An environmental organization and the U.S. Navy teamed up Tuesday to deploy one million juvenile oysters at a “living shoreline” at Naval Weapons Station Earle on the northern New Jersey coast.
NY/NJ Baykeeper representatives say the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary was once home to millions of acres of oyster beds that are now functionally extinct due to development, overharvesting, and pollution.
Its team is working to restore the oyster population in the Raritan Bay as part of its living shoreline plan, which serves to protect against erosion, slow down waves during storms, and provide a habitat for marine life.
The organization said the oyster larvae are grown at the Naval Weapons Station Earle living shoreline and released onto its oyster reefs in the Raritan Bay.
The artificial reef consists of the live oysters and concrete structures, known as oyster castles, which provide the necessary hard surface that oysters grow on.
In November 2017, NY/NJ Baykeeper discovered that an oyster restoration reef was naturally producing baby oysters for the first time.
“This is Baykeeper’s third year installing oyster castles at our living shoreline at NWS Earle,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Restoration Director Meredith Comi. “We are proud to be a part of the coastal resilience planning along the Raritan Bayshore by Monmouth County and the Navy.”