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Coastal Conservation Association Florida, Duke Energy and Others Continue Indian River Lagoon Billion Clam Initiative

Coastal Conservation Association Florida, Duke Energy and Others Continue Indian River Lagoon Billion Clam Initiative

Published 06-25-24

Submitted by Duke Energy

A drone flying over water

(Coastal Conservation Association Florida issued the following news release on June 5, 2024.)

  • The team deployed 2 million clams in the IRL using state-of-the-art drone for precise distribution

EDGEWATER, Fla., June 25, 2024 /CSRwire/ - Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, joined Duke Energy, Capt. Blair Wiggins of Indian River Lagoon Clam Restoration Project, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and University of Florida (UF) Whitney Lab at the Riverside Conservancy Center to deploy 2 million clams using patented drone and continue their efforts for the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Billion Clam Initiative.

The Billion Clam Initiative focuses on revitalizing and preserving the delicate ecosystem in the IRL by using state-of-the-art technology to systematically distribute clams on a large-scale basis.

The advantage of spreading clams with a drone will help overcome predation pressures and enable larger numbers of clams to be restored to the IRL. Drone distribution will also help plant clams in specific locations and densities, vastly accelerating the maturation process when compared to manual spreading.

“The Billion Clam Initiative is a broad-scale, science-backed collaborative effort that is using innovative technologies to drop millions of clams into the IRL.” CCA Florida Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration Frank Gidus said. “We are proud to work with our awesome partners, like the Duke Energy Mariculture Center, as our efforts are improving the water quality in the Lagoon for today and generations to come.”

Since 2017, the partners have planted 40 million clams in the IRL. To help kickstart the Billion Clam Initiative, CCA Florida and the Duke Energy donated $100,000 in October 2023.

"Duke Energy's Crystal River Mariculture Center has grown into one of Florida’s most successful fish hatcheries and conservation allies," said Sharon Arroyo, Duke Energy Florida vice president of government and community relations. "To date, Duke Energy and its Mariculture Center, with help from CCA Florida, have released nearly 5 million fish and crustaceans along Florida’s coasts and has donated approximately $200,000 worth of submerged aquatic vegetation for habitat restoration projects in lakes, springs and shorelines across the state. Thanks to an outstanding collaboration with CCA Florida and others, we’ve been able to expand this work and revitalize and preserve even more of Florida's most precious ecosystems." 

Clams are filter feeders, removing excess nutrients from inshore coastal waters, as a result, creating clearer water. Improved water clarity allows more sunlight to penetrate the ecosystem and supports the growth of essential seagrasses, a vital need for the IRL. The restorative work from the clam planting will form the foundation for rebuilding shellfish populations, benefitting the needs for today and tomorrow.

About CCA Florida

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985. A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources. Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments. Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.

About Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 12,300 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 2 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. The company’s electric utilities serve 8.4 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 54,800 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas utilities serve 1.7 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky.

Duke Energy is executing an ambitious clean energy transition, keeping reliability, affordability and accessibility at the forefront as the company works toward net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050.

The company is investing in major electric grid upgrades and cleaner generation, including expanded energy storage, renewables, natural gas and nuclear.

More information is available at duke-energy.com and the Duke Energy News Center. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, and visit illumination for stories about the people and innovations powering our energy transition.

Duke Energy Media contact: Audrey Stasko 
Media line: 800.559.3853

CCA Media Contact: Mary Hillyer Peelen Walther 
Phone: 407.617.0604 
Email: mhpwalther@ccaflorida.org

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Duke Energy

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,600 people.

Duke Energy is executing an ambitious clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2023 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

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