Oysters act as natural water filters and are the original ecosystem engineers of the New York Harbor. As a result of overharvesting, dredging and pollution, the harbor’s oyster population has been depleted. The Billion Oyster Project (BOP), coordinated The New York Harbor School, is set to reverse these effects by restoring one billion live oysters to New York Harbor by 2035, engaging hundreds of thousands of school children in marine restoration-based STEM education programs, and coordinating a network of hundreds of New York City restaurant and food businesses in the recycling of oyster shells for the reef.  

BOP’s activities have spread across all five New York City boroughs and beyond. An example is a unique oyster habitat restoration effort unfolding in the Hudson River. Recently, 422 Billion Oyster Project reef structures and 881 reef balls were deployed across five acres of the Hudson River by marine contractors from the NY Thruway Authority — making it the largest oyster restoration project in the region to date. This effort, led by the Hudson River Foundation (HRF), in partnership with Billion Oyster Project, and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), is a mitigation measure to compensate for habitat impacts from the construction of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

Discover more about this groundbreaking project here. 

Impact: 

30,000,000 oysters restored

7 trillion gallons of water filtered

72,500 pounds of nitrogen removed

1,400,000 pounds of shell reclaimed & recycled