What is Oyster Restoration?
Oysters are a favorite seafood for some, but in the marine ecosystem they serve an even more important role. When oysters feed, they filter excess nutrients and particles from the water column, essentially “cleaning” the water of a bay or estuary. A combination of threats, including pollution, overharvesting, and disease, has caused a severe decline in oyster populations in New Hampshire’s Great Bay Estuary since the 1970s. To increase the “filtering” of the Great Bay system, federal and state efforts have focused on restoring oyster populations.
Coastal Research Volunteers participate in many steps of this restoration process: we prepare shells for the construction of a new two-acre reef, we monitor juvenile oysters to help them reach a size where they can more easily survive, and we work with The Nature Conservancy’s Oyster Conservationist Program to enable shoreline homeowners to raise young oysters (spats) to be used for restoration.
What do Oyster Restoration volunteers do?
Join our oyster restoration effort!
The 2018 oyster restoration season finished in October when volunteers readied this year's oyster cohort for placement in Great Bay. Visit The Nature Conservancy website and sign up for the CRV monthly newsletter to find out about oyster restoration volunteer opportunities in 2019.
Links, resources, and partner organizations
Read all about The Nature Conservancy’s oyster restoration work, check out this timeline of oyster restoration volunteer needs, read this article in the Portsmouth Herald about all the progress that’s been made by the ongoing oyster restoration efforts, and enjoy this video about The Nature Conservancy's Oyster Conservationist volunteers.
An effort this big can’t be taken on alone, so make sure you also check out the websites of all of our partners in oyster restoration: NH Fish and Game, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, the NH Moose Plate Program, and the Davis Foundation.