Author:
Chelsea Walsh
Subject:
Environmental Science, U.S. History, Life Science, Physical Science, Social Science
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Level:
Middle School
Tags:
  • Civics
  • Clams
  • Climate
  • ClimeTime
  • Indigenous People's way of knowing
  • Oyster
  • Puget Sound
  • Salish Sea
  • Science
  • Shellfish
  • Treaty
  • arguments from evidence
  • arguments-from-evidence
  • climate change impacts
  • climate-change-impacts
  • climetime
  • indigenous-people-s-way-of-knowing
  • life science
  • life-science
  • wa-science
  • wa-social-studies
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Education Standards

    What should be the future of shellfish in Puget Sound?

    What should be the future of shellfish in Puget Sound?

    Overview

    Shellfish like oysters and clams are an important part of Washington State native traditions, the economy and coastal ecosystems. Shellfish have faced and continue to face many challenges including overfarming, pollution and ocean acidification. Shellfish also have an important role in addressing these challenges because of their ability to provide habitat for other species and filter pollutants, bacteria and excess nutrients from the water.
    In this unit students learn about the stakeholders, history, economics and cultural importance of shellfish in the Puget Sound/Salish Sea regions. Then they learn about how shellfish interact with their environment and their importance in local ecosystems. Finally they learn about some of the current environmental challenges and some solutions linked to shellfish. They will create a persuasive product from the viewpoint of one of the stakeholder groups. They should argue from evidence why shellfish are important to that group and what should be done with shellfish in the future.
     

    What should be the future of shellfish in Puget Sound? 

    Photo description: In the background water and a long dock. In the foreground a sign listing different shellfish species, harvesting limits and whether or not their harvesting season is open. Species include horse clams, steamer clams, geoducks, mussels, oysters, rock crab, dungeness crab. All seasons are open.

    Photo credit:By Gene Bisbee -Flickr, CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/77751108@N00/5983267495/ 

    Supporting Questions

    1. Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

    2. How do shellfish interact with their environment?

    3. What is happening with shellfish now?

     

     

    What should be the future of shellfish in Puget Sound?

    Standards

    Economics E4: Understands the economic issues and problems that all societies face (p 64)

    GeographyG2: Understands human interaction with the environment (p 66)

    Civics C3.6-8.4 "Explain elements of the agreements contained in one or more treaty agreements between Washington tribes and the United States"

    MS-ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.

    MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

    Staging the Compelling Question

    Have students listen to the story of the gossiping clams and watch a video on ocean acidification 

     

    Supporting Question 1

     

    Supporting Question 2

     

    Supporting Question 3

    Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

     

    How do shellfish interact with their environment?

     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

    Formative
    Performance Task

     

    Formative

    Performance Task

     

    Formative

    Performance Task

    Choose one of the stakeholders and write about the 2007 settlement from their perspective

     

    Students create a summary chart of ecosystem services from shellfish and use this to identify new stakeholders for the future of shellfish.

     

    Write a paragraph or create and label a diagram to show how shellfish interact with different parts of the environment. How do they affect the environment and humans and how do changes in environment or human activity affect them?

    Featured Sources

     

    Featured Sources

     

    Featured Sources

    Source A: Text on Native clam gardens and two tribes websites

    Source B: Kitsap Sun Articles about Rafeedie decision

    Source C: History of oyster farming in Washington

    Source D: Seattle times article on shellfish settlement

     

    Source A: Clams, oysters and other bivalves are filter feeders

    Source B: Ecosystem Services

     

    Source A: Ocean Acidification

    Source B: Eelgrass and Oysters

    Source C: Native Oyster Restoration

    Source D: Cleaning up waterways with shellfish

     

    Summative Performance Task 

    ARGUMENT Students should choose one stakeholder and write an argument from their point of view. They should include information about why shellfish are important to them and what they think should be done with shellfish in Puget Sound in the future.

    EXTENSION Students may choose two stakeholders, discuss where their interests may be different and where they overlap and propose a plan that both groups can support.

