Farmingville, NY – Recently, staff from the Town of Brookhaven Division of Environmental Protection, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Stony Brook University, planted 200,000 oysters in two areas of Port Jefferson Harbor to examine their potential of removing nutrients to improve water quality. The program is funded by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and the Town of Brookhaven. The planted oysters are contained in mesh bags placed in bottom cages at a density of 1,000 oysters per mesh bag, 10 bags per cage. Every month, Town and University staff and students will take water samples and use water quality probes to record nitrogen, phosphorous and other environmental data immediately adjacent to and 60 ft away from the oysters to measure their ability to improve water quality. All oyster cages are placed in management areas either side of Port Jefferson Harbor, which are areas that the Town prohibits the taking of shellfish. This study will run until November 2021.Photo Top Left: Stony Brook University student Lucy Donahue, Town of Brookhaven Department of Environmental Protection staff Craig Strong and Dwight Surgan, and School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Associate Professor Bradley Peterson stand in front of 10 bottom cages, each holding 10,000 oystersPhoto Top Right: Town workboat transporting 100,000 oysters from Mt Sinai Harbor shellfish facility to Port Jefferson Harbor. Transporting took two days due to the large number of cages and oysters.Photo Bottom Left: Top of an oyster cage holding mesh bags with oysters. The mesh allows water and nutrients to flow past the oysters.Photo Bottom Right: DEP staff Alan Duckworth trying to look professional while tangled in rope, after inspecting the planted oysters and cages. The underwater visibility ranges from six inches to three feet.