishment due to multiple limiting soil properties or characteristics. Not Suitable: Soils in this rating class are not suitable for oyster restoration because they are freshwater subaqueous soils that lack the appropriate salinity levels necessary for hard clams. Not Rated: These soils or miscellaneous areas are not subaqueous soils; therefore, they are not rated as this soil interpretation should only take into consideration subaqueous and submerged soils.

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Copyright Text: USDA NRCS

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