Environmental group NY/NJ Baykeeper celebrates 10-year partnership with US Navy

Nearly a decade ago, environmental group NY/NJ Baykeeper was forced to remove two oyster reefs located in the waters of Red Bank and Keyport due to new state regulations.

The state has ordered the removal of experimental reefs out of fear that poachers could eat the oysters and sell them as food, making those who eat them sick.

This was considered a major setback in efforts to reintroduce oysters to Raritan Bay. In Raritan Bay, scientists hoped to use oysters to protect the coast from storms and improve water quality.

Ten years later, a NY/NJ baykeeper yesterday threw a bottle of champagne into an oyster ‘castle’ to celebrate an unlikely partnership with the US Navy to keep the oyster reef in business.

Seven million oysters per year are placed in a concrete “castle” near a three-mile-long pier at Leonardo’s Naval Weapons Station Earl. And they spend their early years in tanks built by another unlikely organization. It is a US Department of the Interior agency that operates large saltwater pools used for oil spill cleanup studies.

The celebration provided a rare opportunity for positive New Jersey rarely seen in a corner of New Jersey inside a highly secure military base. And take a look at the unusual partnership that even those involved thought would work.

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