Update on crab king case

Update on the nicknamed “crab king” case:

Oral argument is scheduled Monday June 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM before Honorable Judge Joseph M. Chiarello, JSC in Court Room 235, Cumberland County Court House, Broad and Fayette Streets, Bridgeton NJ for State vs. Tony Novak, Appeal #2-19. The state will be represented by Danielle Pennino, Esq. of the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. The hearing is open to the public.

Because of the case’s potential impact on the future of social media marketing of the Philadelphia region’s “farm-to-table” and “dock-to-table” grower cooperatives, I have invited inquiries for an amicus brief (friend of the court) from other similarly situated groups. So far, no response. Preparing a brief is often an expensive undertaking and I suspect that not many grower and harvester cooperatives are aware of the potential legal threat.

The core issue is whether the state has the ability to hold off-site, online marketers who are not growers, harvesters, buyers or sellers responsible for keeping physical catch records of content they sell that might be related to New jersey fisheries. The language of the statute was written long before the age of social media when the word “marketing” and “selling” had the same implication and were typically under common management control. That is no longer true today. Now in the age of networked online “sharing” of other users content these two words have entirely different meanings.  Sharing online content is not selling under most legal authorities. The goal of this legal action is to establish this as the legal standard under New Jersey fisheries management law.

The brief on behalf of Baysave’s controller Tony Novak is filed and the state has until May 28 to respond. The brief, the state’s response and the rebuttal documents will be available to the public.

Change of direction for Money Island

Until this week, we expected that Money Island marina and docks would be redeveloped under new management for this 2019. Seven different groups ranging from nonprofits to recreational boating to commercial fishing companies are working independently to settle old litigation, gain funding and apply for permits to expand their operations here. The process is taking much longer than expected and we see no fast resolution in sight. All groups plans are on hold at this time with no opportunity to move forward.

The delay

The main hold-up is that the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has not yet agreed to end litigation for prior lack of permits and violations dating back to the 1930s. Once that old litigation is settled, new agencies and investors will provide funding for the required permitting and redevelopment. However, all investors and agencies have been clear that no new permits or funding will be offered while the state continues to litigate over old issues. This is a mess that government created on its own and only government can solve.

The best plan for 2019

It no longer makes sense to continue to wait for the state to conclude its litigation before adopting a usage policy for these properties for 2019. For the remainder of 2019 it makes more sense to ‘go with what we have”. The Money Island facilities will be available to Baysave for permitted activities like small scale aquaculture and restoration. Some uses require no government permits so there is no restriction on these uses.

Baysave is a volunteer based charity and it is not immediately clear how the operating costs will be covered. Details of each specific allowable use will be available separately soon.

Soft footprint housing at the bayshore

One of the greatest challenges to sustainability at the New Jersey bayshore is housing. The conventional and widely supported shoreline management strategy known as “strategic retreat” is likely best social, economic and political strategy. But that doesn’t mean that we intend to withdraw 100% of the people for 100% of the time. We anticipate a continued need for some housing at the bayshore to serve both recreational and aquacultural uses. Baysave intends to support new approaches to the need for housing in ways that conform to evolving standards.

Sustainability means serving the needs of all users and stakeholders. Environmentalists effectively make the point that the best way to sustain any of our natural areas or resources is to simply keep humans away from them. But that’s not realistic and it’s not the goal of sustainability planning. Humans are part of the equation and we need to balance the demands of human use with the best practices to preserve and sustain our natural resources.

One of the requirements of human use is housing. At it’s core, housing is primarily a means to stay protected from the extremes of  weather while also providing us with some level of protection and privacy. At the New Jersey bayshore, considering the current physical environment, available technologies and current laws, sustainable housing in our means soft footprint housing. This blog post considers the goals, current conditions, and future possibilities for soft footprint housing at the bayshore.

Goals

  1. Short term use – We do not anticipate the need for permanent 365 day a year living at the bayshore. It is simply not the best choice for a permanent residence. The overwhelming demand for housing is for short term seasonal use. Increasingly frequent flooding, extremes of weather, lack of public utilities, etc. make future demand of permanent housing here seem unlikely.
  2. Affordable – The bayshore region of New Jersey is a low income area compared to the rest of the state and the rest of the middle Atlantic region. Planners argue that the state’s “one size fits all” approach to land use and building codes is a leading contributor to the current state of economic depression and long term depopulation of the bayshore region.
  3. Legal – Housing at the bayshore is controlled primarily by state laws including the Coastal Wetlands Act of 1970 and subjects us to permit requirement rules known as CAFRA. While there are efforts to update and modernize existing laws, our focus is to operate within the law as it exists today.
  4. Physically resistant – The history of housing at the bayshore is a circular story of building, destruction at the hands of storms and erosion, then rebuilding, then destruction again. We intend to break the cycle.

Current conditions

Land use laws – New Jersey’s bayshore communities face competing laws requiring support for affordable housing, laws that cover private property use and laws that restrict land use to protect the environment. We must seek out the balance point between those. The cost of compliance with existing land use laws at the bayshore precludes the application of a land use permit that would likely more than double the cost of a typical proposed project. This means that our legal compliance strategy must focus on allowable land use that does not require a state permit.

