Can oysters be a key to turning the tide in the health of Great Bay?
The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) has historically played a vital role in the ecology of Great Bay Estuary. As many as 1,000 acres of live oyster reef may have covered the estuary in 1970, but over 90% of oysters were lost due to pollution, harvest, and disease. Without oysters, Great Bay Estuary is lacking the natural filtration capacity to maintain healthy eelgrass beds and fish nurseries as nitrogen and siltation increase. Now with your help, the oysters are making a big comeback.
The Nature Conservancy and The University of New Hampshire, together with other partners, are teaming up to rebuild degraded oyster reef habitat in the Piscataqua Region Estuary of New Hampshire and Maine. Thanks to support from dedicated members like you, the program has successfully restored more than eighteen acres of reef and 3.5M oysters to the system since 2009. Oysters are an ecological linchpin of the estuary, providing essential fish habitat and water quality regulation services. In recent years the team has scaled-up efforts, with as much as five acres and 1M oysters restored annually.
From the volunteer oyster conservationists who raise young spat in cages off their docks to the scientists who reconstruct historic reef sites for the juvenile oysters to call home, our approach literally takes a village. Below are just a few of our many stories!
After 11 years, the Oyster Conservation Program has grown to include over 100 families and businesses. See how this year's efforts stack up.
The Oyster Conservation Volunteer Program is vital to the success of our oyster restoration efforts. See how you can play an active role in restoring the health of Great Bay. Join Us
Take an inside look at oyster reef restoration efforts the Great Bay estuary and Gulf of Maine!
Dive deeper into oyster restoration efforts in the Great Bay Estuary. View
More From the Oyster Archives
The ACFHP has chosen Oyster Reef Restoration in Great Bay as one of their funded sites for 2014 with a $40,000 grant.
Get the Fact Sheet on Restoring Native Oyster Reefs in the Great Bay Estuary. View
Curious about the process? Take a peek at this all-in-one slide detailing the volunteer "life cycle". Download
A diverse group of organizations around New Hampshire's estuaries are working together to create a coordinated and comprehensive collection of spatial datasets. The results will help to maximize the benefits of conservation and restoration efforts, economic and recreational activities in the estuaries for both nature and people.