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Volunteers John Badger and his granddaughter measure oysters they raised as part of a collaborative restoration program.

Restoration on the half shell

By Kirsten Weir

Last summer, Caroline Wilson, then 7, and her 6-year-old sister Hannah helped to raise some unlikely pets: thousands of baby oysters. Happily for the science-savvy sisters, their grandparents, Lynn and John Badger, had signed on as “oyster conservationists.” The project - a collaboration among the University of New Hampshire (UNH), The Nature Conservancy, and the New Hampshire Estuaries Project - is just one component of an effort to restore eastern oysters to New Hampshire's Great Bay Estuary. “It's a wonderful way to get the community involved in doing something for the bay,” Lynn Badger said.

Besides being a food source for humans and animals, oysters are natural water purifiers. They filter out pollutants from the water of Great Bay, which faces increasing pollutant loads. In 1995, a disease triggered a major oyster die-off in New Hampshire waters, said Ray Grizzle, research professor of zoology at UNH. “We've lost 90 percent of our [oyster] stock in the last 10 years,” he said. He intends to try to bring it back.

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Features and Columns

Editor's Notes
Summer: A time to get involved

Ransom Myers
Fisheries expert dies

Gulf Voices
Governor of growth

Profile: Rollie Barnaby
University of New Hampshire

Brownfield Bog
A sense of place grows with time

Science Insights
Ecosystem-based management

What Lies Beneath
Exploring the Gulf of Maine Biodiversity Discovery Corridor

Treating Wastewater
Nova Scotia's new approaches

Toxins in Casco Bay
Stubborn pollution remains

Red tide studies to be expanded

Outside the Gulf: A dolphin's tale

Book Reviews
- Sippewissett: Or, Life on a Salt Marsh
- The Urban Whale: North Atlantic Right Whales at the Crossroads

In the News:
- What is hindering cod recovery?
- Musquash Estuary is Canada's sixth MPA
- Restoring fishways on Mount Desert Island
- Cloning the smell of the sea

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Blue Ocean Society staff naturalist Patty Adell (left) notes the items of debris two volunteers have picked up from Jenness State Beach in Rye, New Hampshire.

Beach debris: Stemming the tide of trash

By Susan Llewelyn Leach

The list sounds like a cross between a hardware store and a yard sale: refrigerators, portable toilets, step ladders, tires, children's toys, balloons, batteries, light bulbs, fishing lines, crates, clothes, shoes…. There's something for everyone. And it all washed up on a beach in Massachusetts last year.

As summer approaches and beaches get spruced-up, what is found dumped along the shoreline, either by ocean waves or beachgoers, is gaining more visibility, and volume, experts said. Although a fridge might be hard to miss, the bulk of what litters the coast is regular trash that often gets buried in the sand. The biggest offender: cigarette butts, followed by cans, plastics, and rope.

Q&A: Susan Shaw
Explorers Club Fellow and MERI Founder

By Lori Valigra


Susan Shaw knows a lot about overexposure, both as a photographer and a marine toxicologist focused on mammals. She first became aware of the dangers of toxic chemicals while working in the darkroom at Columbia University, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in film. After working in film and photography for a decade, she went on to earn a Masters and Doctoral degree in Public Health/Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia, concentrating on the effects of toxic chemicals on people and animals.