Affordable housing crisis – While New Jersey has a requirement for communities to address affordable housing issues but the local communities have made no progress in this area. The number of housing units within reasonable commuting distance to the waterfront continues to decline and we have no current ability to provide necessary on-site housing to rebuild the local businesses. The closest affordable housing is a 30 minute drive away whereas the aquaculture industry (especially crab shedding) and recreational industry (boat launch management) requires full time 24-hour on site staffing.

Carry-in, carry out – Our current environment demands that we bring in the things we need to sustain a comfortable stay: food, water, electric and other energy sources, internet, and other supplies. We must also carry out our solid waste and wastewater for handling at an approved facility.

Owner-occupied – Current laws do not provide for any multi-unit rental or campground type of use and the rezoning possibility has not been assessed. For now, we are focused on single owner-occupied dwellings.

Tidal flooding – The effects of more frequent tidal flooding must be considered. While wet-proof infrastructure is relatively easy to construct, the long term effects of salt water corrosion on vehicles, machinery and infrastructure is significant. We have a local anecdotal system for measuring tidal flooding that casually monitors the number of times that the roadway is under water and translates that to a percentage of time the local area is flooded. The overall percentage of time we have tidal road flooding is still small (less than 5% of the time) but this condition is increasing at an alarming pace.

Technology – New technologies have not been tested in the bayshore environment due to legal and financial restrictions.

Economic impact – It is clear that the lack of workable housing solution is having a massive adverse impact on the aquaculture and recreational use industries. It is probably accurate to say that this is now the #1 impediment to economic recovery of our bayshore region.

Future possibilities

RVs – Motorized vehicles that provide a short term dwelling and drive away when not used or when threatened with adverse weather conditions. Regulation of these as vehicles and not as dwellings makes this the most “doable” but also most expensive option.

Campers  or trailers – This is the historically popular method. Most of the bayshore’s housing (including the author’s) originally started with a camper or trailer. Current restrictions limit the use of campers or trailers on private property.

Tiny houses – This is a hybrid type of dwelling that legally classified as a trailer but designed more like traditional housing. New Jersey laws are currently not not supportive of tiny houses as long term dwellings. The primary draw of this approach for us is it ability to draw together creative contributors. The popular momentum of the tiny house movement compared to the other options means that this area may see legal change sooner than other types of new dwellings.

Boats and floating dwellings – Almost a third of our former residential land is now below mean high tide level. 100% of our land is occasionally below water in tidal flooding conditions. Both sea level rise and tidal flooding conditions are expected to accelerate. The most common type of floating housing, of course, are cabin-equipped boats and occasionally a houseboat. Cabin boats account for majority of overnight human  stays along bayshores yet these are not common here in our region simply because most users could not afford to own and maintain a boat of that size. We see the possibility of additional types of floating housing. The use of floating housing on lots that are below mean high tide and are therefore sometimes dry but sometimes below water is unresolved. I’ve personally designed and built several outbuildings or structures (including a floating tool shed, a floating deck, and a floating car port) and found that our local building inspector expressed frustration that these do not fall under any clear set of regulations.

Tents or Yurts – Until recently, New Jersey maintained and rented yurts for short term living at its state parks. These were abandoned after reports of mold problems. Tents are still popular as short term use from beaches to woodlands. Conventional commercially available tents tested at the bayshore are unsuitable and are typically destroyed at the first windstorm. More durable tents have not been tested.

Hurricane resistant housing – domed structures on coastlines in other parts of the country offer the possibility of hurricane resistant housing. These structures have not been tested locally despite increased interest after the destruction of superstorm Sandy.

Action plan

Baysave intends to facilitate the development and testing of housing innovations that:

1. Do not require land use permitting.

2. Are supported by public and/or private investors.

3. Have the highest chance of gaining acceptance at the bayshore.


Conclusion

We believe that the most successful bayshore dwellings of the future will likely combine the past methods in ways that incorporate new technology that has not yet been field tested here. There is interest in funding and field-testing new dwelling concepts and we think that this should be an integral part of the sustainability planning for the bayshore.

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This photograph taken in 2017 shows part of a former residence constructed on dry land decades ago that was consumed by sea level rise and storms. It was finally destroyed in superstorm Sandy in 2012. Now the structures are completely removed. Almost 100% of the lot is now below mean high tide line and the state has acquired the property for open space.

Qualified Opportunity Zones vs. Qualified Small Business Stock at the bayshore

Community redevelopment or industry revitalization plans historically rely heavily on tax incentives to attract investment. Our local fisheries and aquaculture industries are likely to require large commitments of investment capital over the coming decades. A government program that abates taxes or exempts gains from taxation can make a project significantly more interesting to investors. Such programs can exist at the local, county, state and federal government level. This blog post focuses on the two most prominent options available at the federal level for the revitalization of the New Jersey bayshore. This blog does not attempt to explain each option, but rather focuses on the differences between them and briefly lists how I see each of them contributing to the bayshore community’s long term revitalization.

The first federal incentive programs are the Qualified Opportunity Zone authorized as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This program is geographically restricted to a few blocks in downtown Millville and large parts of Bridgeton. Advisers see this program as most attractive to larger investors.  This program could primarily help us with commercial real estate projects in those locations, especially equipment manufacturing and seafood processing, and aquaculture equipment financing for the region. This is the investment format being considered by some institutional investors. More information is available on this new web site.

