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UNH researcher restoring oyster reefs to Great Bay

settled on the reefs). "It's like sodding your lawn versus sprigging it," says Grizzle, adding that the smaller reefs seem to show the best results.

Oyster harvesting in the Great Bay estuary system (http://www.oysters.unh.edu/Graphics/great-bay-map.gif) ?the only oyster habitat in New Hampshire ?is almost exclusively a recreational pursuit, so restoring oyster reefs would have a relatively small impact at the raw bar. However, there are typically several hundred licenses for recreational harvesting issued each year by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Also, the effect on water quality could be significant: Each oyster, says Grizzle, pumps 20 or so gallons of water each day through them, retaining particles as small as a virus. "They're marvelous filters," he says.

Further, he notes that oyster reefs, much like seagrass beds or coral reefs, support a variety of marine life. "Oyster reefs provide all these nooks and crannies for other organisms," he says, including sport fishes. "If we improve the habitat for oysters we can improve the environment."


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Source:University of New Hampshire


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