The New York Harbor, once teemed with more than 200,000 acres of live oyster reefs, 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.
The Billion Oyster Project has worked since 2014 to rebuild oyster reefs in the waters surrounding New York City. The creatures are natural purifiers: A single adult oyster can cleanse about 50 gallons of water per day. And their reefs can provide a habitat for other marine life and help protect New York’s shores against storm surge during rough weather.
The group has so far restored about 30 million oysters to local waters. But that’s still a tiny fraction of what used to thrive in the area.
The project’s progress is “exciting and it’s validating in a big way — but it’s also sobering because there’s a long way to go,” he said.