The New York Harbor for years has been polluted and depleted of marine life. But one nonprofit is working to clean the murky water and revive its long-lost ecosystem – one oyster at a time.
Malinowski said his team is seeing promising signs. Last year, there was a “dramatic” increase in the number of wild oysters that latched on to Billion Oyster Projects’ reefs. “For restoration to be successful, you need the recruitment of wild oysters from the system,” Malinowski said. It could help the population grow exponentially.
How it works
Billion Oyster Project partners with more than 70 restaurants in New York City. The businesses save up their oyster shells rather than tossing them, and a collection partner for the Billion Oyster Project rounds them up and carts them off to Governors Island, a small island due east of the Statue of Liberty.The shells are then left outside for at least a year. This allows the elements to naturally cleanse them of organic matter before they are sent to the the New York Harbor School, a maritime-focused public high school on Governors Island, which is heavily involved in the project.Students grow and hatch baby oysters that are then attached to the cleaned shells. The shells and larvae are grouped together and strategically placed somewhere off New York’s coastline.