    Taking Informed Action

    UNDERSTAND 

    There are many stakeholders for shellfish in Washington State/on the Salish Sea. Shellfish are both affected by climate change and pollution and have the potential to be part of the solution.

    ASSESS 

    Take on the viewpoint of one of the stakeholder groups and create a product to convince others that shellfish are important and what the future of shellfish should be.

    ACT 

    Share these products with the community or stakeholder groups


     

    Overview

    Inquiry Description

    Shellfish like oysters and clams are an important part of Washington State native traditions, economy and ecosystems. Shellfish have faced and continue to face many challenges including overfarming, pollution and ocean acidification. Shellfish also have an important role in addressing these challenges because of their ability to provide habitat for other species and filter pollutants, bacteria and excess nutrients from the water.

    In this unit students learn about the stakeholders, history, economics and cultural importance of shellfish in the Puget Sound/Salish Sea regions. Then they learn about how shellfish interact with their environment and their importance in local ecosystems. Finally they learn about some of the current environmental challenges and some solutions linked to shellfish. They will create a persuasive product from the viewpoint of one of the stakeholder groups. They should argue from evidence why shellfish are important to that group and what should be done with shellfish in the future.

    Structure of the Inquiry 

    In addressing the compelling question “What should be the future of shellfish in Puget Sound?” students work through a series of supporting questions, formative performance tasks, and featured sources in order to construct an argument with evidence while acknowledging competing perspectives.

     

     

     

    Staging the Compelling Question

    Compelling Question

    What should be the future of shellfish in Puget Sound? 

    Feature Sources

    PBS NewsHour Video on Ocean Acidification in Puget Sound

    Staging the compelling question

    The first video tells the story of the gossiping clams. The second video discusses the causes and effects of ocean acidification in Puget Sound, as well as how acidification interacts with other problems like pollution, algae blooms and nutrient runoff. 

    Source:

    The story of “The Gossiping Clams” https://vimeo.com/216035921 

    Clip from PBS on Ocean acidification in the Puget Sound region. “Ocean Acidification A look at the acidification of Puget Sound and the rest of the Pacific Ocean”, Aired: 05/25/21  https://www.pbs.org/video/ocean-acidification-tqzn5a/ 

    Optional:

     

    Background information

    Salish Sea Geography

    Slides with useful images

    WWU: Salish sea institute https://wp.wwu.edu/salishsea/ 

    WWU: Salish Sea map https://wp.wwu.edu/salishseaatlas/

     

    Washington Treaties

    Text of the Treaty of Point Elliot, Governor’s office of Indian Affairs, https://goia.wa.gov/tribal-government/treaty-point-elliott-1855 

    Text of the Treaty of Point No Point, Governor’s office of Indian Affairs, https://goia.wa.gov/tribal-government/treaty-point-no-point-1855 

    Understanding Tribal Treaty Rights in Wester Washington, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission https://nwifc.org/w/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2014/10/understanding-treaty-rights-final.pdf 

    Stakeholders

    Stakeholders are any groups that have an interest in a resource or decision. Not all stakeholders have the same perspectives, needs, or goals. Considering all the potential stakeholders is an important part of resource management.

    “Stakeholders and environmental management practices: An institutional framework” Delmas and Toffel, Business Strategy and the Environment, pg 209-222 (2004) https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/display.files/fileID/13321 

    Shellfish and bivalves

    Slides with useful images

    NOAA: What is a bivalve mollusk? https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/bivalve.html

    Video: What’s inside a clam? From Science Insider: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0msk-ZokMw 

    What good is a clam? Dan Killam https://dantheclamman.blog/2019/09/04/what-good-is-a-clam/ 

     

    Ecosystems

    National Geographic “Ecosystems” https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ecosystem/ 

    Ocean Acidification

    “The Natural Laboratory: Ocean Acidification: Where will all the seashells go?” National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=F93A7323-F786-C32A-4405CC098AA3BED8 

    “Ocean Acidification” Jennifer Bennett (NOAA), Smithsonian, April 2018, https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/ocean-acidification 

     

    “Ocean Acidification” NOAA, updated April 1, 2020 https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/ocean-coasts/ocean-acidification 


     

    Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

    This question asks students to consider the perspectives of tribal members, private property owners, and commercial shellfish farms. They will learn about the history of shellfish harvesting in the Salish Sea and the perspectives of tribes, private landowners and commercial shellfish farms. They should create a product that represents one stakeholder’s perspective of the 2007 shellfish settlement in Washington State. 

