In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy much is being said about oysters being the salvation from storm surges.
NY/NJ Baykeeper would like to see how incorporating oyster beds into softened shorelines might prevent devastation from future Sandys by breaking up surges and supporting healthy eco-systems that prevent erosion.
For ten years, NY/NJ Baykeeper worked toward answers about the oyster’s surge-blocking potential and other oyster-related questions. We received annual permits from NJ DEP for our work and were just beginning to yield important information on the feasibility of oyster survival and restoration when, 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.
Since implementing the ban, NJ DEP has done little to promote the use of oyster reefs and other “non-structural” projects to address the consequences of climate change and improve water quality. NJ DEP should be supporting oyster restoration and research in this region and allowing these important projects to move forward. Our petition calling for NJ DEP to rescind the ban received over 3,000 signatures but the Christie Administration has been silent on the issue. We are getting ready to take our petitions to the Governor.
NY/NJ Baykeeper would like to see how incorporating oyster beds as part of restoring shorelines along the Raritan Bayshore can help address storm surge, erosion, and wave action.