Friday, August 19, 2016

Rumney Marsh- A Hidden Gem

In our quest to understand the area's coastal resources we continue to explore and inventory where time and access allows. On a recent Sunday we walked trails in Rumney Marsh and were pleasantly surprised at what we found.

While we had driven by Rumney Marsh many times on Route 1, we had never examined it closely. At one time Route 95 was slated to run right through it, but this highway construction program was halted by Francis Sargent in 1972 in favor of mass transit solutions.

Map of Rumney Marsh Reservation on the Saugus/Revere line.
We were particularly intrigued by the path that follows the old roadbed behind the Northgate Mall. While desolate and a bit creepy due to its solitude, it made for a wonderful walk and trail to explore. 

Map of Trail through Rumney Marsh behind Northgate Mall

The entrance to the trail was at this non-assuming spot behind the Fourpoints Hotel by Sheraton.

View of Rumney Marsh looking North-East by East
View of Rumney Marsh looking East

This point would have once been the location of a highway overpass if the road program was not halted.

 We were able to see quite a few birds of different species and even hoof prints from a deer.

A swirling mass of birds in Rumney Marsh rises above some wetlands at low tide. 

Rumney Marsh at the edge of Route 1 at low tide. We saw no oysters or shells, although there were many small mussels on the rocks by the overpass.
Two abandoned bridges where the extension of 95 would have connected with Route 1.

A collection of cans and plastic debris we collected in our travels. Whenever we explore, we have learned that there is ample debris to fill several bags. Every little bit helps.
If you want to learn a bit more about this wetland or possibly get involved in helping it you could explore participation through this Facebook group.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

City of Virginia Beach Has Comprehensive Oyster Restoration Program- A Model for Boston and Massachusetts Coastal Cities

The city of Virginia Beach, Virginia sits on the Lynnhaven River. The oyster population is a tiny fraction of what once was an enormous population.  

Map of Lynnhaven River Basin   Virginia Beach is to the right.

The program contains several key elements-

1. Goals of restoring the oyster population

  • Improving water quality
  • Enhancing biodiversity

2. Oyster restoration efforts

3. Oyster shell recycling with drop off

4. Oyster gardening

5. Non-profit partnerships

We have excerpted this page from the City Government's website. The oyster restoration piece is under the Environment and Sustainability Office. 

Increasing the local oyster population is one of the most effective ways to enhance our water quality. In addition to water quality benefit, oyster reefs provide a myriad of other environmental benefits as well. The reefs act as needed habitat for young fish and crabs, providing both a source of food and protection. 

Oyster Heritage Fund Donations

The Oyster Heritage Fund Donation is voluntary and intended to support ongoing efforts to improve water quality and the Bay environmental habitat.  When City Council adopted the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Ordinance, Section 102.A. states the following:
"The intent of the City Council and the purpose of this ordinance are to: (1) protect existing high quality state waters; (2) prevent any increase in pollution; and (3) restore state waters to a condition or quality that will permit all reasonable public uses and will support the propagation and growth of all aquatic life, including game fish, which might reasonably be expected to inhabit them."

The Oyster Heritage Fund Donation is currently calculated as follows:

"Proposed impervious cover in the Resource Protection Area (RPA) divided by 4, divided by 27 (cubic yards), times 15, and times $1.65 for the total amount required. Said amount is based on 25% of the proposed impervious cover within the RPA and shall provide an equivalent oyster shell plant within the Lynnhaven River Basin approximately 12 inches deep."
Any questions please contact the Department of Planning and Community Development, Environment and Sustainability Office, 757-385-4621.

Nonprofits Restoration Efforts 

In the summer of 2006, Lynnhaven River NOW launched a pilot program with eight Virginia Beach restaurants, as well as public donations, to gather and recycle oyster and clam shells which were used to build Athey Island Oyster Reef in the spring of 2008. The pilot program was so successful, that it is now an ongoing program in partnership with the City of Virginia Beach. Learn more about this program and public drop-off sites.
Photo provided by: Lynnhaven River NOWHave you wondered how you might get more involved with Lynnhaven River restoration? Oyster gardening may be just the opportunity that you have been looking for. 
Restoring native oysters to the Chesapeake Bay is a high priority for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It is a long-term and large-scale process that requires the participation and commitment of federal and state agencies, and watershed groups, as well as local citizens. Read about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's oyster restoration programs and how you can help bring back the oysters.​​​
One of the Crystal Club's primary initiatives is to facilitate and fund the construction of more sanctuary oyster reefs throughout the Crystal Lake area, thereby helping to improve water quality.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Who keeps up on oyster restoration through the Mass Oyster Project Blog?

We looked at our statistics on the readers of this oyster restoration blog and found the results very interesting.

While there is a strong following in the metro areas of Boston and New York; smaller towns such as Somerville and Newburyport also had a fair amount of activity. Our reach is global with Sidney Australia, London and Shinjuku Japan on the list. 

While our focus is local, or impact is global. MOP has been featured on TV in Japan, NPR, and the press. Thank you for your help in getting out the word on the environmental benefits of restoring this key stone species. 200 other species will live in an oyster reef. An oyster filters 40 gallons of water per day.

1 Boston
2 New York
3 Cambridge
4 Ashburn
6 Malvern
8 Washington
9 Brookline
10 Somerville
11 Worcester
12 Newton
13 Newburyport
14 Gloucester
15 Orlando
16 Shinjuku
17 Falmouth
18 Barnstable
19 Chicago
20 Malden
21 Brookline Village
22 Allston
23 Los Angeles
24 Watertown
25 Baltimore
26 Quincy
27 Houston
28 Plymouth
29 Hingham
30 San Francisco
31 Waltham
32 Lexington
33 Seattle
34 Wareham
35 Wellesley
36 London
37 Arlington
38 Eastham
39 Iselin
40 Philadelphia
41 Toronto
42 Yambol
43 Medford
44 Sydney
45 Providence
46 Brighton
47 Jamaica Plain
48 Austin
49 Provincetown
50 Hialeah
51 Hingham
52 South Kingstown
53 Pelotas
54 New Orleans
55 New Bedford
56 Dallas
57 San Diego
58 Needham
59 Lahore
60 Concord
61 Weymouth
62 Woburn
63 Virginia Beach
64 Lowell
65 Annapolis
66 Danvers
67 Nantucket
68 Brockton
69 Framingham
70 Peabody
71 Bethesda
72 Groton
73 Manila
74 Atlanta
75 Beverly
76 Charlotte
77 Ledyard
78 Belmont
79 Harwich
80 Portland
81 Arlington
82 Wellfleet
83 Roslindale
84 Manchester
85 Montreal
86 Hong Kong
87 Bristol
88 Fall River
89 Silver Spring
90 Portland
91 Richmond
92 Sao Paulo
93 Seoul
94 Moscow
95 Wakefield
96 Pittsburgh
97 Sudbury
98 Denver
99 Everett
100 Marshfield