    • Source A: Native Clam Gardens in the Salish Sea

      • Students learn about the history of clam gardens in the Salish Sea region and the importance of shellfish to the culture and traditions of native tribes.

      • They also learn about the current role of shellfish in the Suquamish and Jamestown tribes

      • Consider reaching out to your local tribe for more information about how shellfish are important in their culture.

    • Source B: Private Landowners

      • Students read two articles from the Kitsap Sun. They learn about a recent controversy around tribal treaty rights and two different perspectives of private landowners.

    • Source C: History of Oyster Farming in Washington

      • Students learn about the more recent history of oyster farming in Washington state with the arrival of European settlers. They learn about the current value of the shellfish industry to Washington’s economy

    • Source D: Shellfish Settlement

      • Students learn about the 2007 settlement between Washington State, commercial shellfish farmers and local tribes. This was a compromise all stakers were happy with and benefited the general public as well.

    How do shellfish interact with their environment?

    This question asks students to consider the role of shellfish in their ecosystems. They learn about the filter feeding method used by bivalves. They also learn what ecosystem services are and how shellfish provide a wide variety of ecosystem services. They use a graphic organizer to take notes and to brainstorm additional groups that have a stake in shellfish ecosystem services and the future of shellfish.

    • Source A: Clams, oysters and other bivalves are filter feeders

      • Students learn a little about the biology of bivalves. They learn that bivalves are filter feeders and actually clean the water they are filtering their food from.

    • Source B: Ecosystem Services

      • Students are introduced to the idea of ecosystem services. They learn that shellfish contribute to all 4 categories of ecosystem services. Because of these many contributions students should be able to identify more groups of stakeholders that benefit from shellfish.

     

     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

    This question has students dive into current events and research around shellfish, pollution and climate change.

    • Source A: Ocean Acidification

      • Students watch two PBS New reports to learn more about ocean acidification and its local impacts. They learn some of the causes of acidification, how it affects shellfish and how acidification interacts with other environmental issues.

    • Source B: Eelgrass and oysters

      • Students watch a video about how eelgrass and kelp can help raise the pH around shellfish farms. They also learn that the eelgrass and kelp help to capture carbon from the ocean and can be a food source for humans.

    • Source C: Native Oyster Restoration

      • This resource introduces students to the native oyster species, the Olympia Oyster. This species was out competed by the introduction of the Pacific oyster for commercial farms and was in danger of going extinct. They also learn about the recent efforts to reintroduce and repopulate this species.

    • Source D: Cleaning Up the Water with Shellfish

      • Students learn about the different types of pollutants and how they enter our water, including chemicals from our houses, nutrient run off, microplastics and fecal coliform bacteria. They also learn about the positive and negative consequences of shellfish filtering these out from the water.

     

     

    Summative Performance Task

    For the summative task students write a persuasive piece (or create a video or other product) from the point of view of a specific stakeholder in the Puget Sound regions. 

    • Before students begin work, build a comprehensive list of stakeholders together.

      • These could include the general public, environmental groups, water recreation enthusiasts, salmon fisherman, conservation groups…

    • Have students choose a stakeholder whose point of view they will take

    • Have students review their research to see what challenges facing shellfish might be most important to their stakeholder.

    • Have students review their research or do additional research to determine what the best course of action for their stakeholders is.