The second program is Qualified Small Business Stock. This has been around longer as Section 1202 of the Internal Revenue Code but its attractiveness is strengthened by a series of recent tax changes. Investments may provide immediate tax benefits. The long term attraction is that smaller investors can achieve tax-free gains of up to $10 million (or more) by committing to the investment for at least five years. This is the business format that will be used by Nantuxent Corporation for the revitalization of commercial fishing and aquaculture at Money Island.

There are risks with either program. The first risk is that the investment may not achieve the gains expected. The investments could lose money. The second is that the investment might not be liquid at the time the investor wants to cash in. The third risk is that the expected tax result may not be achieved either because tax laws change or because the management of the investment did not meet the legal requirements of the incentive program.

I am happy to discuss how either option might fit into your investment plans.

State of New Jersey vs. Tony Novak, et. al.

Baysave was named as a defendant along with its controller Tony Novak in a lawsuit filed May 4, 2018 by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. The lawsuit focuses on properties acquired for stabilization and sustainable aquaculture redevelopment after Superstorm Sandy under a proposed gift/sale to the state. The State does not allege that Baysave, Novak or our associates did anything wrong, but rather that we are the current titleholders of the distressed properties after the state decided that it did not want the properties. The stabilization, recovery,  transfer, sustainability planning and compliance phases are taking much longer than expected and the issues are proving more complex than anyone had hoped.

The underlying issue is that the entire Money Island Marina campus, and in fact most of the small rural port community of Money Island, was built more than a half century ago without building permits, water well or septic system permits, land surveys, tideland leases, etc. What little documentation that may have existed based or is referenced in other documents now appears to be missing from the local government and county offices.

Before Superstorm Sandy, we agreed with the state on a solution to these issues. We assumed these properties would be acquired by the state like other local working waterfronts and that would transfer these issues to the state to deal with (as happened with other local marinas like neighboring Fortescue). Our verbal and written communications indicated that the state would acquire these properties at our cost and lease them back to local watermen just like Fortescue State Marina. But in the years since Sandy, none of this has actually happened. The state switched from being a cooperative partner with Baysave in our restoration efforts to being an unreasonable adversary. We don’t know why. We suspect the action is not taken in good faith.

The lawsuit comes down to this: the government has declined at least 15 permit applications, license applications or pre-application inquiries since Sandy and is now suing us because those same permits are not issued.  It is, in our opinion, unconscionable for the state to be both the denier of permits based on false assumptions and simultaneously bring charges for failure to have permits that should have been addressed decades ago.

Most significant in this matter is the observation that the NJDEP abandoned its normal problem-solving mechanisms (pre-permit planning meetings, application review and comment and alternate dispute resolution) to opt for decline of applications and direct to lawsuit with no attempt at resolution. One NJDEP program director said that this was the first time in her career that she saw this pattern of action by her department and so she did not know what to advise.

Public officials like State Senator Van Drew wrote letters on our behalf to urge the state to act reasonably to communicate and negotiate a solution. Public support and political endorsements have had minimal impact.

We are asking the State to the legal prosecution of this case to allow time for consideration of the issues in dispute. We are asking the Governor’s office to force the NJDEP to discuss the errand assumptions underlying their complaints and discuss ways to resolve the problems that does not include suing the people trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

Here are the legal documents:

Small local fisheries and aquaculture play an important role in economy and food security

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO.org) lists among its priorities “Recognizing small-scale fisheries as a fundamental contributor to poverty alleviation and food security“. While this concept is widely recognized in economic planning of third world countries, it is just as important in disadvantaged US seafood landing port communities.

Baysave is working to promote healthy, sustainable local aquaculture and fisheries industries in the rural and disadvantaged bayshore region of New Jersey on the Delaware Bay. The key to success in revitalization of this industry is the availability of high impact investment funds from angel investors with a vision to convert today’s low priced fishery and aquaculture assets into more productive facilities using technology that is already successfully employed in other places.

Success in this area isn’t ‘rocket science’. We know that the Delaware Bay crab and oyster industries are poised for sustainable long term expansion. This conclusion is based on observation of tenfold go twentyfold overall production increases in nearby Chesapeake Bay and Barnegat Bay. We simply need to align government permitting so that we can attract investment capital for infrastructure and business development. Unfortunately, New Jersey has a history of ineffective governance in this area and a political structure that resists change.

Small local fisheries and aquaculture remains dependent on two factors:

1) Ability to obtain state government permitting

2) Ability to attract investment funds

We remain committed to addressing these needs for the local bayshore community.

Oyster restoration news and resources

This page is a collection of links and summaries of oyster restoration efforts on a state-by-state basis and around the world. The sources on this page date back to 2009 through 2015. If you have a project that should be included, please write to us.

Not state specific

Worldwide acidification hot zones affecting shellfisheries

February 23, 2015   Nature.org

A 2014 article in Nature Climate Change published online this week at nature.org gives insight into four ocean acidification hot zones affecting the shellfish. One is the mid-Atlantic region including the Delaware and Chesapeake bays. Although the whole problem will takes decades to control, the immediate focus of control measures in our region is on limiting nutrient runoff from agricultural operations.

Delaware

Philadelphia’s Oyster House donating used shells to save Delaware Bay

December 17, 2013  Philly.com

Samson Street Oyster House in Philadelphia is recycling its shells for future restoration efforts. Philly.com reports: “We live in the Delaware Bay estuary, we buy Delaware Bay oysters, we’re selling them, then we’re taking the byproduct – the shells, the waste, basically – and instead of it going to a landfill, we’re putting it back into the bay to become reef for new oysters,” Oyster House owner Sam Mink said. “For us, it’s a win-win. It closes the loop and reduces our trash.”

