New Yorkers are finding more and more ways to enjoy the hundreds of miles of waterfront weaving through this dense city. They kayak, ride ferries, and enjoy the pleasure of waterside parks. But how many of us know what happens out there, underneath the water’s surface?
The Hudson River Foundation and NY/NJ Baykeeper are leading a fascinating new underwater experiment with potentially far-reaching consequences. They are studying ways to make oysters to flourish in the Harbor again. New York harbor was once home to vastly abundant expanses of oysters until water pollution and over-harvesting devastated the population by the early 1900′s. Today, water and sediment quality has greatly improved, opening the possibility of restoring oysters to the estuary. New oyster reefs would improve underwater habitat for all kinds of species, increase fish populations, and serve as natural water cleansers.
Governors Island will play a key role in supporting the work of the Oyster Restoration Research Project (ORRP). Visitors to the Island can see the area on Lima Pier where the research team is preparing and assembling experimental reefs. Students from the New York Harbor School are working with scientists to grow and set over 300,000 baby oysters in large blue tanks for the 7 experimental sites throughout the harbor. They will also use Governors Island as a staging area for launching scuba dives to gather data on oyster adaptation and growth.
Come take a look at the beginnings of a project that could ultimately cover 5000 underwater acres and significantly clean our harbor through natural filtration.