NYC Pilot Oyster Bed Project

Project Profile

Project: Creation of new oyster beds using both “reefballs” and loose shell

Project Sponsor: State Government

Location: Tidal waters of lower New England

Scope: ER&M was tasked with creating new oyster beds, utilizing 2 separate techniques, at 2 locations within a coastal bay. At the first location, ER&M utilized clean, bagged shell to create a containment structure within which loose native shell was placed to create a raised “base” on which pre-spatted shell (clean oyster shell with attached live young oysters) would be deposited.

The purpose was to re-create a living oyster bar, raised high enough above the surrounding bottom to protect it against the suffocating effects of siltation. Similarly, at the second location, ER&M placed and secured a number of pre-spatted concrete “reefballs”, with the same intent of re-introducing a living oyster reef to the site. Both reefs were located in approximately 3-10′ of water (large tidal fluctuations) and were accessible only by boat. The inaccessible nature of the work, combined with working with the delicate young oyster spat and large tidal fluctuations, required a substantial amount of pre-planning and coordination between project partners in order for this project to be a success. Since installation, there has been a marked increase in biodiversity at both locations.