What does one do with broken hockey sticks? Uses them to help the Oysters, of course!
Did you know that once abundant oysters in the New York, New Jersey Harbor are now functionally extinct? Rinks2Reef is an oyster gardening effort that is helping to restore the population of “nature’s filters” into the estuary ecosystem by collecting broken hockey sticks and using them to build artificial oyster reefs. And, PSEG is proud of our employees who aid in the effort.
PSEG Environmental Project Manager Jack Lenhart, who still plays hockey and enjoys woodworking, said, “I’ve been collecting broken hockey sticks to build a piece of furniture or something for the lawn, instead, I decided to donate them to suppor Rinks2Reef – combining my love for hockey with my dedication to sustainability.”
The artificial oyster reefs will be installed at the Naval Weapons Station Earle Aquaculture Facility. Here, the oyster larvae are grown and then released into the New York, New Jersey Baykeeper’s oyster reefs in Raritan Bay and monitored for growth and survivorship through the Oyster Gardening Program. This program uses the oysters’ natural filtration system to remove pollutants and turbidity from the water.
Baykeeper Urban Outreach and Education Coordinator Keion Antonio Walker described oysters as “bio-engineers.”
“Each oyster can filter about 50 gallons of water a day, purifying the water as they get their food,” he said.
“The oysters will continue to help the water get clearer, allowing more sunshine to get deeper into the water and stimulate grasses to grow,” said Hugh Carola, Hackensack Riverkeeper Captain. Grasses add oxygen and provide a sanctuary and productive habitat for baby fish to be protected from predators.”
“A special thanks to the Central Regional High School Hockey Team for the construction of the artificial reefs,” said Greg Remaud, New York/New Jersey Baykeeper CEO.
“We are grateful that PSE&G has such a long-lived and enthusiastic volunteer team,” Remaud said. “This is the second oyster-based project in which Baykeeper and PSE&G volunteers have worked. In 2015, the volunteers constructed 20 Taylor Floats to support oyster gardening initiatives to help restore the estuary so the waterways can be safely used for recreational purposes.”
An additional benefit is that the reefs help to protect the coastline against erosion.