Coastal Restoration Program Update By NY/NJ Baykeeper Staff May 29, 2022 Meredith Comi and Amanda Boddy The 2022 field season is here and the Coastal Restoration Team is excited to get back in the water! Our Work at Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle We will be opening our aquaculture facility soon to set oyster castles with juvenile oysters for the Living Shoreline at NWS Earle. In addition to expanding the living shoreline, we will continue monitoring oysters for setting rate, growth and mortality, and survivorship. Living shoreline monitoring is done by the SCUBA team and includes using fish traps to monitor biodiversity, sediment traps to monitor sediment deposition, and visual assessments for structural integrity of the oyster castles. Baykeeper is once again the recipient of the EPA Region 2 Citizen Science Water Monitoring Equipment Loan Program and will be receiving a YSI ProPlus unit and turbidity tube for monitoring water quality in the aquaculture tanks, at the living shoreline, and at the Hockey Stick Oyster Garden sites. We are always on the lookout for natural recruitment as well – a sign the adult oysters at NWS Earle are reproducing! Our Latest National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Project The Coastal Restoration Team is pleased to start work on our latest NFWF funded project. In partnership with Biohabitats, NWS Earle, NJDEP, and Monmouth County Department of Planning, a final design will be developed and permits acquired that will provide NWS Earle with natural infrastructure for 3,200 linear feet of shoreline stabilization, coastal protection, and nearshore and offshore habitat enhancement. Once implemented, this project will boost resiliency along the Raritan Bay coast adjacent to NWS Earle. Baykeeper will continue to collaborate with NWS Earle, Biohabitats, NJDEP, USACE, Monmouth County Division of Planning, Monmouth University, and Rutgers University to advance coastal resilience and oyster restoration projects in northern NJ waters. Our Partnership with Biotech High School We welcome Alessia, our intern from Biotech High School. Alessia will assist the Team in all things Restoration related. We are excited to be part of this unique program that offers high school students the opportunity to gain real world experience working in a career they are interested in pursuing in college. Hockey Stick Oyster Gardening Program This summer we will also be launching our Hockey Stick Oyster Gardening Program. This program diverts broken, non-biodegradable hockey sticks from the landfill by repurposing them to construct oyster habitat units; a special thanks to Central Regional High School Hockey Team, who are responsible for the construction of the units. We will be implementing a total of 11 units throughout the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. The primary objective of this program is to provide a great community outreach and education tool that will increase stewardship and understanding of our Estuary. In addition, the Hockey Stick Habitat Units will provide NY/NJ Baykeeper with valuable data relating to the health of oysters in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary and the potential for future restoration projects. Stay tuned for exciting updates from the field!