RED BANK, NJ: With over 2,100 acres of natural waterway, several groups have taken stewardship of the Navesink River by monitoring the water quality, pollution issues, marine habitat, and nurturing fish stocks.

It’s a bounty of beauty to behold the wildlife the Navesink supports – Ospreys, Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and Bald Eagles just to name a few. 

And why are they back?  Because the river has been cleaned up which provides fish and other species for all the creatures that inhabit the river.

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What’s missing? Oysters!

On the east coast, there are several types of oysters but only one species called the Atlantic.  This class makes up 85% of the oysters harvested in the U.S.

Generally, these have a smooth, tear drop-shaped shell with ridges.  Our east coast oysters taste brinier with a more savory (not sweet) finish than their west coast counterparts.

Several years ago, the nonprofit NY/NJ Baykeeper installed an oyster reef in the Navesink but was told by the State to remove it.  Their argument was that the reputation of the New Jersey Shellfish Industry could be harmed because oysters could be poached and sold as “safe” causing harm to the public.

Which brings us to the groups rallying to bring back oysters to the Navesink River, not only for consumption but for the benefits that they offer.

Oysters are natural filter feeders.  They feed by pumping water through their gills, trapping particles of food as well as nutrients, suspended sediments and chemical contaminants.  Each one can filter up to 50 gallons per day!  Through this process, oysters help keep the water clean and clear for underwater grasses and other aquatic life.

They also serve as barriers to storms and tides that prevent erosion and protect estuary waters.  Introducing oysters and oyster reefs back to the Navesink would be a vital component in keeping the Navesink River healthy and vibrant.

The Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, the NY/NJ Baykeeper, Clean Ocean Action, the Littoral Society, and many others are asking for your support by completing a survey that will push the restoration efforts forward.

Take the survey!  Click HERE to enter your name and ZIP code to show your support for bringing oysters back to the Navesink River.

For more information on the benefits of oysters to waterways, click HERE.

Doing the little things can make a big difference.

To read previous TAPinto Red Bank articles on oyster restoration efforts, click HERE and HERE.

This article was previously published on TAPinto Red Bank.