Great Bay Estuary Restoration
The Nature Conservancy in Concord, New Hampshire was awarded $10, 000 for a volunteer-based oyster restoration effort in Great Bay Estuary, NH. Due to pollution, disease, sedimentation and historical overharvesting, oyster numbers have decreased by over 90% resulting in only a little over a 100 acres of oyster reef today. Volunteers “adopt” a cage with oyster spat on shell for an eight-week period cleaning and caring for the cage while also collecting data throughout the summer on survival, growth, invasive species and wild oyster spat settlement. After this, the bags of oysters are collected and transported to oyster reef sites for planting. Oysters filter excess nutrients and suspended solids from the water column improving water quality and clarity. In addition, oyster reefs provide important habitat for fish and invertebrates by building large vertical complex reef structures.