Located in southeastern Connecticut, the Niantic River is a small, shallow estuary where hundreds of families live on both sides of the river. To East Lyme and Waterford residents and visitors alike, the river provides extensive recreational opportunities ranging from boating, paddle boarding and kayaking to bird watching, fishing and personal shellfishing. A thriving tourism industry has been created in the region and many local businesses are sustained by these recreational activities on the river.
There have been extensive discussions about the best way to restore shellfish in the region, to reap the benefits of a thriving aquaculture system but without installing visually unappealing and potentially dangerous floating or anchored equipment in the river.
“Seeding” or placing small oysters on shell at the bottom of the river and allowing them to grow is an effective, safer option. Seeding has been successful up and down the East Coast, and we think it is the best plan of action for our towns. This week, the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission, unanimously approved the public-private partnership.
It will cost approximately $10,000 to fund the seeding project. This money will go toward purchasing the seed, preparing the ground, monitoring growth and development and maintaining the project, in addition to water quality testing. Your contribution to this effort is greatly appreciated as we work together to rescue our river!