Dear Oyster Gardeners (new and veteran),

Today the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued the a press release (read below), announcing a new policy which bans all shellfish restoration and educational activities in less-than-approved coastal waters. This policy essentially shuts down all of NY/NJ Baykeeper's oyster restoration and gardening activities completely.  The water bodies in the Raritan Bay complex--including Sandy Hook Bay, the Navesink & Shrewsbury Rivers as well as the Hudson River, Newark Bay and Lower New York Harbor--are now completely off-limits for our work.

We are deeply saddened by this policy because we feel--especially based on the wording of the press release--that the DEP is demonizing our work in urban restoration/research/education in this estuary in order to rationalize and justify their lack of ability to protect and improve the water quality of our coastal waterways.

At this time we are trying to arrange meetings to discuss the fate of our program, but it is a very real possibility that we will not be able to have oyster gardeners this year. We will still hold the training sessions for new gardeners on 6/26 and 7/7.

If you are so inclined, please write letters to the Commissioner expressing your disappointment in this irresponsible and short-sighted policy. Additionally, please watch your local newspapers for stories about this issue and write letters to the editor on behalf of our restoration work.

Governor Chris Christie
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

Bob Martin, Commissioner
401 E. State St.
7th Floor, East Wing
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

We thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our Oyster Program, and hopefully we can find a way to come out on top.

Sincerely,

Christine M. Lynn
Oyster Program Assistant
NY/NJ Baykeeper
Keyport, NJ