A New Jersey Navy pier utilizes oyster reefs to deter extreme waves
Earle Naval Weapons Station in Middletown, N.J., has been incorporating oyster reefs for storm water protection. During Hurricane Sandy, the pier suffered $50 million in storm water damage and turned to oysters as a solution.
NY/NJ Baykeeper is the environmental group responsible for planting the oyster reefs at the pier and other coastal communities on the east coast. Originally, the group began using oyster reefs to naturally control water quality, but discovered that they were also effective storm water management systems.
According to Boze Hancock, a marine restoration scientist with The Nature Conservancy, “The ‘sponge’ or rough, uneven oyster reef, sucks the energy out of the wave as it rolls towards the shore.” While the reefs do not stop waves, they help to slow them down and minimize their impact on the coastline.