HIGHLANDS, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Can local waterways support oysters as they once did? A group of scientists and environmentalists want to find out.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reports

In an effort to return oysters to Raritan Bay, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper and Rutgers scientists have been mapping every inch of the coastline, looking for suitable locations for restoration of reefs.

“We are looking at the state of the shoreline, whether it’s natural shoreline or if it’s been bulkheaded,” said Executive Director Debbie Manz. “The level of oxygen in the water, whether there’s other shellfish present, aquatic vegetation, just a more complete picture of the health of the ecosystem.”

Last year, the state ordered test oyster beds removed for fear that poachers would harvest the shellfish and get sick.

Oysters naturally filter pollutants and in turn, improve water quality.

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