    • Students could: Write an essay, prepare an infographic, record video or podcast, to share their stakeholders viewpoint on why shellfish are important in the Puget Sound/Salish Sea and what their future should be.

    “Students’ arguments will likely vary but should include:

    Key evidence students should include to support their position (dependent on stakeholder chosen) :

    • Why shellfish are important:

      • The cultural importance of shellfish to local tribes

      • The economic importance of shellfish to fisheries, their employees and Washington State as a whole

      • The ecological importance of shellfish ecosystem services benefit all members of the ecosystem, including humans.

    • What are the challenges?

      • Human emissions of CO2 have lowered the pH of the oceans, ocean acidification, this makes it difficult for young shellfish to form shells and makes them more likely to die.

      • Nutrient runoff can be a food source for shellfish but can also cause toxic algae blooms or can contaminate the shellfish with bacteria or toxins so they are unsafe to eat.

      • Other sources of contamination in the water can also make shellfish less healthy for humans to eat

      • The introduction of non-native species can push out native species and threaten them with extinction.

      • Students may also find information about the ecological impacts of increased shellfish farming.

    • What solutions are supported by the evidence provided (Students may find other evidence based solutions if they do their own research.

      • Introducing native oysters back into the wild can help to boost their populations.

      • Reducing human CO2 emissions or preventing contamination of the water by humans

      • Farming kelp or eelgrass alongside shellfish to raise the pH and remove CO2 from the water

      • Using shellfish to clean the water and composting shellfish that are dangerous for humans to eat

      • Careful management of habitat to maintain populations

      • Creating more clam gardens


     

    Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

    Featured Source A

    Native Clam Gardens in the Salish Sea

    Native Clam Gardens in the Salish Sea

    When Europeans first arrived in Washington State in 1775, the Salish sea was one of the most densely populated parts of Native North America. Historians estimate that 150,000 Indigenous people lived in the Salish Sea region. The tribes of the Salish sea did not have the same kinds of agriculture as the Europeans, they farmed the sea.

     

    Shellfish are an important part of traditional diets. People living on the Salish sea ate little-neck clams, butter clams, oysters, mussels, and geoducks. Barnacles were also delicacies. The local tribes were expert ecologists. They knew when to harvest shellfish to get as many as possible sustainably. They also created elaborate "clam gardens" to produce even more shellfish.

     

    The Lummi people of Orcas island built clam gardens as long as 2,000 years ago. They built rock walls near the low tide line to create a larger area that is perfect for shellfish. Clam gardens could produce four times as many clams as beaches without walls. Many Coastal Salish Nations called the  clam gardens “Wuxwuthin”. Wuxwuthin were important to their culture. The next generation learned the right way to build a clam garden in stories, songs, and dances. Harvesting and eating shellfish is still important to the tribes of the Salish Sea as a way for tribe members to stay connected to their ancestors and their culture.

     

     

    Tribes of the Salish Sea

    Visit https://native-land.ca/ to see the many tribes that live along the Salish Sea. Have students identify tribes from your school’s location.

    Suquamish - link

    “Shellfish”, Suquamish Nation, https://suquamish.nsn.us/home/departments/fisheries/shellfish/ 

    Key information from the site

    • Clam harvesting is a traditional activity spanning 1000’s of years.

    • This is an important way for Tribe Members to stay connected to their culture.

    • The Suquamish tribe works to maintain the health and productivity of clams for future generations.

     

    Jamestown - link

    “Authenticity:, Jamestown Seafood, http://www.jamestownseafood.com/authenticity.php 

    Key information from the site

    • For 1000’s of years the tribe has depended on shellfish and finfish for survival.

    • Both are an important part of the tribe’s diet and culture.

    • The Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe still harvests and values oysters, geoduck clams and other seafood.

     

    References used to create this resource:

    Scott Ward, “Native Clam Gardens of the Salish Sea,” Island Histories, accessed May 23, 2021, https://islandhistories.com/items/show/10.

