At a Glance

Innovative ecosystem pilot projects are being implemented across Jamaica Bay to successfully improve water quality and reintroduce ecosystems no longer found within the Bay including eelgrass beds and oyster reefs.

Project Description

Working with our joint venture partners, Biohabitats is leading the effort to implement a range of ecosystem restoration pilot projects within the Jamaica Bay watershed in New York City. These pilot projects were identified as part of the Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan, which is focused on cleaning the water of the Bay and reestablishing previously lost ecosystems. A range of projects is being pursued. Efforts that have occurred include harvesting macroalgae from the Bay interior to convert to biofuel, introducing algal turf scrubber technology at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), placement of eel grass plantings, installation of an oyster bed and oyster reef balls, and installation of floating wetland wave attenuators.

Algal turf scrubbers® (ATS™) are unique wastewater treatment devices that mimic a stream ecosystem in a constructed environment designed to promote the growth of algae. Harnessing the natural abilities of algae, bacteria, and phytoplankton to remove pollutants from water, the system filters nutrients from a small portion of the effluent from a WWTP. The microalgae from the Algal turf scrubbers are periodically harvested and can be used as a source of biofuel, along with the macroalgae harvested from the Bay, creating a sustainable, “green” technology.

Efforts to reestablish eelgrass and oysters within the Bay are ongoing. To date, approximately 1,000 eelgrass plants, an oyster bed and oyster reef balls have been installed in the Bay. Additional eelgrass plantings are planned.



Hudson River

Physiographic Province

Atlantic Coastal Plain


Jamaica Bay

Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration, Research & Development


New York City Department of Environmental Protection


New York City, New York, United States

Project Team
  • Hazen & Sawyer and HDR