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Brookhaven Town using oysters in water quality test

A view of Forge River in Mastic facing

A view of Forge River in Mastic facing south on Montauk Highway. (June 29, 2011) Credit: Carl Corry

As nature’s filters, oysters can help clean water bodies in the most eco-friendly way possible.

Brookhaven has seeded the Forge River with oysters in an experimental approach to improving the river’s water quality, according to town Councilman Dan Panico, who helped the town’s Department of Environmental Protection deploy some bivalves last week.

“While these oyster floats will not do it alone, they provide needed information and data to help the effort,” Panico said. “This research could provide the link to the potential seeding of millions of oysters in the Forge River as part of the larger effort to have a positive impact on water quality.”

As oysters filter microscopic algae for nourishment, they also eliminate potential for the algae to kill fish and reduce the level of oxygen concentration in water, according to the town.

Because of the high algal concentrations in the Forge River, Brookhaven has launched this pilot program to add oysters to the Forge River to examine their survival and growth.
The town is deploying four rafts with mesh bags of oysters at the town launching ramp and off Osprey Park.

Each raft, with 10,000 quarter-sized oysters each, will be monitored weekly, retrieved in the fall and the oysters set free.

As a control, two additional oyster rafts are located in Mount Sinai Harbor, known to be a good oyster habitat.

Above: A view of Forge River in Mastic facing south on Montauk Highway. (June 29, 2011)


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