New Jersey environmental officials are allowing an experimental oyster colony at a Navy pier to expand.

Stefano Scata, Getty Images

The goal of Rutgers University and the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper group's researchers is to re-establish the once-plentiful shellfish in the Raritan Bay to help improve its water quality.

The state Department of Environmental Protection allowed the groups to use nearly 11 acres off the Earle Naval Weapons Station to grow oysters and expand its research reef.

The groups put bags of oysters into the bay in October 2011, and about 90 percent of them survived the winter. Buoyed by those results, the researchers applied to expand the project.

Oysters naturally filter the water in which they live, making them, at least on paper, ideal cleaning agents for the Raritan Bay.


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