Del. Bay Oyster Restoration officials will be recognized at Coast Day in Lewes

September 29, 2009   Sussexcountian.com

The Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project, an ongoing effort to revitalize Eastern oysters in Delaware Bay, will be honored with a 2008 Coastal America Partnership Award. The Coastal America Partnership Award is the only environmental award of its kind given by the White House. The program has two objectives: to enhance survival by providing clean shell to which juvenile oysters can attach and grow, and to maintain the ecology of the bay by sustaining oyster reefs that would otherwise degrade over time due to natural processes.

Florida

Brevard County oyster gardening program

November 8, 2014                Floridatoday.com

Young oysters grown by residents at their docks are transplanted to reefs.

20 tons of shell collected from restaurants

August 29, 2014      Marinediscoverycenter.org

The Shuck and Share Oyster Recycling Project has recycled over 40,000 pounds of oyster shells from by 11 participating local restaurants. This web page also has links to the Mar Discover Center’s volunteer activities.

FL receives $6 million grant for oyster industry restoration

August 29, 2014     perishablenews.com

Florida will receive $6 million from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to assist with the recovery of the Apalachicola Bay oyster fishery. Most to be used for oyster reef restoration,

City of Stuart oyster shell recycling program

April 7, 2014     Tcpal.com

The City of Stuart partnered with Florida Oceanographic Society in the Treasure Coast Shell Recycling Program. This program collects discarded oyster, clam and mussel shells from restaurants and recycles them into the estuary to provide a habitat for new oysters. What is notable about this project is that shell is collected in 5 gallon buckets (we presume thousands of them are needed) that are collected weekly. The human labor requirement and the odor control factors if this program must be major considerations. Also, the article mentions that shell are only cleaned for “3 or more months” before deployment. Most other programs let shell sit for a year to remove the organic material before shell is recycled into estuaries.

Waterfront property owners clamoring to become ‘oyster gardeners’

March 13, 2014   Fox News WOGX 51

Fox News reports that the level of support for experiments to repopulate oysters in the 156 mile Indian River Lagoon has been overwhelming. Waterfront property owners signed up for classes as volunteers for the oyster restoration project. Recent deaths of hundreds of pelicans, manatees, and dolphins have been blamed on the poor water quality in the lagoon. Oyster restoration is seem as the means for improving water quality.

Wright’s Landing in St. John’s County protected by man-made oyster reef

February 1, 2013   earth911.com

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used volunteers to collect used oyster shells from coastal restaurants and place them on the shorelines of the Tolomato River. The oysters formed a man-made reef, which acts as a barrier between incoming waves from ships and boats, decreasing the wave’s energy before it hits the Wright’s Landing coastline.

Depleted Oyster beds need time to rest

November 1, 2011  PNJ.com

The cause of oysters die-off in bays near Pensacola remains unclear, but officials contend habitats must be replenished and then given time to rebuild a healthy population. There are no sign that dermo is harming oysters in East Bay.

University of Central Florida students work on living shoreline project

July 10, 2011  Central Florida Future

Florida oyster restorationUCF biology professor Dr. Linda Walters and a team of students lay oyster mats, which is one of the ways to provide natural shoreline protection, at Turtle Mound in New Smyrna.

Students assist with oyster restoration

November 25, 2009     TCPalm.com

40 students from South Fork High School came together to take part in the Oyster Reef Restoration Project

Port St. Lucie oyster restoration

November 20, 2009    TCPalm.com

The Oyster Reef Restoration Project has hit a milestone – more than 50 percent of the oyster reefs planned for installation in the St. Lucie Estuary have been completed.

Residents on Naples Bay growing oysters to improve water quality

NaplesNews.com  September 14, 2009

A cooperative effort of local waterfront homeowners, baby oyster spat from Florida Gulf Coast University and a $5,000 grant from the Texas-based Gulf of Mexico Foundation to pay for the supplies.

Joe’s Bayou is their oyster: Volunteers’ efforts will help prevent shoreline erosion

September 28, 2009   The DestinLog.com

The oyster reef will benefit the environment in several ways. It provides a refuge for juvenile fish and crabs and a feeding ground for game fish. It also helps prevent shoreline erosion. “The physical presence of the reef can break up wave energy and keep the shoreline from eroding,” McDowell said. “After the oyster reef is done, we’ll also plant emergent vegetation along the shoreline to help prevent erosion.”

Georgia

Bagged oyster shell placed in Oatland Island waters

April 12, 2014   WJCL News

The Coastal Conservation Association and Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources spread bagged oyster shells along specific areas around Oatland Island in an effort to revitalize oyster populations. The project totaled 913 bags of oyster shells that totaled about 18,000 pounds.

The Nature Conservancy living shoreline project

2010    The Nature Conservancy

The Living Shoreline Restoration Project is designed to implement and study various techniques for stabilizing eroding habitat, with consideration to the natural ecology of Georgia’s coastal environment. One technique is the creation of oyster reefs. The project is funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Louisiana / Gulf of Mexico

Louisiana’s first oyster shell recycling program

MyNewOrleans.com  August 1, 2014

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana recently implemented the state’s first formal oyster shell recycling program to collect shell from New Orleans restaurants. The program is funded with a $1 million grant from Shell.

