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 More than 10,000 volunteers and 6,000 college students are participating in the Billion Oyster Project, which is located one hundred miles north of Philadelphia. The mission of the project is to restore the bivalves that were once found in New York Harbor. Oyster nurseries are currently being established in Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland, a place where up until just recently it was believed that the bivalves had been extinct for a hundred years. Additionally, a hatchery located 50 kilometers west of Chicago has released 25,000 mussels into the local rivers. This action will result in an increase in the populations of typical species of freshwater mussels. 


For a number of years, efforts to restore the marine environment's vegetation have been under way in the Chesapeake Bay and the Tampa Bay. More recently, in the region of California, seagrass species have been experiencing a precipitous loss. (For example, more than ninety percent of Morro Bay's eelgrass beds have disappeared over the course of the past fifteen years.) The California Ocean Protection Council's 2020 Strategic Plan to Protect California's Coast and Ocean has lofty goals: it wants to protect the few 15,000 acres of seagrass beds that are now known to exist and cultivate 1,000 additional acres by the year 2025. 


Scientists are adamant that these initiatives need to be used in conjunction with strategies to proceed lowering the contaminants, particularly more vitamins from sewage and fertilizers, that are flowing into our waterways. This is considered to be the most essential step in bettering water high quality. After a number of years of planting aquatic vegetation inside the Chesapeake Bay, for example, scientists say that the modest improve in vegetation is primarily attributable to nature restoring itself after a reduction in nutrient pollution. This assertion is made in light of the fact that nutrient pollution has been reduced. 


And any intervention by humans in a complex ecosystem brings up a number of important questions, such as how to ensure that there is sufficient genetic diversity and how to identify competitors for food and other resources. Researchers in the scientific community are fond of saying that they frequently learn as they work. 


Nevertheless, in regions where the natural environment is getting better, reintroducing bivalves and aquatic plants can establish a foundation that will last for a long time and lay the groundwork for entire ecosystems. And restoration projects are an active form of stewardship that connects people to local waterways and helps them identify the ecosystems that are essential to our survival. This kind of stewardship is what we call "restoration." 


Up until around 5 years ago, the size of the wild celery grass beds located within the Delaware estuary was something of a mystery to those who visited there. A number of scientists didn't count on the water top to be appropriate, and due to the fact that the estuary incorporates a variety of debris and roils with the tides, the vegetation couldn't be seen in overhead imagery. 


But in 2017, researchers from the EPA started conducting surveys by boat in order to observe submerged vegetation. They were surprised to find the plant thriving in parts of a 27-mile stretch of the Delaware River that extended from Palmyra, New Jersey, past Camden and Philadelphia, to Chester, Pennsylvania. The stretch began in New Jersey and ended in Pennsylvania. This is the only section of the river that the Delaware River Basin Commission has identified as being unsafe for "primary contact recreation," which includes activities such as jet snowboarding, kayaking, and swimming. 


Kelly Somers, who is the senior watershed coordinator for the EPA's Mid-Atlantic district, said that the discovery of healthy grass beds was particularly exciting because the plant is a sign of water high quality. According to Don Baugh, founder and president of the Upstream Alliance, the EPA's research, which is available by way of on the internet maps, has been particularly beneficial for the restoration work being carried out by the Upstream Alliance. This is due to the fact that a lot of the research on wild celery grass is from unique locations, primarily the Chesapeake Bay. Since well over a quarter of a century ago, efforts have been made at that location to revive wild celery as well as endemic species of water plants. 


Wired.com is the cited origin.

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