Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Project PORTS Seeking Volunters for Oyster Restoration

shells with spat
Project PORTS (Promoting Oyster Restoration through Schools) is a community-based restoration project that engages school children in activities associated with the enhancement of oyster habitat at the Gandy's Beach Oyster Restoration Enhancement Area.

Students construct shell bags, which are deployed in the bay to become a settlement surface, and home to millions of young oysters. Participating schools, PORTS Partner Schools, receive a truckload of clam shells, which are placed in stretchy mesh bags by students on site at the school. The bags are then transported to a lower Bay Cape Shore site where they are deployed for two months in the summer to capture the settling oysters known as spat.

According to the Littoral Society, the oysters have set a bit late this year, but they are growing nicely on the shell bags that were deployed in June.

They need volunteers to help with the oyster transplant on August 23rd and 24th in Green Creek, NJ. The estimated start times are: 8:30 am on the 23rd 8:00 am on the 24th. The work on the 23rd will be consolidating the bags into a few piles (min. age: 10). The work on the 24th will be moving, transporting, and emptying the bags onto the oyster boat (min. age: 15).

If you can assist with this project please email

The oyster spat (a baby oyster or larvae) and shell are transplanted to the upper Bay Gandy's Beach location where they grow, thrive, and provide important ecological benefits to the Bay ecosystem.

This work complements the State and Federal fishery-centered restoration efforts and demonstrates a way that local citizens can invest in the Delaware Bay and feel a personal commitment for its stewardship.

These young oysters are transplanted to upper bay conservation and fishery areas in early August.

Mature oyster

The eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica is one of, if not the most important species of the Delaware Estuary.

Dating back thousands of years, the oyster has served as a keystone organism in the estuary, positively influencing water quality and providing food, habitat, and refuge to countless organisms.

Challenged by disease, habitat deterioration, and overfishing, the resource is presently a fraction of what it once was.

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