The Extinction Of The Eastern Oyster Essay

2091 Words Dec 18th, 2016 9 Pages
This paper explores the reasons behind the functional extinction of the Eastern Oyster in the New York Harbor, the ecological services that the oyster provided to the Harbor’s ecosystem and the steps to bring back this keystone species. When Europeans first came to the New World, oysters were so abundant around New York City that it was considered the Oyster Capital of the World (Driscoll, 2011) but within 300 years this title would be no more as the oyster became functionally extinct due to overharvesting, dredging and water pollution. Today, scientists aim to bring back at least a billion oysters to these waters through the building of artificial reefs, use of an oyster hatchery on Governor’s Island, and donations of oyster shells by area restaurants (BOP, 2013) and toilets from New York City schools (Schmidt, 2016). To ensure success, implementation of protective measures against poaching (Lipcius, Burke, McCullough, Schreiber, Schulte, Seitz, and Shen, 2015), and use of gray and green infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows into the Harbor (EPA, 2014) need to be part of the overall effort. Moreover, restoration plans must be open to change based on new data obtained from ongoing monitoring of restoration sites in New York and elsewhere (Lipcius et al, 2015).
Keywords: Eastern Oyster, restoration, New York Harbor
The Fall and Restoration of the Oyster in the New York Harbor According to British historical surveys, there were over 220,000 acres or 350 square miles of…

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