NY/NJ Baykeeper Gets $156K Grant to Test Oyster Structures at NWS Earle

NY/NJ Baykeeper has been awarded a contract in the amount of $155,676.60 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in support of the NY/NJ Baykeeper Oyster Restoration Program.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has been awarded a contract in the amount of $155,676.60 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in support of the NY/NJ Baykeeper Oyster Restoration Program.

This funding will allow Baykeeper to evaluate three oyster support structures to determine which will provide the highest over-winter survival and growth rates.  

The research project will be hosted at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Sandy Hook Bay.  

Baykeeper recently received a permit from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to utilize 10.7 acres of Navy property for to expand oyster restoration and research."

Baykeeper and the Rutgers Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability will construct a new experimental oyster reef using three types of oyster support structures, 1) Reefblk, 2) Reef Ball, and 3) a cargo pallet.  

The structure with the highest survival rate will then house oysters in order to study long term survival, reproduction, reef biodiversity, and water quality. 

Assuming that survival is high, in coming years, Baykeeper will continue adding to the restoration area in one-to-two acre increments.  Monitoring will continue for a minimum of five years. 

“We thank the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for recognizing the value of our oyster work and funding this important research,” said Baykeeper Debbie Mans. “Between the Navy graciously hosting our scientists, receiving the permit from NJ DEP, and receiving this infusion of funding, this project has tremendous momentum,” Mans added. 

In 2010, in August 2010, NJ DEP banned research, restoration, and education projects using oysters in waters classified as “Restricted” or “Prohibited” for shellfish harvesting.

This essentially deems the vast majority of the waters from northern New Jersey to Monmouth County off-limits for oyster restoration.  As a result, NY/NJ Baykeeper approached the Navy about placing oyster nets at Naval Weapons Station Earle, which is under 24/7 security, and therefore eliminates any poaching risk and began oyster survival research at Earle in October, 2011.  Baykeeper received over 3,000 signatures on a petition asking NJ DEP to lift the ban.    

Oysters are vital to the ecological integrity of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary and Baykeeper has been working to restore oyster beds in NY and NJ waters since 1999. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP) calls for oyster restoration in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary, primarily in the Raritan Bay.  The oyster nets at Naval Weapons Station Earle furthered Baykeeper and Rutgers’ scientific work to test the viability of that restoration plan.  For more information visit:  www.nynjbaykeeper.org

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john jay February 15, 2013 at 05:23 PM
What? Over $150,000 to study oysters? There are many people along the Jersey shore that are still homless and hurting that could use just a fraction of that. Maybe the Baykeeper will find it in his heart to decline the money this year and contribute it to Sandy relief.
re-tired February 17, 2013 at 03:44 AM
I agree also the navy is one of the prime polluters ,just more waste !
Debbie Mans February 22, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Hi John and re-tired, The funding is neither from taxpayers nor from the Navy. The Navy is the host for the project but no Navy funding is received. We received the competitive funding from a national foundation and the dollars cannot be reallocated at our discretion. Please visit our web site if you have questions about the value of oyster research and we are always available to answer questions.
john jay February 22, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Maybe the baykeeper could APPLY to have the funds reallocated? Would be a nice gesture from the "national foundation."
john jay February 22, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Whoa! I do hope people go to your web-site and read that the "Baykeeper" actually has a political agenda that doesn't involve oysters. In fact from your "Advocacy and Legal Campaign" page it seems the "Baykeeper" is more interested in, among other things, denying citizens the abillity to own shore properties. I also see you "won" this money to continue a program that was rejected by the NJDEP over health concerns. It's also funny that the "Baykeeper" is raising baby Oysters at a restaurant. Again, rather than use this money for a project with dubious if any real value (or the "Baykeepers" "advocacy" or "legal" campaigns), apply to have the funds used for storm relief. It's the right thing to do.


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