Winter 2008

It is almost the New Year and usually the clams and oysters are all “put to bed.” But it took a little longer to get the shell down for the oysters to sit on, so the winter includes planting this year. Planting the oysters took from the beginning to mid December. It started three years ago with the Bureau of Shellfisheries getting all the necessary permits and ended with the bureau contracting for the delivery of 18 truck loads of crushed clam shell delivered on barges. The pictures below show the activity from shell delivery to  the volunteers putting the oysters down.

Getting the shell down was a real job. The pictures show a beautiful day…. Let me tell you it was not that pretty. Bringing the barges in Barnegat Inlet was a thing of beauty. BUT, the day they started to put the shell down, mother nature delivered high wind and the water was really “skinny.”

First of all here is the letter we sent to those who made the beginning of the Oyster Reef Happen:

On behalf of the volunteer members of ReClam the Bay and one of the member organizations in the BBSRP, I would like to thank the Bureau of  Shellfisheries, the DEP and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for all the effort that has been invested in a major activity, laying the foundation for the oyster reef at the mouth of the Toms River. This will certainly help ReClam the Bay in our quest to reclaim Barnegat Bay through education, community and personal involvement. Our members devoted over 3,750 hours to growing 1.75 million shellfish at nine locations stretching from Mantoloking to Holgate, and brought education about the bay and its problems and solutions to 5,500 people last year. We are rewarded that our efforts are being complimented by the efforts of your agencies. Thank you…….

We would like to commended Gustavo Calvo and others from the Bureau of Shellfisheries who stuck with the challenges of putting the shell down for hours, and hours, and hours; in snow and wind and dark of night. They just never gave up from 3:00 AM Saturday December 6, 2008 to after midnight on Sunday morning.

This year saw the culmination of 3 plus years of a combined effort with DEP, Bureau of Shellfisheries and the US Army Corps of Engineers to reestablish an oyster reef where one once flourished years ago at the mouth of the Toms River. Video The shell used to provide a a firm surface needed by the oysters to grow had to pass under “Old Barney” on its way to the mouth of the Toms River. The pictures  show the two barges carrying more than 18 truck loads clam shell on their way in the inlet. Details in an Asbury Park Press article

The weather was “blowing stink” and then it cleared so they could finish the job. The technique is to position the barge over the drop site and then use high pressure water jets to blow the shell overboard. That sounds simple but the crew had to deal with high wind and low tide. Not that easy!

Some like Lynette and Jim came in Kayaks.  Wes, Frank and Rich came over on C-Life. Marty and Jeff came on Marty’s boat. The first step was to load the oysters, some in totes and some in bags, on to the boats that would deliver them to the drop site.

Then it is time for the “free Willie” part of the project. Oysters are released into the wild. There are two techniques. One is to toss them in to the bay from the totes. The other is to dump them directly from the bags. Either way “the kids are on their own.” They are at the mercy of tide, time and predators!

See a video of oyster planting 2007.