5 Ways Louisiana Is Saving the Oyster

Louisiana Seafood News  July 13, 2011

Five ways for rebuilding oyster beds being used in Louisiana include 1)Oyster Cultch, 2) Oyster Hatchery, 3) Oyster Stock Budgets, 4)Traceability, and 5) Vessel Monitoring Program.

Erosion control measures

The Advocate, Baton Rouge LA

erosion control with oysters

Oyster shell cages being used for erosion control.

8/10/2009 Hattiesburg.com, based on submitter report

Research shows oyster reef is effective

“A 12-person team of Nature Conservancy staff and volunteers, including eight DuPont employees, spent a Saturday morning fishing in the Bay of St. Louis in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The fishing expedition was a methodical research project designed to test the ecological benefits of a 15-acre oyster reef restoration site created by the Conservancy and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources this spring.

 

Using four boats, researchers fished for four hours on a rising tide, taking turns casting their rods on and off the reef. Results proved encouraging as 113 fish (including 69 white sea trout) were caught on the newly created oyster reef and 61 were caught off the reef.

 

“This is what we were hoping for,” said Mike Murphy, coastal field representative for The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi. “The main reason for this oyster reef restoration work is to create habitat for a diversity of fish and other aquatic species and to encourage the natural regeneration of other oyster reefs, which help to improve water quality.”

 

The report might have been distributed by The Nature Conservancy to local newspapers but we did not locate the original underlying report.

Oyster gardening kicks off in Mobile Bay

July 9, 2011   Press Register

This oyster gardening program is different from other oyster restoration projects because the oysters that are planted in Mobile Bay are about 3 inches. Planting the oysters in November after they have grown to that size makes them stronger and more likely to survive than oysters typically planted on reefs for restoration. The bigger oysters also will be able to spawn their first spring in the Bay, making even more oysters. The program is sponsored by Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Auburn University and Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Oyster reefs dropped into place

August 20. 2009   Gulf Breeze News

Deadman’s Island is a thin strip of land located in Pensacola Bay is the victim of constant erosion, is a cultural and historical landmark in the area. Gulf Breeze city officials worked closely with state environment officials and Ecological Consulting Services, Inc. to draft the restoration project designed to stabilize the island and prevent it from disappearing.

Maryland

Maryland getting Florida oyster shell to build reef

December 19, 2013   Bay Journal

Maryland is buying over 112,000 tons of oyster shell from Florida at a price of $6.3 million and paying another $3 million to ship them by rail for use in rebuilding Chesapeake Bay oyster reefs. The shells will be used by Maryland Department of Natural Resources for reef building projects in Harris Creek and the Little Choptank River.

Positive research results for reef rebuilding

May 5, 2013

Results of tests in the Choptank to rebuild oyster reefs that will revitalize the Chesapeake Bay are surprisingly better than expected. The study was the cooperative effort of various groups in Maryland and Virginia.

Demolished Dam Finds New Home Helping Chesapeake Bay Oysters

November 5, 2011 Annapolis Patch

Concrete rubble from the demolished dam on the Patapsco River was moved to a 2 acre site in the Chesapeake Bay where it will be seeded with 4 million oyster spat with the assistance of The Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Oyster Plan May Provide Missing Pieces of Restoration Puzzle

December 18, 2009     Southern Maryland Online

Over the past decade, billions of oysters have been planted in the Chesapeake Bay, pushed off of boats by the thousands to settle on sanctuaries and managed reserves throughout the watershed but results have been impaired by several factors. Habitat degradation, disease and overharvesting have taken their toll on the native oyster, reducing its numbers to less than one percent of peak population.

Maryland’s vision for oysters

Maryland DNR publication  December 4, 2009

Governor O’Malley’s oyster restoration plan.

Our Bay: Oyster gardening gains popularity

October 10, 2009   HometownAnnapolis.com

Maryland restoration oysters

The state’s Marylanders Grow Oysters program is the newest opportunity for people to get involved in raising oysters at their piers. This year, volunteers are growing 1.5 million to 2.5 million oysters in 5,000 cages suspended from piers and docks.

No Oysters Left? Don’t Tell Them

Fredericksberg.com  September 15, 2009

After the Potomac’s public oyster grounds administered by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission have all but succumbed to a pair of oyster diseases and over harvesting, private growers on leased beds were able to restore oyster populations. Yields increased 10 times over last year after planting seed on leased grounds 3 years ago.

Oyster reef in Severn River wins ecosystem award

The Baltimore Sun  August 9, 2009

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded its Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative Award to the Maryland Transportation Authority, the Department of Natural Resources, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and other partners for creating the Asquith Creek Oyster Reef in the Severn River last fall. The 3-acre reef provides a sanctuary for 4 million juvenile oysters and was made from demolished concrete from the Bay Bridge Preservation Project. Its purpose is improving the Chesapeake Bay water quality and was done as part of the state’s sustainable growth program, Smart, Green and Growing, created by Gov. Martin O’Malley last year.

Severn River homeowners become oyster caretakers

HometownAnnapolis.com  August 8, 2009

The state Department of Natural Resources employee delivers cages full of baby oysters to homeowners’ piers in the community.

