Roger Williams University and Volunteers to Seed Narragansett Bay with Oysters

December 3, 2008

BRISTOL, R.I., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Saturday, Dec. 6,
volunteers will transfer nearly 750,000 adolescent oysters to restoration
sites in Bristol Harbor and neighboring areas, culminating the third annual
cycle of a joint effort between local community members and marine science
researchers at Roger Williams University to bolster Rhode Island’s diminished
oyster population.

“RWU is committed to reinvigorating Rhode Island’s oyster populations,”
said Timothy Scott, professor of biology and director of the University’s
Center for Economic and Environmental Development. “Oysters are natural water
filters and these growing populations can help improve the overall health of
our coastal waters.”

Rhode Island’s oyster population has suffered intense decline since the
early 1900′s due to polluted waters, over-harvesting and natural disease.
Aquaculture specialists at Roger Williams University, working with the R.I.
Aquaculture Initiative and the Island Foundation, initiated the R.I. Oyster
Gardening for Restoration and Enhancement program in 2006, asking coastal
landowners to raise juvenile oysters in waters along the shores of
Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island coastal ponds until they were big enough to
move to permanent restoration sites.

Eighteen oyster gardeners signed up to raise baby shellfish in year one
and 55 gardeners participated last year. Both of those generations are now
thriving on the reefs. This year, the program has grown to 73 volunteer oyster
gardeners with the exciting projection of 100 gardeners recruited and 1
million oysters seeded in 2009.

Researchers are now in the process of collecting these adolescent oysters,
and volunteers will come together on Dec. 6 at RWU to count and measure them,
compare survival and growth rates and replant the oysters on Prudence Island,
at Town Pond in Portsmouth and at an experimental oyster site in Bristol

“This program is helping to rebuild the decimated oyster populations in
Rhode Island,” said Steve Patterson, coordinator for the program. “We all
benefit from this restoration as these small creatures can provide cleaner
water, a boost to the state’s shellfish industry and an overall improvement to
Rhode Island’s coastal beauty.”

Roger Williams University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as eighth
among comprehensive colleges in the north. Roger Williams offers undergraduate
and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, architecture, business,
construction management, education, engineering, historic preservation,
justice studies, legal studies, visual arts studies and law.

SOURCE Roger Williams University

Source: newswire

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