    Suquamish Tribe. “Shellfish.” Suquamish Nation, 2015, https://suquamish.nsn.us/home/departments/fisheries/shellfish/. Accessed 23 May 2021

     

    Enrichment/Extension resources 

     

     

    Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

    Featured Source B

    Private landowners

     

    Shellfish: Whose harvest is it? Kitsap Sun Apr 15th, 1999

    This article provides the viewpoint of landowners who were unhappy with the Rafeedie decision allowing tribal members to harvest shellfish on private property

     

    SEABECK: While some squabble, tideland owner negotiates Kitsap Sun Feb 16th, 1998

    This article provides the viewpoint of a property owner who did not fight the tribes right to harvest on his property and came to an agreement with the local tribe

     

     

    Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

    Featured Source C

    History of Oyster Farming in Washington

     

    History of Oyster Farming in Washington

    Summary of Oyster Farming in Washington, Part 1 By Cynthia Nims Posted 8/11/2020 HistoryLink.org Essay 21070 https://www.historylink.org/File/21070

     

    Washington's oyster industry has experienced many triumphs and challenges in its century-plus of existence, with a wide range of factors playing a part. Washington is the No. 1 oyster-growing state in the country, and among the most celebrated and valued sources of oysters in the world. Though five species of oysters are grown in Washington waters today, only one is native: the Olympia oyster, known early on simply as the native oyster. 

     

    The first significant oyster commerce in Washington came in response to San Francisco oyster lovers' seemingly insatiable appetite for the bivalves. Among the first businesses was the Olympia Oyster Company, established in 1878, which in four decades became "The largest oyster company in the State of Washington ... having now control over about one-third of the producing beds on Puget Sound". Oystermen saw a great deal of promise in these first couple of decades of the state's oyster farming operations, both in the expansion and development of oyster production, and the growth of the market for their products. 

     

    Have students look at the Washington Shellfish Initiative Fact Sheet that provides information about the economic importance of shellfish in Washington today

    • The total revenue of shellfish in Washington State in 2013 was nearly $150 million

      • The total revenue in Puget Sound was nearly $90 million

    • Washington state is the leading producer of shellfish in the United States

    • In 2013 Washington State produced aboutt 23 million pounds of shellfish

    • Shellfish aquaculture contributed $184 million to Washington’s economy in 2010.

    • Washington’s shellfish industry generated 2,710 jobs in 2010.

     

    Taylor Shellfish this page provides some information about the history of the country's largest shellfish producer.

     

     

    Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

    Featured Source D

    Shellfish Settlement

     

    Relevant text from Treaty of Point No Point and Treaty of Point Elliott

    “The right of taking fish at usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians, in common with all citizens of the United States; and of erecting temporary houses for the purposes of curing; together with the privilege of hunting and gathering roots and berries on open and unclaimed lands. Provided, however, that they shall not take shellfish from any beds staked or cultivated by citizens.”

    — Treaty of Point No Point

    Jan. 26, 1855

     

    See the areas covered by each treaty at https://native-land.ca/ 

     

    Shellfish settlement ends years of rancor By Lynda V. Mapes,  Seattle Times, July 6, 2007

    This article from the Seattle Times discusses the terms of the 2007 settlement between commercial fisheries, Washington State and the tribes.

     

    Key points from the settlement:

    • The tribes will give up their treaty right to harvest  naturally occurring shellfish from commercial growers’ beds (worth about $2 million each year).

    • Commercial growers have 10 years to provide, $500,000 worth of improvement of  shellfish habitat to public tidelands chosen by the state.

    • A $33 million trust will be formed for the 17 treaty tribes to be able to buy or enhance other tidelands for their own use.

     

    Graphic organizer for Question 1: Why are shellfish important for the Salish Sea and Puget Sound?

     

     

    Tribes

    Private landowners

    Commercial farms

    Describe this stakeholder group

       

    How are shellfish important to this group?

       

    2007 Shellfish Settlement: What were the terms of the 2007 settlement?

    1.  

     
    1.  

     
    1.  