Oyster Viability Is Tested In Mill Creek Watershed

The Washington Post  August 30, 2009

Members of the Southern Maryland Oyster Cultivation Society and the Calvert Marine Museum recently deposited more than 200,000 oysters on test sites in the Mill Creek watershed. The test will help scientists identify locations most likely to support viable oyster communities.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Oyster Project

The Massachusetts Oyster Project is a non-profit oyster restoration program returning the water cleansing mollusks to the estuaries of Boston Harbor.

Wellfleet Harbor Conference

November 20, 3009   Provincetown Banner

Mark Faherty, science coordinator for Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, talked about the oyster habitat restoration project, now underway, which plans to restore wild oyster reefs on land owned by Mass. Audubon off Lieutenant Island. “We are testing three reef-building materials. … And preliminary results indicate a high density of oyster set on the three experimental materials in July, 2009,” he said.

Tending Oysters for Future of Ecosystem

August 14, 2009   Vineyard Gazette

An important part of this collaborative effort that includes the involvement of riparian owners. In the backyard of a private home two 275-gallon seawater tanks serve as a nursery for young oysters. A similar system has operated in the Tisbury Great Pond for years with great success.

Mississippi

Land-based oyster seeding tested

October 21, 2014    WLOX 13

While land-based oyster shell seeding and transplant programs are the norm in other areas, apparently this is new for Mississippi. The program is being tested by a commercial grower and then may be expanded to the public reefs by the state.

New Hampshire

Community-based oyster restoration is thriving

November 17, 2014     Seacoastonline.com

The Oyster Conservationist program is sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and the University of New Hampshire. For the past nine years local residents have helped restore native oysters to the bay.

NH gets grant for oyster restoration

December 29, 2011  Wirenh.com

The Nature Conservancy received a $24,000 grant from the New Hampshire Conservation License Plate Program to help rebuild an oyster reef at the mouth of the Squamscott River.

New Jersey

Oyster gardening agreement reached

September 13, 2011     Paramus Post

New Jersey legislators proposed legislation that would guarantee citizens the right to cultivate oyster gardens following a ban by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection in 2010. The bill’s sponsor announced a resolution was reached between Baykeeper and the DEP pending final outcome of the proposed resolution.

Don’t make the bay wait

August 4, 2009  Asbury Park Press

“Barnegat Bay is in trouble. Everyone can see that. And one study after another has confirmed it. Time is not on the side of those who would delay action. The bay generates an estimated $4.4 million in annual revenue from tourism and commercial fishing for Ocean County”

Hackensack River too dirty to host oysters

July 2, 2011  NorthJersey.com

Rutgers research indicates malformed oyster tissue embedded with tumors, as well as unusually thin shells.

A statement on “PCBs and dioxins stick to river bottom sediments and get taken up by shellfish, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services” does not include reference to source detail. I was unable to find a source. The only result of a search on hhs.gov for “oyster + pcb” said “The presence of toxic chemicals in the aquatic environment leads to the potential for contamination of fish and shellfish. These chemicals include pesticides, other industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) , heavy metals (such as lead, cadmium, and mercury), and petroleum hydrocarbons (emphasis added).

Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Project

Funding for 2011 program funding included the Delaware Bay section of New Jersey Shell Fisheries Council, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Delaware Shellfish Advisory Council, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DuPont Clear into the Future, PSEG Nuclear and private donors including local restaurants.

Shell-planting program to preserve Delaware Bay oysters nears spending cap

October 2, 2009 NJ.com

oyster restoration boat in Delaware Bay

A shell-planting program in the Delaware Bay that has helped offset dying oyster populations due to warming ocean temperatures has hit a federal funding cap, and supporters are lobbying for more government money arguing it helps the environment and the economy

New Jersey dumps shells in bay to help oysters

October 5, 2009   Fish Information & Services

There are 1.6 billion oysters in the New Jersey’s section of the bay and the annual harvest is limited to 4% of the total population

New York

Sag Harbor plans to teach local schoolchildren about aquaculture

City looks for location to raise seed oysters in cages beneath city docks.

Cornell oyster seeding Project

The article “Growing oysters one volunteer at a time” about North Fork of Long Island is no longer available online.

North Carolina

Oyster larvae attracted to reef sounds

March 16, 2014   Newsobserver.com

Research into the impact of underwater sounds on oyster larvae settlement rates being funded by the  National Science Foundation. Previously, it was widely believed that settlement rates were primarily a function of tidal water flow rates.

Community Program on Oyster Restoration

December 16, 2013  JDNews.com

Hammocks Beach State Park Ranger Jake Vitak will give a presentation at 5:30 p.m. about the collaborative restoration project by the park and the N.C. Coastal Federation to preserve the oyster habitat at Jones Island.

Pender Watch builds oyster reefs to benefit environment

July 11, 2011  Starnewsonline.com

Pender Watch has an oyster shell recycle program in which people can drop off oyster shells to points at several other locations throughout the County. Pender Watch then holds a “shell bagging party” where volunteers come together to bag all the collected shells. A specially made mesh bag, environmentally friendly, is used to hold the shells. The reef building process can then begin. This a joint venture with the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina.

Permuda Island restoration

July 09, 2011  ENCtoday.com

NCCF and the state’s Coastal Reserve Program are sponsoring the work as part of a project to clean up debris from a former causeway on Permuda Island in Stump Sound. The N.C. Division of Water Resources is paying for the project, the release states. Volunteers will place about 1,000 bags of recycled oyster shells around the edge of an old causeway and plant over 2,500 marsh-plant seedlings along the shoreline. The shell bags will attract oyster larvae that will attach to the empty shells and start an oyster reef. Once planted the salt marsh seedlings will help stabilize the shoreline and restore marsh habitat in the project area.

