Restoring the Oyster Reefs

Eastchester Bay west of City Island has, unfortunately, long been impacted by poor wastewater sanitation, landfill runoff, dredging for shipping channels, erosion, and sedimentation, all of which has caused the loss of the original oyster populations. CIOR’s research efforts will include the mapping by divers of the water’s floor and assessing all possible stressors and threats, such as sedimentation, erosive shoreline, pollution, and the amount of accumulated silt. Efforts to mitigate these stressors will be utilized.

The suitable habitats for building oyster reefs will be identified and determined by a survey of the existing oyster populations around City Island. Shell materials that have been collected and cured will be added to engineered structures near the existing oyster populations in order to promote reef formation. This will eventually increase larvae exchange and connect the various remnant oyster populations. Initially CIOR will begin a Pilot Project to inform the research for the long-term goals of restoring oyster reefs.

It is important to note that CIOR reef restoration does not in any way promote the harvesting or consumption of the oysters we are trying to restore, and its goals are strictly limited to improving the environment and enriching biodiversity in the waters surrounding City Island.