    What are the pros of the 2007 settlement for this group?

       

    What are the cons of the 2007 settlement for this group?

       

     

    How do shellfish interact with their environment?

    Featured Source A

    Clams, oysters and other bivalves are filter feeders

    Clams, oysters and other bivalves are filter feeders

    Clams and other bivalves are filter feeders. A filter feeder eats microscopic creatures called plankton and nutrients that are suspended in the water.  This means that they must filter large amounts of water every day to get enough food. For example, a single littleneck-sized clam can filter 4.5 gallons of seawater per day. Other species can filter as much as 55 gallons a day.

    To feed clams create water currents to move nutrient filled water into the animal and filtered water out. They use tiny cilia (hair like structures) to keep the water moving. They have two siphons or tubes. One pulls water in from the environment and the other pushes out filtered water. Inside the clam gills capture the plankton and other particles and move them to the stomach. 

    Go to this website to watch a video of  a scientist from New Zealand talking about how bivalves eat. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/videos/366-mussels-are-filter-feeders 

    Video of clams feeding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXFOMil3uZM&t=1s 

    References used to create this source: 

    Wagner, Eric. “Gifts from the sea: shellfish as an ecosystem service.” Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, 11 12 2014, https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/shellfish . Accessed 30 May 2021.

     

    How do shellfish interact with their environment?

    Featured Source B

    Ecosystem Services

    Ecosystem Services

    An ecosystem service is any positive benefit that wildlife or ecosystems provide to people. The benefits can be direct or indirect—small or large. There are four main types of ecosystem services: 

    • Provisioning Services - These are anything an ecosystem provides that we can use such as food, or resources like clothes, timber or water.

    • Regulating Services - These are jobs that ecosystems or organisms that make our lives possible like cleaning or filtering air and water, pollinating flowers or preventing erosion.

    • Cultural Services - These are not material benefits. These are ways that nature has enriched our lives or cultures. This could be by inspiring art and stories or by playing an important role in cultural traditions.

    • Supporting Services - These are the basic processes that make life possible. These include photosynthesis, creation of soils, the water cycle and helping to move nutrients like nitrogen through the ecosystem.

    Have students use the following resources to complete the Ecosystems services graphic organizer.

    References used to create this source: 

    Wagner, Eric. “Gifts from the sea: shellfish as an ecosystem service.” Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, 11 12 2014, https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/shellfish. Accessed 30 May 2021.

    National Wildlife Federation. “Ecosystem Services.” https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Understanding-Conservation/Ecosystem-Services. Accessed 30 May 2021.

    Ecosystem Services Graphic Organizer

    What are ecosystem services?


     

    Ecosystem service

    In your own words what does this mean?

    How do shellfish provide this ecosystem service?

    Who are stakeholders for this ecosystem service?

    Provisioning

       

    Regulating

       

    Cultural

       

    Supporting

       

     

    What new stakeholders did you identify?



     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

    Featured Source A

    Ocean Acidification

    Ocean Acidification

    Clip from PBS on Ocean acidification in the Puget Sound region. “Ocean Acidification A look at the acidification of Puget Sound and the rest of the Pacific Ocean”, Aired: 05/25/21 https://www.pbs.org/video/ocean-acidification-tqzn5a/ 

    Questions

    1. Where does 45% of the CO2 produced in Washington State come from?

    2. What happens when CO2 is absorbed into the ocean?

    3. What kinds of animals are affected by acidification?

    4. How does ocean acidification interact with other problems like toxins, warmer temperatures and pollution?

    Key

    1. Internal combustion engines like those in ferries and cars

    2. Changes the chemistry of the ocean. The water becomes more acidic

    3. Shell builders like crabs, clams and oysters

    4. It uses up animals' energy so they have less energy to cope with other problems..

     

    Clip from PBS NewsHour “Acidifying Waters Corrode Northwest Shellfish” and accompanying text. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/daily-videos/can-oysters-survive-ocean-acidification/  (Link to transcript: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/acidifying-waters-corrode-northwest-shellfish )

    Questions

    1. How does lower water pH affect baby oysters?

    2. What are hatcheries doing to adapt to ocean acidification?

    3. How do humans, shellfish, the ocean, and plants like eelgrass interact with each other?

    Key

    1. The acid corrodes or dissolves their shells before they can form, killing them.

    2. Measuring the pH and only allowing water in when it is high enough, adding sodium carbonate and eelgrass to balance the pH.

