As we all continue to rebound from the struggles of COVID, the Moriches Bay Project (MBP) is focused on our accomplishments in 2021 and our initiatives in 2022.
Below are a few of the highlights from 2021:
Evidence of Juvenille Oysters
The MBP staff and our partners from Cornell Cooperative Extension found evidence of juvenile oysters, as well as two species of seaweed, and an adorable squirrel fish while monitoring the MBP oyster bar/reef in Brookhaven Town waters. This is evidence that the reef is creating habitat for many species and our efforts are making a difference!!! After 8 years we now have solid evidence that oyster farming creates new habitats and is making a difference in Moriches Bay. We are thrilled about this discovery and plan to continue to monitor this progress in 2022 with the coordination of CCE and Brookhaven.
Seeded Over 650,000 Oysters
Through our 6 oyster farms, 3 FL.UP.SY, 3 oyster beds, and 1 oyster reef, the MBP seeded more than 650,000 oysters in the bay, filtering roughly 30 million gallons of water each day.
Held 3 educational hands-on environmental presentations in the summer of 2021 and continued our weekly mentoring program throughout the summer at all our 6 farms.
Initiated Oyster Garden
Initiated an oyster garden test pilot program where families set up cages behind their homes and maintained and monitored these cages with the MBP weekly support. We are especially proud of this program because it allows our volunteers to really get a hands-on understanding and teaches them how they can make a difference.
Weekly Camp-Like Oyster Farm Maintenance
Set up a weekly “camp-like” oyster farm maintenance program for the youths at The Quoque Field Club.
BAY BOX Partnership
Partnered with the BAY BOX on an eco-friendly alternative to plastic cages. The BAY BOXES are constructed from natural woods that make the product buoyant, lightweight, durable, and well suited to withstand the weather and water action of the bays.
Moriches Bay Project 2022 Initiatives
- After the exciting evidence that our reef is creating habitat, we are coordinating with Brookhaven Town and CCE to experimentally deploy a series of “spat collectors”. A spat collector is a bag of oyster shells that are suspended vertically in the water column around the oyster beds. When the oysters spawn in the spring the larvae will set on the shell in the bag. Once the larva has set on the shells those new spats will be deployed into these beds. If this experiment is successful, it will amplify the productivity of our sanctuaries
- Now that we have seen evidence that the reef at Moriches Island Road is creating habitat, we are meeting with CCE to develop an expansion plan for this oyster reef in Brookhaven Town.
- The goal for 2022 is to increase the number of oysters we put in the bay to 850,000. We plan to add an additional 30,000 – 50,000 oysters to each of our existing FL.UP.SY’s and put another 50,000-100,000 oysters into our beds. We are looking to increase the number of oysters we grow without taking on any additional workforce.
- Expanding our Oyster Garden pilot using the Bay Box and encouraging more families to get involved.
We are repricing this program, to inspire more families to be a part of this project. This pilot is educational, environmental, and a new source of revenue for the Moriches Bay Project.
- Partnering with the creator of the Bay Box to continue this project and work on ways to lower the cost so it can be more cost-effective and encourage other oyster farmers to use it.
- We are excited to restart our hugely successful mentoring and educational programs this summer and in the upcoming school year.
- Implement an MBP Advisory Board of high-profile residents to help in fundraising and awareness.