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Conservation project hopes to bring back New York’s oysters

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

Source: The Guardian

The woman sat in the muck beside the Bronx River in the northern part of New York City, measured the oyster between a pair of calipers, and called out to her partner. “31 … no, 32 millimeters. Um, dead. No, alive! Wait.” She paused, noticing the two halves of the oyster shell had separated and filled with mud. “Dead,” she said sadly.

Live oysters were what this small group of volunteers, scientists and activists fervently hoped to find in this distant corner of New York City, called Soundview, on that crystal clear morning in May.

The volunteers wore borrowed waders over old sneakers. They ventured out into the dark water, using walking sticks to avoid stumbling in the deep mud that coated the bottom of the river. Reaching down into water, about 20 yards offshore, they pulled out baskets of oysters and carried them carefully back to the riverbank to check for winter survivors.

This was phase two of something known as the Oyster Restoration Research Project, run by the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper program, the Hudson River Foundation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other partners, to restore oysters to an ecosystem they once dominated.

In the first phase, the other test restoration locations – off Governors Island, in the Bay Ridge flats, Jamaica Bay – all failed, the oysters washed away by rough waves or smothered to death in mud. The reefs at Soundview are now the only active oyster restoration effort in New York City waters.

Read the full article at: The Guardian

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