Texas

Artificial oyster reef complete in Matagorda Bay

April 14, 2014   Newschannel10.com

The Army Corp of Engineers completed an artificial reef 250 feet by 50 feet in Matagorda Bay to provide structure for oyster recruitment. Expanding on the amplifying effect of these projects, the article says “The reef could cultivate as many as 60 acres of oyster beds. Though a fraction of the size of the natural reefs found a century ago in the bay, new oyster beds could play a dramatic role in restoring the ecosystem.”

Galveston Bay residents ‘planting’ a new crop of oysters

October 2, 2009   The Houston Chronicle

These families are experimenting with “oyster gardening” — using old shells to provide the hard surface upon which oyster larvae can attach and grow. This is one of several creative projects, paid by federal and state grants, under way to restore a small portion of the 8,000 acres of oyster reefs killed when Hurricane Ike buried them in sediment a year ago. Oysters are important to the Texas economy as a food and are also efficient filters that remove contaminants from the water as they feed. A single oyster filters 50 gallons a day.

Virginia

Price of shell rises to $6 per bushel

October 6, 2014     Fredericsburg.com

Reef restoration projects combined with the growing aquaculture business have created a shortage of oyster shells.

Oyster shell restoration underway

January 30, 2014   Bay Journal

A number of groups have come together to work out an oyster shell recycling program in the Richmond area.

Volunteers work to shovel oyster shells out of the dumpster where they've been collected and into baskets for transportation.  (Chesapeake Bay Foundation )

Oysters on the Comeback in Chesapeake Bay, Thanks to Elevated Homes

“The Chesapeake’s oyster reefs were destroyed by centuries of watermen towing rake like metal “dredges” and silted over by dirt flowing from the mid-Atlantic’s farms and growing cities. The final blow came in the mid-20th century: A pair of new diseases killed oysters by the millions. Now, in many places, the bay bottom is a flat expanse of green mud”. My comments focused on the need to consider the environmental value of restoration as separate and distinct from commercial shellfish value and second, to clarify that “elevated Houses” refer to the artificial reef structure, not human’s homes.

Unprecedented Restoration of a Native Oyster Metapopulation

Science Magazine  July 30, 2009

Native oyster species were once vital ecosystem engineers, but their populations have collapsed worldwide because of overfishing and habitat destruction. In 2004, we initiated a vast (35-hectare) field experiment by constructing native oyster reefs of three types (high-relief, low-relief, and unrestored) in nine protected sanctuaries throughout the Great Wicomico River in Virginia, United States. Upon sampling in 2007 and 2009, we found a thriving metapopulation comprising 185 million oysters of various age classes. Oyster density was fourfold greater on high-relief than on low-relief reefs, explaining the failure of past attempts. Juvenile recruitment and reef accretion correlated with oyster density, facilitating reef development and population persistence. This reestablished metapopulation is the largest of any native oyster worldwide and validates ecological restoration of native oyster species.

This report comes from the Department of Fisheries Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA 23062, USA.

Oyster gardeners’ hobby replenishes Chesapeake Bay

The Hour Online  August 19, 2009

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation wants more waterfront homeowners to take up oyster gardening.

Oysters Are on the Rebound in the Chesapeake Bay

8/3/2009  New York TimesPrimary source is Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary. Scientists and watermen agree that oysters will grow in current dead zones. Also mentions past federal involvement in Virginia oyster restoration that later became a contentious issue.

Tuesday October 30 grant ceremony

For immediate release
Contact: Tony Novak, 856-237-9199

CRAB INDUSTRY REVITALIZATION GRANT CEREMONY TUESDAY OCT. 30

Baysave is pleased to announce that a grant ceremony will be held Tuesday October 30, 2018, 11:00 at Money Island, New Jersey to present a check from New Jersey Community Capital THRIVE grant. The grant is focused on revitalizing the local blue claw crab industry. The press release from the donor is posted here.

Money Island, located on the bayshore in Cumberland County, is New Jersey’s second most productive seafood landing port. The tiny working waterfront community is struggling for survival under government-imposed costs in the midst of ongoing regional economic depression. Climate-related events, including massive costs from superstorm Sandy recovery, further hurt the recovery of the local seafood industry.

The Delaware Bay blue claw crab population is healthy yet about half of the 312 commercial crab licenses issued by the State of New Jersey are underutilized. Many licensed crabbers are not happy with current economic opportunities so they stay off the water. Baysave proposed establishing a shared use physical facility for the landing, storage and processing of crabs by independent harvesters as well as helping to organize a watermen’s cooperative to improve the marketing and business operations of crabbers to increase their bottom line.

The majority of the grant award will be used for state permitting costs. While the local industry has been in operation for more than seven decades, none of the docks or supporting infrastructure, have ever been permitted by authorities. “New Jersey has a ‘one size fits all’ fee schedule for land use permitting that works well in the northern part of the state but has been impossible for the economically deprived bayshore region. The permitting costs exceed the land value here. Only now are some of the region’s largest seafood companies beginning to tackle this expensive legal requirement” says Tony Novak, CPA Controller for Baysave.  By having a fully permitted crab landing and storage facility for smaller independent crabbers, Novak expects that more investment will then be available for crab processing, marketing and distribution systems to boost income for the local industry. Baysave has already announced plans to offer financing of equipment for crabbers who want to expand their production and hopes to offer vessel financing soon.

