Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin was joined by members of the Town Board to announce $300K in new grant funding from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to support the Town of Hempstead’s Shellfish Restoration Program – a project designed to enhance the health of the township’s marine ecosystems through the restoration of oyster beds. Supervisor Clavin was joined by Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilmen Anthony D’Esposito, Dennis Dunne, Sr., Thomas Muscarella, and Christopher Carini along with Town Clerk Kate Murray and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll for the announcement. Representatives from the Town’s partners on the project, the Hudson River Foundation, and the New York Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project, were also present.
The landmark conservation project will see the addition of Eastern Oyster beds to Town of Hempstead managed portions of Jamaica Bay off the coast of Inwood, with the goal of creating a self-sustaining population of the species in the near future. The presence of “ecosystem engineers” like Eastern Oysters have been noted by researchers to provide a host of benefits to the environments they are found in, including filtering and removing algae along with other suspended sediments, enhancing the filtration and clarity of the water column, and supporting the development of crustacean and fish populations.
“The Town of Hempstead is home to a wide array of unique and diverse ecosystems, and we take our obligation to safeguard these environments extremely seriously,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin. “I am excited for the opportunity to continue our township’s conservation efforts through the implementation of these beneficial oyster beds.”
The multi-year effort at bolstering the local oyster population will be undertaken by staff from the Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation & Waterways, with support from the Billion Oyster Project and the Hudson River Foundation who will assist in the monitoring and deployment of the reefs. The project, expected to take place over a five-year period, is part of a larger effort by various conservation stakeholder groups to form a network of self-sustaining oyster beds throughout the Jamaica Bay area – a key component in New York waterway revitalization efforts.
“The Town of Hempstead has a long history of environmental stewardship, and I am ecstatic that we are continuing that tradition,” said Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby.
“We remain committed to protecting our coastal waterways and continuously seeking new solutions to enhance our local aquatic ecosystems here in Hempstead Town,” said Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.
“America’s largest township is home to some of America’s most unique ecosystems, which is why I am grateful the Town of Hempstead continues to invest in their protection and enhancement,” said Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr.
“Improving and strengthening our aquatic ecosystems remains a top priority for the Town of Hempstead, and I would like to thank the dedicated staff in the Department of Conservation and Waterways for ensuring our ecosystems remain vibrant and safe,” said Councilman Thomas Muscarella.
“Hempstead Town’s coastal location provides the township with a wealth of diversity when it comes to aquatic wildlife, and I am proud to join my colleagues on the Town Board in recommitting ourselves to supporting their ongoing enhancement,” said Councilman Christopher Carini.
“The Town of Hempstead will continue working with our conservation partners to ensure we protect our local aquatic environs so they may be enjoyed by future generations,” said Clavin. “We are grateful for our partners in this endeavor as well as the dedicated members of the Town’s Department of Conservation and Waterways for their unwavering commitment to this effort.”