• In this July 20, 2016, photo, Dave Ambrose, left, and Nate Robinnson, right, use shovels to move piles of whelk shells with tiny oysters growing on them on a boat in Little Egg Harbor, N.J. Efforts to restore once-abundant oyster populations are underway throughout the United States, and researchers and volunteers say they are optimistic the small-scale efforts will pave the way for a major comeback of oysters, whose populations have dwindled drastically from levels seen in the 1800s. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

    Maturing oyster recovery projects bring calls for money

    LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. (AP) — Oysters were once so abundant in New Jersey that vacationers would clamber off trains, wade into the water and pluck handfuls to roast for dinner. Their colonies piled so high that boats would sometimes run aground on them, and they were incorporated into navigation maps. Even earlier, Native American tribes would have oyster feasts on the banks of coastal inlets.