Baykeeper and Rutgers University will be continuing our shoreline survey project along Raritan Bay this summer! Surveys will begin in Keyport and move west. The data collected will be used to make maps that can help guide potential shellfish restoration activities and asses the health of our ecosystem.
Data we will collect includes:
1. Presence of any existing shellfish species
2. Presence of sea grass species
3. Presence of bulkheads or docks
4. Water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, turbidity, salinity, pH)
This data would be collected in waters that are 2-3 ft deep at mean low tide, and on some occasions from a small boat.
This project cannot be done without the help of volunteers!! We need volunteers to operate hand held GPS devices, hand held water quality probes, and sort through grab samples. The Baykeeper/Rutgers team has been gathering data to map current Raritan Bay conditions. The map will be a specific guide for potential shellfish restoration activities.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hudson-Raritan Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan (CRP) calls for 500 acres of oyster restoration, however, the feasibility of this scale of oyster restoration has not been ground-truthed. Most restoration activities occur in systems where there is an existing oyster population, but in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary, the Eastern oyster is 'ecologically extinct' so reviving its population requires unique and creative approaches that will be guided by this map.
Dr. Beth Ravit said, “This mapping project will allow us to pick restoration test sites that have a great potential for long-term success. The next step would be—if NJ DEP allows us-- to place test cages at some of the high scoring locations to see if the oysters survive the winter. If survivorship is high, that would indicate that our mapping model has validity and could be used as a tool in identifying other viable restoration sites in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary that may fulfill the goals of the U.S. Army Corps’ Comprehensive Restoration Plan.”
If you are interested in learning more about the project, please contact Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org.