Bring­ing the Oys­ter Back to New York Harbor

[cap­tion id=“attachment_4056” align=“aligncenter” width=“300” caption=“Oyster shells like these were used to cre­ate an arti­fi­cial reef off of Gov­er­nors Island”][/​caption] Today’s Brook­lyn Dai­ly Eagle updat­ed read­ers on efforts to bring the oys­ter back to New York City. Did you know that there was once 350,000 square miles of oys­ter reefs in the water­ways of New York City? In fact, these tasty mol­lusks were farmed in the East Riv­er as recent­ly as the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry. Over­fish­ing and envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion even­tu­al­ly led to the decline of oys­ters in New York Har­bor and now there are none left. New York/​New Jer­sey Bay­keep­er is work­ing to change that by bring the oys­ter back to New York Har­bor. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Army Corps of Engi­neers, they are cre­at­ing six arti­fi­cial oys­ter reefs to be placed in waters around New York Har­bor and up the Hud­son Riv­er. One of these reefs was placed off of Gov­er­nors Island in Octo­ber. The reefs, which are approx­i­mate­ly 15 feet by 30 feet, were designed to mim­ic nat­ur­al reefs as much as pos­si­ble. Dur­ing the next two years sci­en­tists will use the reefs as research plat­forms to char­ac­ter­ize oys­ter reef devel­op­ment sur­vival and growth of the oys­ters them­selves as well as ecosys­tem ser­vices pro­vid­ed by the reefs. The arti­fi­cial reef isn’t the only oys­ter restora­tion project hap­pen­ing on Gov­er­nors Island. The Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School is grow­ing oys­ters that will be placed in exper­i­men­tal sites, includ­ing this one, around the Harbor.