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  • Eversource collaborates with University of New Hampshire to support Oyster Reef Restoration Project in Great Bay



    News Release


    Eversource Collaborates with University of New Hampshire to Support Oyster Reef Restoration Project in Great Bay


    Energy company remains committed to environmental stewardship


    MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (October 28, 2020) — As part of Eversource’s commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship, the energy company is helping support the University of New Hampshire in oyster reef restoration in Great Bay, contributing more than 14,000 adult oysters for reef development research. The collaboration included the UNH’s Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, New Hampshire Fish and Game and Fat Dog Shellfish Company, and the oysters were harvested as part of the company’s recently completed Seacoast Reliability Project.


    “The oysters Eversource contributed are enabling our team to advance our research on the most effective methods of promoting reef restoration in Great Bay,” said Dr. Ray Grizzle, a biological sciences research professor at the University of New Hampshire. “We believe previous reef restoration sites were most successful when they were located near reproducing adult oysters, and we’re excited to test this hypothesis. Because purchasing a large quantity of adult oysters is cost prohibitive, this research wouldn’t be possible without Eversource’s support.”


    The oysters Eversource contributed to UNH’s research project were harvested by a local oyster farmer and stored for the winter at the Fat Dog Shellfish Company’s Broad Cove Farm. In June, the oysters were moved under the guidance of Dr. Grizzle and his team to a permitted research site in southwest Great Bay at the mouth of the Squamscott River, where a reef base was constructed for the oysters using approximately 200 cubic yards of seasoned surf clam shell.


    Oyster reef restoration in New Hampshire is typically a two-step process that involves constructing a base of clam or oyster shells, then deploying live, immature oysters produced in the laboratory – a process that is not consistently successful. With Eversource’s contribution of adult oysters, Dr. Grizzle’s team will test the potential for using mature oysters that can be obtained from local farmers for reef development. This new restoration area will be sampled each year to determine the effectiveness of the method. In addition to promoting conservation within Great Bay and beyond, the research has the potential to open a market for oversized oysters that are not generally appealing to local restaurants.


    “This project is a win-win for the ecological health of Great Bay and local oyster farmers in the Seacoast area,” said Eversource Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Catherine Finneran. “We’re proud to support Dr. Grizzle and his team conducting this valuable, environmental research and we look forward to our continued partnership with the University of New Hampshire to advance conservation efforts that help to ensure future generations can benefit from our rich natural resources.”


    To learn more about Dr. Grizzle and his research, please visit UNH’s College of Life Science and Agriculture online.


    Photo caption: Ray Grizzle, biological sciences research professor, and Krystin Ward, lab research supervisor, both at the University of New Hampshire, distribute oyster shells in Great Bay as part of UNH’s oyster restoration program. Courtesy: UNH

    Ray Grizzle and Krystin Ward.



    Eversource (NYSE: ES), celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship, is the #1 energy company in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2020 and recognized as one of America’s Most JUST Companies and the #1 utility by Forbes and JUST Capital. Eversource is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 519,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns, and also supplies water to approximately 9,500 homes and businesses in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye. Eversource is proud to be recognized as the #1 contributor to United Way in New Hampshire. Eversource harnesses the commitment of approximately 8,300 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. The #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, the company is empowering a clean energy future in the Northeast, with nationally-recognized energy efficiency solutions and successful programs to integrate new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage, into the electric system. For more information, please visit eversource.com, and follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. For more information on our water services, visit aquarionwater.com.





    Kaitlyn Woods



    University of New Hampshire

    Robbin Ray

    UNH Media Relations