Back in 1999, Andy Willner and Ben Lonstreth of NY/NJ Baykeeper kicked off Oyster Restoration in NY/NJ Harbor with a simple idea- unloading a barge load of oyster shells into the NY-NJ Harbor in Lady Liberty’s shadow. We wanted to send the message that the oysters that once thrived in the region, but were lost to overharvesting and poor water quality in the early 1990’s, should be restored.
We viewed oysters as charismatic creatures that could help focus attention on the need to naturally repair the Harbor’s long neglected waterways and communities that have suffered the post industrial legacy of toxins, raw sewage, and other insults.
Since that initial call to action over two decades ago, Baykeeper has led a science-driven Coastal Restoration Program running the gamut from oyster gardens in the Navesink River and Keyport Harbor until 2010, to building a unique partnership with the US Navy to establish living shorelines and an aquaculture facility at Naval Weapons Station Earle.
Meredith Comi, was Baykeeper’s Coastal Program Director and along with Project Manager, Amanda Boddy, is responsible for this great work.
We are now proud to start a new chapter by sharing the news that Meredith and our coastal resilience and restoration projects have transitioned to the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) after years of our close partnership. We are grateful that the program is in great hands and has the capacity to meet the extraordinary growth of this program. Meredith will continue to guide the portfolio of projects started at Baykeeper and support UCI’s coastal community resilience work moving forward.
Baykeeper is thrilled for Meredith to continue her leadership in this space and we will remain close allies in many areas including climate resilience efforts along the Raritan Bayshore and northern urban core of the NY-NJ Harbor region, particularly in communities that are disproportionately impacted by extreme weather and frequent flooding. Onward!