PHOTO: NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Restoration team loaded oyster castles onto the Baykeeper skiff and were transported to their Living Shoreline at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Raritan Bay.
MATAWAN, NJ – As part of its mission to restore the oyster population in Raritan Bay, NY/NJ Baykeeper conducted an oyster castle (concrete oyster “homes”) deployment and installation on Tuesday, July 16th.
Approximately 1 million juvenile oysters were transported from Leonardo State Marina aboard the Baykeeper patrol boat and taken to the Living Shoreline at Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWSE), where the fledgling oysters were introduced by NY/NJ Baykeeper’s team of scientists.
NY/NJ Baykeeper cultivates juvenile oysters at the aquaculture facility at NWSE, where the oyster larvae are grown and then released onto Baykeeper’s Living Shoreline in Raritan Bay and monitored for growth and survivorship. Alongside monitoring survivorship and growth, NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Restoration Team also monitors water quality and studies biodiversity around the reef.
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The deployment and installation included NY/NJ Baykeeper Restoration Director Meredith Comi, NY/NJ Baykeeper Captain Pete Cangeloso, Raritan Riverkeeper Bill Schultz and the Baykeeper Restoration Team.
PHOTO: (L to R) Restoration Team Member Amanda Boddy and Restoration Director Meredith Comi standing next to oyster castles ready to be deployed to the Living Shoreline at Naval Weapons Station Earle, Raritan Bay.
In 2011, NY/NJ Baykeeper formed a partnership with NWSE to execute oyster restoration work.
In 2016, Baykeeper and the Rutgers University Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability (CUES) installed a 0.91-acre Living Shoreline adjacent to Ware Creek at NWSE using oysters set on vertical oyster reef structures, or castles, which can reduce storm energies and soil erosion.
“This is Baykeeper’s third year installing oyster castles at our living shoreline at NWS Earle,” said Comi. “We are proud to be a part of the coastal resilience planning along the Raritan Bayshore by Monmouth County and the Navy.”
“Baykeeper is known for taking on some of the toughest environmental challenges in NY-NJ Harbor – in this case creating a living shoreline in Raritan Bay – so we are truly thankful to have the extraordinary partnership of the U.S. Navy and the NWS Earle team,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper CEO Greg Remaud. “The oyster restoration and living shoreline work here at NWS Earle on Raritan Bay will have a huge influence on future ecological and resiliency projects throughout the NY-NJ Harbor Region.”
PHOTO: The NY/NJ Baykeeper Restoration Team loaded the Baykeeper boat with one million oysters to deploy to their Living Shoreline in Raritan Bay.
“The oyster restoration work done by NY/NJ Baykeeper is part of an ongoing effort to improve water quality in our watershed, create marine biodiversity and provide a natural method of reducing shoreline erosion,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Board Chair Judge D’Amico. “Our Living Shoreline Project at Naval Weapons Station Earle offers valuable research as our restoration efforts continue to expand.”
“The oyster restoration program is the cornerstone of Baykeeper’s commitment to hands-on projects to directly affect the estuary we serve,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Board Vice Chair Cathe Morrow. “One of the things I love about this organization is that it puts this kind of direct action behind its words and work in the broader environmental arena.”
The oyster is now functionally extinct in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary due to rampant development, over-harvesting and pollution. NY/NJ Baykeeper was the pioneer of oyster restoration in New Jersey’s portion of the Raritan Bay and created the very first Living Shoreline there.
NY/NJ Baykeeper is working to restore the oyster population for the many benefits this vital species provides, including protecting the coastline against erosion, serving as speed bumps for waves during storms, acting as natural water filters and adding habitat for marine life.
NY/NJ Baykeeper has restored more than 3.5 million oysters back to NY-NJ Harbor Estuary waters.
Photo Captions: (Photo Credit: NY/NJ Baykeeper)
OysterTeam1: The NY/NJ Baykeeper Restoration Team loaded the Baykeeper boat with one million oysters to deploy to their Living Shoreline in Raritan Bay.
OysterTeamMembers: (L to R) Restoration Team Member Amanda Boddy and Restoration Director Meredith Comi standing next to oyster castles ready to be deployed to the Living Shoreline at Naval Weapons Station Earle, Raritan Bay.
About NY/NJ Baykeeper
The mission of NY/NJ Baykeeper is to protect, preserve and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. NY/NJ Baykeeper fights to protect the health of local waterways through advocacy campaigns, legal actions and boat programs.
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Matawan, NJ 07747