City Island Oyster Reef (CIOR) works actively to restore oyster reefs and to improve the environment around City Island while also engaging the community. Over the past four years our efforts have developed many new ways to further our goal. This year one of our goals was to deploy 18 spat collectors around City Island in order to attract baby oysters.
Spat collectors are disks made of cement, oyster shells, and rubber tubes. The cement and the shells act as surfaces to which oyster spat, or larvae, can attach themselves and grow to maturity. The tube through the middle of the collector enables a rope to suspend it in the water from a dock or a boat mooring. Our spat collectors were lowered a couple of feet below the surface to make sure that no local predators would harm the developing oysters at low tide.
The City Island community was very much involved in the process of creating and deploying the spat collectors. First, the construction of the collectors was completed at the local public school, P.S. 175, which enabled young Islanders to assist and learn more about the effort. Then, for help with deployment, a message was sent out to a volunteer group, and two volunteers came out to help. We placed the spat collectors near the dock where the City Island Yacht Club junior sailing program takes place during the summer, thus promoting greater awareness and community involvement.
by Connor Normoyle, CIOR Intern