Restoring the Reefs

Eastchester Bay west of City Island has long been impacted by poor wastewater sanitation, landfill runoff, dredging for shipping channels, erosion, and sedimentation, all of which have  prevented the natural restoration of oyster populations. Thanks to the support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation – Long Island Sound Futures Fund, CIOR is embarking on a major research effort to select two sites for constructing oyster reefs from five potential locations that were identified by an extensive survey of existing oyster populations around City Island. CIOR volunteers will monitor five Oyster Research Stations (ORS), provided by the Billion Oyster Project, at the five sites through October 2022, and the data on oyster growth and mortality from the monitoring sessions will be used to inform the selection of the two sites. 

In addition, water quality is being monitored by CIOR volunteers at four sites, and divers are mapping the the bottom in order to assess possible stressors and threats, such as sedimentation, erosive shoreline, pollution, and the amount of accumulated silt. Now that the two sites have been selected, specially engineered structures will be put in place, and cured shell material will be added in order to promote reef formation. This will eventually increase larvae exchange and connect the various remnant oyster populations.

CIOR does not in any way promote the harvesting or consumption of the oysters we are working to restore, and our goals are strictly limited to improving the environment and enriching biodiversity in the waters surrounding City Island.