A central coast iconic species, the Pismo Clam population has dwindled over the last 30 years, AND WE DON’T KNOW WHY! Partnering with Cal Poly Marine Sciences, we assisted with research, taking kids to the beach to teach them to DIG! Pismo Clams, and connect teachers and students through hands-on, minds-on science practically in their own backyards.
Our program “Dig! Pismo clams” emerged in 2016 from a cultural, economic, and scientific nexus funded (in part) by Whale Tail. The Pismo clam (Tivela stultorum) once supported a thriving recreational and commercial fishery in California, especially in Pismo Beach, but populations appear to have declined to historically low levels in recent decades throughout much of its range. Interestingly, the recently initiated monitoring program has detected an increase in Pismo clam populations locally, but the cause of this increase is still unknown and densities and sizes are still very low relative to historical levels. There has been a groundswell of interest at the local level in continuing to develop methodologies to restore and manage this once vibrant recreational fishery. To do so, we must continue important research efforts to gain a better understanding of the current status of populations and the factors leading to its decline.
Other keywords: Pismo Beach, Pismo clam, Whale Tale, Endangered species, education, environmental education, field trip, citizen science, water quality, research, science, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo County, salt water, marine species