Northeast
The Town of Oyster Bay hopes to revitalize the shellfish population with a gardening program. (Freedom365day/ Shutterstock.com)

Long Island Shellfish Population To Be Revitalized Through Gardening Program

The program is meant to rehabilitate the shellfish population, which benefits Long Island as a whole.

OYSTER BAY, NY — The Town of Oyster Bay is looking to do something about the diminishing shellfish population on Long Island.

The Town designated three parcels of underground land as conservation management areas for the preservation, seeding, rehabilitation of shellfish including the use of community oyster gardens, it announced on Thursday. The three locations will be situated throughout Oyster Bay Harbor, coming to about 50 acres total, and will eventually lead to the creation of a self-sustaining oyster reef in the watershed.

The partnership is between Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, the Oyster Bay-Cold Spring Harbor Protection Committee, Friends of the Bay, and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

However, multiple sources said this stands to benefit all of Long Island.

"Oyster Bay Harbor has long been considered one of the crown jewels of Oyster Bay," Saladino stated via press release. "The Community Shellfish Gardening Program will undoubtedly help bolster the resiliency of our coastal communities, as well as greatly improve the water quality. Oysters and clams are filter feeders and are capable of filtering up to 50 gallons of water a day, which will help clean and improve water quality in the area."

The Town will establish three Conservation Management Areas in Town waters: one along West Shore Road in Bayville, one at Laurel Hollow Beach, and one in Oyster Bay Cove.

The locations that have been designated as Conservation Management Areas were selected after careful consideration and study that included an examination of the bottom types, water currents and the commercial impacts.

The partnership will use a portion of the Laurel Hollow conservation area as needed to facilitate and encourage Community Shellfish Gardening in an area conducive to the sustainability and propagation of oysters. Under the program, volunteers are provided with the training, equipment, and ongoing support necessary to help aid the successful growth of juvenile oysters.

The program expects to raise 85,000 oysters in 2019 alone. That will immediately benefit water quality of the harbor, with results exponentially increasing as the program establishes itself.

See Oyster Bay, NY Patch article . . .