Broughton Archipelago Clam Terrace Survey : final report

Harper, John R. and Haggarty, James and Morris, Mary C. (1995) Broughton Archipelago Clam Terrace Survey : final report. Sidney, B.C., Canada, Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc., (P95/16).

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During a 1995 aerial video survey of the coastline of Johnstone Strait, an unusual shoreline feature was noted and termed “clam terraces” (inset) because of the terrace-type morphology and the apparent association with high clam productivity on the sandflats. Typical alongshore lengths of the terrace ridges are 20-50m, and across-shore widths are typically 20-40m. An area with an especially high density of clam terraces was noted in the Broughton Archipelago, between Broughton and Gilford Islands of southeastern Queen Charlotte Strait. Clam terraces in this area were inventoried from the aerial video imagery to quantify their distribution. The terraces accounted for over 14 km of shoreline and 365 clam terraces were documented. A three-day field survey by a coastal geomorphologist, archeologist and marine biologist was conducted to document the features and determine their origin. Nine clam terraces were surveyed. The field observations confirmed that: the ridges are comprised of boulder/cobblesized material, ridge crests are typically in the range of 1-1.5m above chart datum, sandflats are comprised almost entirely of shell fragments (barnacles and clams) and sandflats have very high shellfish production. There are an abundance of shell middens in the area (over 175) suggesting that the shellfish associated with the terraces were an important food source of aboriginal peoples. The origin of the ridges is unknown; they appear to be a relict feature in that they are not actively being modified by present-day processes. The ridges may be a relict sea-ice feature, although the mechanics of ridge formation is uncertain. Sand accumulates behind the ridge because the supply rate of the shell fragments exceeds the dispersal rate in these low energy environments. The high density areas of clam terraces correspond to high density areas of shell middens, and it is probable that the clam terraces were subjected to some degree of modification by aboriginal shellfish gatherers over the thousands of years of occupation in the region. (Document contains 39 pages)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Broughton Archipelago Clam Terrace Survey : final report
Personal Creator/Author:
Harper, John
Haggarty, James
Morris, Mary C.
Date: 1995
Publisher: Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc.
Place of Publication: Sidney, B.C., Canada
Uncontrolled Keywords: Canada; British Columbia; North Pacific; Broughton Archipelago; Tapes philippinarum;clam culture; aquaculture techniques; artisanal fisheries; archaeology; Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc.; Shoreline Archeological Services; Kallahin Surveying; British Columbia. Land Use Coordination Office
Subjects: Fisheries
Item ID: 1129
Depositing User: P.L. Olson
Date Deposited: 23 May 2008 20:28
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2015 20:42

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