MATAWAN, NJ — NY/NJ Baykeeper has been recognized by the Monmouth County Planning Board for constructing the first “living shoreline” of oysters in New Jersey’s portion of the Raritan Bay.

The Matawan-based environmental organization was recently presented with the board’s 2018 Merit Award for “making a significant contribution to the advancement of planning in Monmouth County.”

In 2016, the NY/NJ Baykeeper teamed with Rutgers University Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability to install a nearly one-acre living shoreline adjacent to Ware Creek at Naval Weapons Station Earle, where juvenile oysters are produced at its Aquaculture Facility.

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These oysters were then set on vertical oyster reef structures, or castles, protected from storm energies and soil erosion. A year later, the oysters were found to be naturally reproducing on the reef, with millions of oysters having grown and spawned, with larvae settling back on the reef — all indicators of a healthy habitat.

“For about two decades, NY/NJ Baykeeper has been working to restore oyster beds in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Board Chair Judge John D’Amico. “Our oyster reef restoration project at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Sandy Hook Bay helps clean the water, creates more habitat for a variety of aquatic organisms, and provides a natural method of reducing shoreline erosion."

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