    3. Answers may vary and could be represented as a flowchart or diagram. Should include the effect of humans and eelgrass on pH, the effect of pH on shellfish and the impacts of eelgrass/kelp on pH. They may bring in indirect effects on humans or the ecosystem at large.

     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

    Featured Source B

    Eelgrass and Oysters

    Eelgrass and oysters

    Have students watch the video or read the transcript to learn how eelgrass can benefit oysters.

    “This aquatic grass could help shellfish threatened by ocean acidification”, Jes Burns, PBS NewsHour, Jul 18, 2018 6:30 PM EDT https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/this-aquatic-grass-could-help-shellfish-threatened-by-ocean-acidification 

    Reflection questions:

    1. How can eelgrass and kelp reduce ocean acidification?

    2. How might shellfish farmers use eelgrass or kelp on their farms?

    Key

    1. Eelgrass and kelp pull CO2 out of the water through photosynthesis. They store the carbon inside themselves as they grow. This can raise the pH around the plants

    2. They can grow eelgrass and kelp around their shellfish. They can also harvest and eat the kelp.

     

     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

    Featured Source C

    Native Oyster Restoration

    Native Oyster restoration

    What are Olympia oysters?

    The Olympia oyster is native to western North America. Oysters have been harvested for 1000’s of years along the coast and were a key part of healthy ecosystems. The Olympia oyster beds provide shelter for many species, some of these species are important food for salmon. Oysters also filter the water and help prevent too much nutrients from building up in the water.

    What happened to them?

    Oyster beds were once much more extensive along this coast, where they were harvested for millennia and formed a key part of healthy coastal ecosystems. When people began to farm oysters in Washington they also imported species of oysters from other parts of the world. Olympia oysters are smaller, grow more slowly, and don’t spread out as far as the commercial, non-native Pacific oysters. This led to a decline in the native species until they were at risk of going extinct.

    How can we restore native oysters?

    A team of scientists and stakeholders from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA, Baywater, Inc., University of Washington, Swinomish Tribe, and Northwest Straits Commission have been working together to bring back the Olympia Oyster. Between 2010 and 2020 they created 100 new acres of oyster beds. To rebuild the population they raise millions of baby oysters in a hatchery. They provide oyster shells for the new babies to attach to. Then they take these shells to areas that are good oyster habitats. They are careful to choose places where the oysters will be able to survive and reproduce on their own. 

     

    References used to create this resource

    Olympia Oyster Restoration, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, https://restorationfund.org/programs/olympiaoysters/

    “Restoring Resilient Native Oysters” Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative, https://oysternet.sf.ucdavis.edu/sites/g/files/dgvnsk6466/files/files/page/NOOC_Brochure_Puget_Sound.pdf 

    UC Davis, Native Olympia Oyster Collaborative https://oysternet.sf.ucdavis.edu/ 

     

     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

    Featured Source D

    Cleaning up the water with shellfish

     

    Cleaning up the water with shellfish

     

    What is in our water?

    Nonpoint pollution

    Many different pollutants make it down to the Salish Sea. Dirty water from our roads and ditches, chemicals we flush down the toilet or dump in the sink and excess nutrients from farms move down hill to the Salish sea. This is called “nonpoint pollution”. Nonpoint pollution is pollution that comes from many different places. It is not easy to find a single source and can be difficult to control. Many of the chemicals in the water, like estrogen or medicines are in the water in very small amounts. However, as the shellfish filter the water the amount of the chemical can build up in their bodies to a much higher level. This is called bioaccumulation.

