Living, Growing Breakwaters: Staten Island and Raritan Bay

New York

Staten Island and Raritan Bay were hard hit by Sandy. Once protected by a wide shelf and series of oyster reefs, much of the shore of Staten Island remains exposed to wave action and coastal erosion. Our layered strategy introduces protective breakwaters and interior tidal flats that can dissipate wave energy and slow the water, while rebuilding sustainable oyster populations within the Harbor. Working with locally impacted communities a range of alternative futures can be developed that are effective, resilient, and complimentary to the ongoing shoreline work of the area.

Staten Island and Raritan Bay offers many potential breeding oyster colony sites that can continuously nourish this regional reef restoration network, slowing and cleaning harbor waters. The shape and depth of the harbor, its central location, water quality conditions, tidal current flow, successful oyster restoration efforts, and risk-reduction potentials all point to this thread of shallow bathymetry as the right site in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary system to cultivate a network of large scale habitat breakwaters and reefs.

Download the boards presented by SCAPE /Landscape Architecture in 2013.

Go to team page


November 8, 2013 6:38 pm
from Tony Rose

The harbor is due for the return of oysters. The cleaner waters can now support life and relief from the flat, shallow bottom can break wave action. They are self perpetuating are life can help educate the next generation of environmentally aware citizens.

But, lets not fool ourselves. When the water rises, anyone who has placed the self at risk will still face the consequences. High waters will return and even sea walls will not protect low-lying areas.


December 11, 2013 5:14 pm
from Diane Silverman

I think it’s a beautiful project. But will it also be approved by the Army Corp. of Engineers by which it would lower the flood insurance rates?


March 12, 2014 9:03 pm
from kartit



September 20, 2014 9:46 am
from Kerri Ucic

Watched this on channel 13, great idea using a natural filtering system as a break wall! So many benefits leading from this, better ecosystem, more oysters, etc.


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