A Living Shoreline With Oysters

Shinnecock Nation's Coastal Habitat Restoration Project incorporates a linear oyster reef built from calcified shell, on which oyster spat has attached itself, or 'set'. This oyster reef will provide much needed additional habitat for bivalves (mainly oysters) as well as wave energy attenuation .

Bivalves

An Excerpt From An Article By Nyutash Valdez, CHRP Hatchery Technician

Bivalves such as clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops are amazing filter feeders that help keep harmful algae in check. Oysters, the main focus of the Coastal Habitat Restoration Project (CHRP) start out as larvae, so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. In about a year, they can grow to one to one and one-half inches. One adult oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day. This allows marsh grasses to grow, which in turn holds the shoreline together with their extensive root structure.

A quick peek inside our hatchery, growing bivalves including the oysters being used on the Living Oyster Reef.

The process of revitalizing the 'old hatchery' the CHRP team has built a temporary hoop house that is used to store and grow Shinnecock oysters. The oysters then will be taken and put on shells this process is called "spat on shells". The oysters and shells then will be taken to Cuffee's beach where it will be place in the water to form a oyster reef. By creating a living shoreline with bivalves is cost effective it is potentially valuable tool for protecting coastal community like Shinnecock.

The benefits of these living shoreline is three-fold: they help prevent erosion for wild life and public recreational use; buffer coastal communities against impacts from future storms, storm surges and hurricanes; and provide habitat for underwater species in the face of climate change and sea-level rise.

 

 Coastal Habitat Restoration Project Hatchery Technician Nyustash Valdez holds a handful of some calcified shell used as the base of the living oyster reef.

Coastal Habitat Restoration Project Hatchery Technician Nyustash Valdez holds a handful of some calcified shell used as the base of the living oyster reef.

 Bags of calcified shell sit awaiting transport to the project area where they will be used as the base for a reef. This reef will provide habitat for oysters and other bivalves as well as wave energy dampening.

Bags of calcified shell sit awaiting transport to the project area where they will be used as the base for a reef. This reef will provide habitat for oysters and other bivalves as well as wave energy dampening.

Overview of the project area. Living Oyster reef featured at 55 seconds in.