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'First of its Kind' Oyster Reef Installed off Star Island

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 08:22
A new oyster reef was installed off Star Island.
Cornell Cooperative Extension

An oyster reef made up of some 100,000 spat-on-shell oysters was installed on Lake Montauk bottomlands adjacent to Gurney's Star Island Resort and Marina on July 27.

The project, a collaboration between the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Gurney's, and Concerned Citizens of Montauk, will not only increase the oyster population but also improve water quality, as oysters can provide natural filtration of up to 50 gallons of water a day, said Kimberly Barbour, outreach manager for C.C.E.'s marine program.

"This reef is the first of its kind in the region," she said.

The spat-on-shell crustaceans are juvenile oysters grown on recycled oyster shells at the cooperative extension's shellfish hatchery. "We're trying to create the proper conditions for them to spawn," said Ms. Barbour.

Because the reef is visible from a walkway on the Gurney's property, it will also provide an opportunity to educate people about aquaculture. "We can use it as an outreach tool," she said.

C.C.E. has a state permit allowing it to add 100,000 oysters per year to the reef for the next 10 years.

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