photo: Keith Holmes
Technical tools such as drones, survey-grade GPS units, and computer mapping programs greatly expand our capacity to observe and measure clam gardens. With drones, we’re able to easily capture imagery and elevation profiles for kilometers of shoreline in the Northeast Pacific. The Hakai Institute works alongside the Clam Garden Network by providing technical support in the field and analyzing the ensuing aerial maps using GIS software. In 2016, Hakai Institute and Clam Garden Network researchers tested new mapping techniques on the clam gardens of Quadra Island. By stitching together hundreds of aerial photos taken from drones, in addition to extensive fieldwork, we recorded over fifteen kilometers of constructed rock walls still visible at low tide—an astounding thirty-six percent of the shoreline in that area.