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Planting “Oyster Gardens” in Oyster Bay, Manhasset Bay and Cold Spring Harbor

By Thomas Nothel


A series of grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be used by local universities to replenish and improve the oyster reefs on the North Shore of Long Island.


The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County received a grant of $ 250,000 to build a volunteer driven oyster restoration on Long Island Sound.  They will also receive matching funds of $115,000.


The Town of Oyster Bay has been a leader in breeding baby oysters for "seeding" in the oyster beds in Oyster Bay, Cold Spring Harbor and Hempstead Harbor.  TOB Supervisor Joe Saladino has personally seeded hundreds of thousands of "spat" - the name for baby oysters.  


The grant's goal is to develop a volunteer training program to cultivate oyster gardens for reef restoration; source and procure spat-on-shell oysters for gardening; conduct a pilot project in Manhasset Bay; and teach 500 residents at 15 events about shellfish restoration in Manhasset Bay, in the Town of North Hempstead, New York.


The project will provide a framework to contribute to restoration of the oyster reefs as an Important Coastal Habitat of Long Island Sound.  Each mature oyster filters between 25 to 50 gallons of seawater clean each day.


A grant in the amount of $477,200 was awarded to Stony Brook University  It will include collaboration from Adelphi University and the nonprofit Friends of the Bay.  The grant will also include an additional $308,500.00 in matching funds.


The funds will “develop a plan including hydrodynamic modeling of larval transport; refine habitat suitability maps and create maps of oyster recruitment; and work with local partners to foster rebuilding of oyster populations in Oyster Bay / Cold Spring Harbor, New York.”


"The project will synthesize this information to support enhanced oyster growth and establish a pathway to create shellfish reefs.”


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Futures Fund supports projects to fully restore the health and living resources of Long Island Sound. It operates within a partnership of federal and state agencies, foundations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, user groups, and individuals dedicated to restoring and protecting the Sound.


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