In this Aug. 23, 2013, file photo, Maquoit Bay is seen near Freeport. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A recent dieoff of clams has prompted Brunswick officials to impose a moratorium on development for a coastal portion of town.

Starting in July, Brunswick town officials began hearing about die offs of softshell clams in local mudflats, which they said are linked to warmer waters and increased nutrient runoff. This prompted the Town Council to vote Monday to impose an emergency moratorium on development in the Maquoit Bay watershed.

Town Councilor Steve Walker said the town has been working for decades to limit nutrient pollution, but climate change is creating new challenges.

“We’re seeing a lot more runoff, certainly the warmer temperatures in the nearshore coastal waters, we’re seeing more of these algal blooms regularly,” Walker said. “The shellfish industry is basically being hit on every side.”

Walker said the town will hold a public hearing Nov. 7, and could extend the 50-day moratorium.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.