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Restoration Station!

By Susannah Black
April 17, 2015

Check it out!  We’ve updated our Oyster Restoration Stations with an innovative new design so they’re even better than before!

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BOP Restoration Program manager Katie Mosher-Smith modeling the new ORS at Great Kills on Staten Island.

Our latest restoration stations are simpler and more compact than last year’s model, which should make them easier to transport and to haul out of the water, and designed so that they can stand up on their own once ashore. As before, they’re made up of a number of components, each of which will provide a different kind of information to the student and citizen restorers who will be using them.

  1.  Top unit: a 6- by 7- by 20-inch oyster cage designed to contain 10 clusters of young oysters (typically 5-20 per cluster). Each cluster is tagged, so that student and citizen monitors will be able to track the growth of its oysters over time.
  2.  Bottom Unit: Another 6- by 7- by 20-inch cage, but with a central divider that separates it into two sub-cages. One side contains cured shell substrate, on which monitors can chart oyster larva recruitment, while the other contains a removable mobile “trap” made of plastic mesh. The mesh allows monitors to catalogue the mobile organisms that typically live in and around oyster reefs, including shrimp, crabs and small fish.
  3.  Top lid: A mesh panel fitted with ceramic “settlement” tiles to which moss-like sessile organisms like sponges, tunicates and bryozoans attach.

You can find the new ORS field manual and a broad array of support materials here.

All of our restoration stations are built at our workshop (an historic Victorian house on Governors Island) by Harbor School students and BOP volunteers. See below for action photos, and sign up here if you’re interested in helping!

The yellow house, our cage building workshop of Governors Island.

The yellow house, our cage building workshop of Governors Island.

Harbor School cagebuilders after a session at "the yellow house."

Harbor School cagebuilders after a session at “the yellow house.”

 

Settlement tiles are zip-tied to the ORS lid.

Settlement tiles are zip-tied to the ORS lid.

Tunicate colonies on settlement tiles.

Tunicate colonies on settlement tiles.

The oyster restoration crew from the Battery Conservancy after replacing a first-generation ORS (pictured) with version 3.0.

The oyster restoration crew from the Battery Conservancy after replacing a first-generation ORS (pictured) with version 3.0.

The new BOP ID tags--each ORS gets one.

The new BOP ID tags–each ORS gets one.

The design is based on the work of others who have been pivotal in the restoration work of the last decade.  The original cage is adapted from the cage used extensively by NY/NJ Baykeeper in their work, and the mobile and sessile traps are based on David Reid and Elisa Bone’s “Shoreline Colonization Device.”  See Reid et al 2015 for more details; their project was funded by the Hudson River Foundation.  

Restoring New York Harbor cannot be the work of a single organization: just as tunicates and blackfish and oysters all contribute to a well-functioning ecosystem under the water, so the students and teachers, scientists and policymakers, grantmakers and public servants who contribute to this work depend on each other, and build on each others’ work. Institutions and good laws provide the structure in which we can move forward with this restoration in particular– and with building a broader culture of restoration in this city.  

Shout out to all those, mentioned and unmentioned, past and present, who have gotten us to this point– and to NSF whose grant allows us to do our part!