Novak notes that this grant is only 1/6 of the amount of funding needed to transform the waterfront community to a sustainable operation but is a welcome positive first step that, he hopes, will draw other investors to the opportunities in regional seafood industry expansion.

“We are grateful for the efforts of Cumberland County Economic Development Director Kim Ayers and the help of Jeff Kaszerman New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants for working with us to find this opportunity”.

Baysave is a 501(c)(3) association registered as a New Jersey charity. The mission is to connect government, educational, nonprofit and industry resources to support sustainable aquaculture.

Grant award to strengthen NJ crabbing

New Jersey Community Capital Awards THRIVE Grant to Baysave Corporation for Blue Claw Crab Industry Recovery Project

“This first community financing success brings us 1/6 of the way toward keeping the Money Island working waterfront marina community viable but only about 1% of the way to long term sustainable total community redevelopment. So the plan is to use this grant to build momentum. We have a series of meetings coming up with investors about additional funding.  In the end, I suspect that a crowdfunding will also be required to transform our community to thrive in the years ahead”. – Tony Novak

New Brunswick, NJ (October 25, 2018) – New Jersey Community Capital (“NJCC”) announced through its THRIVE South Jersey initiative, it has awarded a $15,000 grant to Baysave Corporation to support the Baysave Crab Industry Recovery Project. This investment will fund capital improvements and technical assistance to enhance the  existing  infrastructure  in  Money  Island,  New  Jersey  and  reestablish  the  blue  claw  crab  industry  for  independent commercial crabbers in the community.
As a bay shore community along the coast of New Jersey, Money Island boasts a robust blue claw crab industry. While  the  town  has  suffered  economically  from  the  effects  of  Hurricane  Sandy  and  other  climate‐related  challenges, oyster and blue claw crab fishing remain an in‐demand trade. The $15,000 grant will provide the needed funding to seed the development and operation of an independent crab cooperative.
“New Jersey Community Capital plays a vital role in helping businesses gain invaluable resources to start, grow, and succeed,” says Tony Novak, Executive Director of Baysave Corporation. “This grant further enhances Baysave Corporation’s ability to support small business practices in the blue claw crab industry while growing greater economic resiliency in our community.”
“We believe that providing access to capital is essential for driving economic growth and opportunity for local residents,” says Wayne T. Meyer, President of New Jersey Community Capital. “As mission‐driven lenders, our goal is to help ensure that communities are given the resources and technical assistance to empower and fuel small business success. Through the THRIVE SJ initiative, NJCC will be able to support the projects and activities that supplement job creation and drive long‐term economic impact.”
THRIVE South Jersey works to expand local and regional capacity to generate economic growth in the targeted region of Southern New Jersey that includes Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, and western Atlantic counties. Through  a  combination  of  strategic  funding  and  capacity  building,  THRIVE  South  Jersey  seeks  to  support  organizations fostering community revitalization activities that generate jobs and sustain low‐income families in the four county region.

About New Jersey Community Capital
New Jersey Community Capital is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that creates thriving communities through strategic investments and technical assistance. NJCC supports the preservation and development of affordable housing and sustainable community development ventures that increase jobs, improve  education,  and  strengthen  neighborhoods.  For  more  information,  visit:  www.newjerseycommunitycapital.org.

A check presentation ceremony and photograph session are planned for Tuesday October 30 at 11:00. Please RSVP if interested in attending.

Slow pace of aquaculture development at Money Island

11/6/2016 – For the past eight years we have been working through the nonprofit BaySave Corporation on necessary legislative and policy reforms to New Jersey’s outdated land use and aquaculture regulations with very little governmental result. During that same time we’ve watched Virginia, Maryland and now Delaware soar past us in this blossoming industry that is crucial to a sustainable future here on the Delaware Bay.

In 2010 New Jersey oyster-focused nonprofits became the target of a NJDEP cease and desist order for oyster restoration research and then in 2015 and continuing into this year became the target of local township’s prosecution on Certificate of Occupancy law for our use of a bankrupt marina property as a nonprofit aquaculture co-op operation in Money Island while we are waiting for necessary government permits. This is surprising based on the strong degree of support expressed by state and federal elected officers and their staff. There is no debate about how powerful aquaculture could be in restoring our local economy. The $20 million annual seafood crop coming from Money Island could increase by tenfold with appropriate government cooperation.

At the pace we are moving, I won’t live long enough to see Money Island established as the hub of aquaculture development here in the state. Yesterday I received this email from the well-respected government relations specialist and political lobbyist for the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants:

“Tony, it sounds to me like you are doing almost everything humanly possible to move this issue forward. Very often, stupid regulations are simply never removed, despite the need for it. All I can suggest is that you stay in touch with Van Drew and that you forward your concerns about these regulations to the NJ Red Tape Review Commission. One other thing you might try is to get more people to write to the Governor on this issue. There is strength in numbers and ultimately all rules are repealed or initiated with the input of the Governor”.

I am already working with State Senator Van Drew, the Governor’s office and the Red Tape Commission (through a peer CPA who is a member of the commission) but have not tried to organize any mass public appeal directly to the governor’s office. Perhaps that is something I need to learn next.

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