Before New York Harbour became home to the largest city in the United States, it was home to one of the largest oyster populations in the world. A century later, however, the oyster population had dwindled to almost zero.
The Billion Oyster Project is seeking to restore New York Harbour’s title as the oyster capital of the world and repopulate the harbour with one billion live oysters by 2035. The citizen-science project aims to engage thousands of schoolchildren in marine restoration-based STEM education programs.
The Billion Oyster Project placed two oyster cages off the pier at our Sims Municipal Recycling facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Students and teachers have participated in checking the cages, but it had been several years. In the summer of 2020, a group from Billion Oyster Project came to assess our oyster cages. We learned that one cage had been lost, but could potentially still be developing life at the bottom of the harbour, and one remained and contained living and growing oysters and marine life. With the Statue of Liberty rising up from the horizon, Billion Oyster Project volunteers assessed whether the oysters were growing, reproducing and creating a sustainable population.
Beyond the water-filtering powers of oysters, their reefs can provide habitat for hundreds of species. They also can protect the city from storm damage by softening the blow of large waves, reducing flooding and preventing erosion along the shorelines. We are proud to work with Billion Oyster Project, and in the future, look forward to inviting students to conduct hands-on experiments in New York Harbour and help solve local environmental challenges.
Posted in: Sustainability