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On the Waterfront: Community Reefs Update

By Susannah Black
August 30, 2016


With three sites now installed – two of them installed just this summer – BOP’s Community Reefs are thriving!

At Bush Terminal Park, BOP staff and Harbor School interns installed the reef and have performed two monitoring events with friends and partners from Sunset Spark, Pace University, and even Brooklyn Bridge Park, the site of another one of the community reefs.  Marit Larson, NYC Parks’ Director of Wetlands Restoration, stopped by at the most recent monitoring to see how the reef was progressing and was enthusiastic about the work we are doing.  BOP’s Nature Conservancy staff ecologist Mike McCann reports that Bush Terminal Parks’ spat have experienced an average of .5 mm/day consistent growth since they were installed.



As for results: the oysters had outgrown their cages!  This is, says Katie Mosher-Smith, a “happy problem to have… it’s great news for growth.  We’ll be adjusting our maintenance and monitoring techniques based on this result.” The reef is already fulfilling its role as a habitat for other species, as well.  As Katie says, at the most recent monitoring, “the fish were astonishingly abundant.  We we were wading through a thick, thick school of fish, just to get to the reefs.  There were large numbers of blue crab, and other organisms too – a lot of colonial tunicates, crazy amounts.”  It’s proven effective as a public engagement tool too: during the monitoring, “people walking by were interested– they wanted to get down and participate!”

At Brooklyn Bridge Park, we’ve installed the reef and done a check-in – everything was in great shape, though we haven’t done a formal monitoring yet.  Our partners at the Park and at the Park Conservancy are incredibly supportive, as is the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, whose new classroom space, right on the waterfront, will look out over the reef.  They came and visited last time we were there, and are excited to develop reef-based science programs for Brooklyn kids and families.  We’re also partnering with local schools to get their students down to the waterfront.

And of course we’re planning our autumn monitors of the Governors Island Reef, our flagship reef, once students come back to school– stay tuned for an update on that reef.

But this is just the beginning.  There are more community reefs coming – keep your eyes on the waterfront, New York City.  Things are changing, and you’re a part of it.

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