Oyster reef helped Wellfleet; How about Westport?

Jesse Bean tends to an oyster reef in Wellfleet. (Mass. Oyster photo) Jesse Bean tends to an oyster reef in Wellfleet. (Mass. Oyster photo)

Jesse Bean tends to an oyster reef in Wellfleet. (Mass. Oyster photo)

Jesse Bean tends to an oyster reef in Wellfleet. (Mass. Oyster photo)

The Westport River Watershed Alliance has invited Curt Felix, an expert on oyster cultivation, to speak about Wellfleet’s oyster reef building project.  The Westport Shellfish Advisory Board and Westport’s Shellfish Constable, Gary Sherman have endorsed the presentation.

The Town of Wellfleet used oyster shells to build oyster reefs and grow oysters in their nitrogen polluted harbors.  Too much nitrogen in salt water stimulates the growth of chlorophyll and algae that block sunlight from the bottom of estuaries.  When this happens, eelgrass and other inhabitants of a normal, healthy salt water ecosystem die off.

The Mass Estuaries Project’s research has found this to be the problem with the East Branch of the Westport River.

Wellfleet found that oysters and their reefs are surprisingly effective at mitigating the nitrogen problem, the Alliance said.

The presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 6, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Westport Library.

The presentation is free to the public.  Those who RSVP the Westport River Watershed Alliance, 508-636-3016, will be provided lunch at the meeting.  Space is limited to 60 people.

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