Matawan-based environmental organization NY/NJ Baykeeper has received the Monmouth County Planning Board 2018 Merit Award for its Living Shoreline in the Raritan Bay.
The award, presented at the December 17 Monmouth County Planning Board meeting in Freehold, recognized the project as making a significant contribution to the advancement of planning in Monmouth County.
NY/NJ Baykeeper was the pioneer of oyster restoration in New Jersey’s portion of the Raritan Bay, creating the Bayshore area’s very first living shoreline.
In 2016, NY/NJ Baykeeper and the Rutgers University Center for Urban Environmental Sustainability installed a 0.91-acre Living Shoreline adjacent to Ware Creek at Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWSE) using oysters set on vertical oyster reef structures, or castles, which can reduce storm energies and soil erosion.
The juvenile oysters are produced at NWSE’s Aquaculture Facility, where oyster larvae attach, set and grow on shell substrate. The oysters are then placed onto Baykeeper’s oyster reefs, where they are closely monitored for growth and survivorship.
In November 2017, NY/NJ Baykeeper found that its oysters were naturally reproducing on its reef, with the millions of oysters having grown and spawned, resulting in larvae settling back on the reef –all indicators of a healthy habitat.
“We are honored to be recognized for our Living Shoreline work at NWS Earle,” said Meredith Comi, NY/NJ Baykeeper Restoration Director. “It’s been a pleasure working with the Navy these past few years to get the project off the ground and we look forward to expanding the living shoreline over the years.”
“The Planning Board commends the public-private partnership between NY/NJ Baykeeper and Naval Weapons Station Earle, which is providing valuable research about how oyster reefs can fortify the nearby shoreline, improve water quality, and restore aquatic habitat in Raritan Bay,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry, member of the Monmouth County Planning Board.
“NY/NJ Baykeeper is proud to receive the Monmouth County Planning Board’s Planning Merit Award for our Raritan Bay Living Shoreline and Oyster Reef Restoration done in partnership with Earle Naval Base,” said Greg Remaud, NY/NJ Baykeeper CEO. “We greatly appreciate Monmouth County’s longstanding support and encouragement of our work to improve water quality and natural habitat here on Raritan Bay and along the Navesink River.”
“For about two decades, NY/NJ Baykeeper has been working to restore oyster beds in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary,” said NY/NJ Baykeeper Board Chair Judge John D’Amico. “Our oyster reef restoration project at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Sandy Hook Bay helps clean the water, creates more habitat for a variety of aquatic organisms, and provides a natural method of reducing shoreline erosion. Baykeeper is also proud to have helped Monmouth County acquire and preserve 192 acres of open space in Aberdeen Township that comprise Freneau Woods Park. This ecologically sensitive site contains the headwaters of Matawan Creek and a wide variety of natural habitats for birds, fish and wildlife. Baykeeper thanks the Monmouth County Planning Board for recognizing these efforts with its Planning Merit Award.”