This year’s Tide of Moriches & Manorville INSPIRATION AWARD WINNER The Moriches Bay Project


The 2023 winner of the Tide of Moriches & Manorville Inspiration Awards goes to The Moriches Bay Project for their small, grassroots effort to protect our waters.

The project is not-for-profit 501(c)3 with a mission is to improve water in Moriches Bay. Project volunteers work towards this goal through, mainly, oyster farming. Their goal is to continue to double the number of oysters each year, as one oyster filters up to 50 gallons of water per day.

In the first year, the Moriches Bay Project put 50,000 oysters in the bay, created two oyster farms holding up to 5,000 oysters each, and established the first oyster bed in Moriches Bay.

By the end of last season, with the support of local businesses and sponsors, they put more than 4,000,000 oysters in the bay, removing 2,300 pounds of nitrogen from the bay, and engaged and educated thousands of people.

“In 11 years, we have raised and seeded over 4 million oysters into Moriches Bay,” the website reads. “These oysters serve as the keystone species, forming new habitats and actively filtering the bay.”

Last season alone, the Moriches Bay Project seeded 600,000 oysters in the bay.

The project was established in 2012 by longtime residents and friends Aram Terchunian and Laura Fabrizio, and Westhampton native Dwight Surgan. They were later  joined by Jim Hulme, John Jeanes, and Anthony Sferrazza a few years later. 

“It’s all about the people! At the foundation of the MBP is a core group of individuals who have been working together for over a decade. Throughout the years, we have grown such a close connection that it truly feels like a family,” said Surgan of the project. “We also have a shared belief that the project should be an open door to the local community. As a grassroots organization, we have been fortunate enough to find success due to the dedication of our team and volunteers. The project has been able to make an impact thanks to the many outstanding individuals who have come together to work towards the common goal of improving our waterways and doing what we can to leave things better than we found them.  I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished so far, and grateful to be a part of a community that has love and passion for the environment. “

Since being established in 2012, they have done this through partnerships with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Southampton Town trustees, and Brookhaven Town.

The members are also dedicated to bringing awareness to the local community by educating children and visiting local school districts.

The MB Project currently involves over 4,000 people every year, including volunteers raising awareness and their fundraisers. Their annual fundraiser will be held in May.

“We all live, work, or play on the bay; we all have a responsibility to care for it,” said Fabrizio, co-founder of Moriches Bay Project. “I think one of the things I am most proud of is the community awareness that we’re doing.” 

For those interested visit:


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here