The Massachusetts Oyster Project is working on an exciting effort to return Massachusetts marine estuaries to their historic natures through the restoration of once native oysters. Through shell recycling and oyster placements, we can improve water quality while attracting other sea life including crabs, eel grass, shrimp, bluefish and striped bass.
Once upon a time, huge underwater reefs made up of tens of thousands of oysters lined our coast. These reefs were ten or twenty feet high and kept the large waves kicked up by Nor'easters from hitting our coasts.
Each oyster on those reefs filtered 40 gallon of water a day, keeping costal waters clear. The reefs were home to plants, which spread and prevented sand and beaches from being swept out to sea. On top of that, the oysters provided a natural filtration which kept coastal water clear. Reefs sheltered hundreds of other species, dramatically increasing biodiversity.
Over time, those reefs were mined out for food or destroyed for convenience.
The Massachusetts Oyster Project is working to re-establish protected reef populations on suitable areas on the Charles River, Mystic River, Chelsea Creek, Fort Point Channel and Harbor Islands to improve water quality, offset run-off pollution, attract other sea life and help perpetuate the species. Reefs can also help combat the increased storm surge brought about by climate change.
The flow in the Charles River flow is about 300 million gallons per day. Ten small beds of oysters 225 feet square (less than a football field) could cleanse this volume on a daily basis. This wouldn’t happen overnight and it wouldn’t be a perfect solution. But regrowing our natural aquaculture is a huge step in the right direction.
Over 90% of every dollar we raise goes back into the Harbor.
Seed oysters can be purchased for as little as $0.04 each.
We are all volunteer.
We need your support.