Slip on Some Waders and Get in the Water with us!May 10, 2016
For some, it's hard to imagine that the Bronx River is home to many forms of wildlife, especially marine creatures. (And no, we don't mean 6 eyed fish!) A fair point though, since combined sewer outfalls discharge raw sewage and polluted stormwater runoff along the River. The River is bordered by an urban landscape with bridges, industry, and LaGuardia Airport in the distance.
In the early 1800s the Bronx River was a clean, beautiful oasis, as was much of the NY-NJ Harbor, and considered for a drinking water source. New York City waters was once the most popular place to harvest and eat oysters. However, during the Industrial Revolution was constructed, the waters were transformed into an open sewer and shellfish were over-harvested.
Today, oysters are functionally extinct in our region, meaning there is no sustainable, reproducing population. A real shame since oysters provide superpower benefits to our ecosystem. They clean water by filtering it through their gills and their reef structures provide a barrier against shoreline erosion and flooding. NY/NJ Baykeeper and our partners including NYC Parks and the Bronx River Alliance work together to restore the oyster back to Bronx River waters through a community and scientific reef. We invite "EcoVolunteers" to put on waders and walk out waist deep at low tide in the River to retrieve the oyster cages. Once back on shore, volunteers measure the oysters for growth, count the dead and alive shellfish, and document any surrounding crabs, worms, or other organism using the oyster structures as shelter.
Using data gathered by our volunteers ,we're able to better understand the conditions oysters thrive in to better enable them to reproduce and repopulate themselves! So far, we've seen natural recruitment of oysters to our reef and loads of creatures that like to hang out near the oysters.
See for yourself! Join us at our next EcoVolunteer monitoring event! Click here to sign up.
Communications and Outreach Associate