    Algae blooms

    Plants need nitrogen to grow and is added as fertilizer to peoples lawns and farms. Sometimes more is added than the lawn or crop can use. This extra fertilizer is washed away by rains and will gradually make its way to lakes or oceans. When extra nitrogen from fertilizers reaches the water it can cause algae blooms. Algae or cyanobacteria are aquatic plants. When they suddenly get a lot more nitrogen they reproduce and spread quickly. Some of these algae can release toxic chemicals that also make the water unsafe for humans. Right now we know of 85 different species that produce toxic chemicals.

    Bacteria

    Pollution can also come from a single point. One example of this is a leak or spill. Sometimes there is a leak or spill from a sewage treatment plant and dangerous bacteria, called “Fecal Coliform” bacteria are released into the water. E. coli is an example of one of these bacteria. These bacteria make it unsafe to swim in the water or eat plants and animals that live there. 

    Microplastics

    Tiny pieces of plastic called microplastics are also being found in more and more surprising places. One of these places is inside shellfish. One group of scientists looked in many different bivalves including mussels, clams, scallops, and oysters. They found 2-10 microplastic pieces per gram of bivalve. If someone ate a lot of shellfish they could end up eating a lot of microplastics. The plastic itself is not dangerous but they can absorb other dangerous chemicals and then release them in your digestive system. 

    How can shellfish help?

    Shellfish are filter feeders and can be used to remove some of these unwanted substances from the water. Shellfish use extra nitrogen in the water to grow and store that nitrogen in their bodies. They can take carbon out of the water as well and store it in their shells. Some things like nitrogen and carbon can be filtered out by shellfish and still be safe for us to eat. However, when shellfish remove substances like bacteria, toxins and microplastics it can make them dangerous for humans to eat. If shellfish are used to remove these things from the water they cannot be eaten by humans and need to be composted or disposed of in some other way. The state monitors water quality and posts advisors when algae blooms or sewage spills make shellfish unsafe to harvest. You can see which beaches are closed on this map https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/biotoxin/biotoxin.html

    References used to create this resource

    “Fish and Shellfish Advisories and Safe Eating Guidelines”, EPA, Updated June 12, 2020 https://www.epa.gov/choose-fish-and-shellfish-wisely/fish-and-shellfish-advisories-and-safe-eating-guidelines 

    Can Clams and Oysters Help Clean Up Waterways? Erin Koenig, Oceanus, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, January 22, 2018, https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/can-clams-and-oysters-help-clean-up-waterways/

    “Green” Clams: Estimating the Value of Environmental Benefits (Ecosystem Services), Generated by the Hard Clam Aquaculture Industry in Florida, University of Florida, https://shellfish.ifas.ufl.edu/environmental-benefits/ 

    Shellfish Facts, Thurston County, February 2001, https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/planning/planningdocuments/shellfish-facts-only.pdf 

    “Table salt and shellfish can contain plastic”, Ashley Yeager, November 15, 2015, Science News for Students, https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/table-salt-and-shellfish-can-contain-plastic 

     

     


     

    What is happening now with shellfish?

     

    Summarize what you have learned about some of the different challenges facing shellfish in Puget Sound.

    Problem

    What is this problem? What is the cause?

    How does it affect shellfish?

    What can we do?

    Ocean Acidification

       

    Native Olympia Oyster

       

    Dirty waters

       

     

     

    Preparing for the performance task

    Stakeholders

    Stakeholder

    Why are they interested in the future of shellfish?

    Local tribes

     

    Local fisheries

     

    Private landowners

     
      
      
      
      

    What stakeholder’s perspective will you take and why?

     

    Challenges and solutions: Planning

     

    My Stakeholder is ____________________________________________________________

     

    What are the most significant challenges your stakeholder is concerned about regarding the environment or shellfish?  Use evidence to support your answer.







     

    What are some solutions we already have or that you think might work to help solve this challenge?





     

    What is your call to action? What does your stakeholder want others to do?