Volunteers build oyster reef to restore Delaware Bay ecology in New Jersey

Today, conservation organizations leading the efforts to restore New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches today organized the Second Annual “Shell-a-Bration” oyster reef building volunteer event.

Dedicated volunteers braved the elements and worked alongside American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to establish a near-shore whelk shell bar at Moores Beach in Maurice River Township along New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore.

The shell bar was built to prevent sand loss from wind-driven waves. An approximately 200-foot oyster reef was constructed offshore to test whether the reef bars help reduce beach erosion and create calmer water for spawning horseshoe crabs.

The Second Annual Shell-a-Bration truly celebrates the ecology, community, and culture of the Delaware Bayshore,” stated Captain Al Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Program Director, American Littoral Society. “It reinforces the connectivity between the natural and human-built bayshore communities through reef building and celebrates the significance of the Bay’s resources through restoration.

There are many strategies to defend our Delaware Bayshore, but one of the best and most productive are these oyster reefs,” stated Dr. Larry Niles, a biologist with American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. “They not only replicate a lost but important habitat on Delaware Bay — reefs once covered much of the bayshore — but they provide just enough protection to make a difference in how long our beaches persist against the unrelenting forces of nature. In a way, we are fighting nature with nature.

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