Oyster Castles In Raritan Bay Intended To Protect Coastline From Intense, Frequent Storms

LEONARDO, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — Since Superstorm Sandy a lot of attention has been given to protecting our shorelines.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, in New Jersey a new program has been using oysters to help strengthen the shore.

An expanse of the Raritan Bay off of Weapons Naval Base Earle in Leonardo, is secured water — now, it’s even more secure.

“This is the first living shoreline we have ever put in and first living shore line in our urban waters here in New Jersey,” Baykeeper, Meredith Comi said.

A living shoreline is made up of concrete blocks with oysters attached to them. The structures are called castles. Each castle was placed along the bayshore to create a border.

“Sort of break water with all of these storms that are more intense and frequent,” she explained.

The weapons station first started to notice erosion near the Ware Creek and they knew they had to come up with a plan.

CBS2’s Baker hiked over to see where the marshes had been minimized by storms and erosion. For a green option the Navy paired with the NY/NJ Baykeepers.

“We are a sea service, so protecting our waterways is key to us. This is where we operate, where our sailors live,” Bill Addison, Public Affairs, Naval Station Earle, explained.

Underwater, reef-like clumps will break up waves and the energy that comes with storms.

The base was hit hard by Sandy.

“It really hit home, required us to look at change, and adapt to sea level rise, and stronger storms we are seeing as of late, and look at ways we can protect the environment better,” environmental division expert, Eric Helms, said.

“We live in an area where a lot of the naturally occurring resilient opportunities; dunes, marshes, have been destroyed so there’s an increase in flooding,” Comi explained.

The new idea brings a renewed partnership with nature. The oysters filter the water, and castles act as a habitat for fish and other species.

The living coastlines cost about $250,000 an acre.

The one by the naval base will help protect neighboring Belford, Middletown, Leonardo, and Atlantic Highlands.

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