As you’ve probably heard, President Trump has publicaly stated, “We are going to get rid of it [US Environmental Protection Agency] in almost every form.” Stripping down regulations and agencies that protect our waterways and natural resources favors the interests of polluters instead of the people. We need YOUR help to protect what is rightfully ours! The EPA was created in 1972 to protect swimmable, fishable, and drinkable waterways and the ecosystems that depend on them. There’s no time to move backwards when we’ve come this far! Take action by telling your Congress member that cuts to the EPA budget Read more →
To date, NY/NJ Baykeeper has restored 3 MILLION oysters back to NY/NJ Harbor waters with 200,000 – 500,000 new oysters introduced annually.
New York City used to be THE place to eat oysters! When the Dutch first arrived in Manhattan during the 17th century, the island was covered in oyster beds. But as New York grew as a city, so did the consumption of this popular mollusc. The oyster is now functionally extinct in the NY-NJ Harbor from over-harvesting and pollution. We’re working to restore the oyster population for the multiple benefits this vital species provides.
One adult oyster is able to filter 50 gallons of water per day! Along with cleaning our water, oysters improve habitat, and improve resiliency to flooding and erosion. Learn more about the oyster here.
NY/NJ Baykeeper produces juvenile oysters at the Aquaculture Facility at Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWSE). Here, oyster larvae attach, set, and grow on shell substrate. Once the oysters “set” on shell, and grow for about two months, they are released onto oyster reefs. Three different structures (homes) are being tested for survivorship and reproduction including Reefblk™ triangular rebar structures, Reef Ball™ concrete structures, and heavy cargo pallets. One support structure will be chosen based on our data. Alongside monitoring survivorship and growth, NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Restoration Team monitors water quality and studies biodiversity around the reef.
Why Our Oysters are Grown at Gun Point
In 2010, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) banned shellfish research, restoration, and education projects in “contaminated” waters; waters classified as “Restricted” or “Prohibited” for shellfish harvest. This essentially deems 99% of the NY-NJ Harbor off-limits for shellfish restoration. We were forced to remove our projects in Keyport Harbor and the Navesink River along Red Bank. Today we are working with NJDEP to improve Shellfish Rules that will strengthen our coasts. In 2010, we formed a unique partnership with Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWSE) to execute oyster restoration work. NWSE is under 24/7 security, eliminating poaching risks. Learn more about the ban and next steps here.
NY/NJ Baykeeper manages a 1-acre oyster reef at Soundview Park in the Bronx River. The reef provides substrate for new oysters to attach to, increases habitat in the area, and encourages natural recruitment for a self-sustaining reef. The “Scientific Reef” portion provides space for scientific experiments. The “Community Reef” is a small sub-plot within the large reef, providing a unique opportunity for eco-volunteerism in the NYC metro area. Volunteers are able to get in the water and observe oyster biology and ecology up close, monitoring survivorship, growth, and biodiversity.
Click here to check out the oyster restoration NY-NJ Harbor Estuary mapping tool.
Click here to watch Shellshocked: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves,” featuring Meredith Comi, NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Restoration Program Director.