The humble oyster can do more for us than we know. So what can we do for the oyster? There are several oyster reef restoration projects happening around the country. Get involved!
Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is a long-term, large-scale plan to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor over the next twenty years and in the process educate thousands of young people in New York City about the ecology and economy of their local marine environment. BOP is a partnership of schools, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals all working together to grow oysters and make our city a healthier and more resilient place to live. This partnership also includes local, state, and federal regulatory agencies—the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – with whom we work closely to certify and monitor our aquaculture methodology and ongoing habitat restoration projects.
NY/NJ Baykeeper is the citizen guardian of the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. Since 1989, we’ve worked to protect, preserve, and restore the environment of the most urban estuary on Earth – benefiting its natural and human communities. Through our Estuary-wide programs we seek to end pollution, improve public access, conserve and restore public lands, restore aquatic habitats, encourage appropriate and discourage inappropriate development, carry out public education, and work with federal and NY/NJ state regulators and citizen groups as partners in planning for a sustainable future for the Hudson-Raritan Estuary watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recognizes that saving the Bay is uniquely tied to restoring the native oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Historically, Chesapeake oysters were the Bay’s most valuable fishery. Ecologically, native oysters are equally important: they filter algae, sediment, and other pollutants. Oyster reefs also provide habitat for fish, crabs, and other Bay organisms. The Bay’s native oyster population has been estimated at as low as one percent of historic levels, making restoration critical to help improve the Bay’s water quality and increase its economic viability. In support of re-establishing this keystone species, CBF has established three facilities devoted to restoration of Crassostrea virginica.
The Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition is a partnership, initiated by seven East and West Coast shellfish farms, and The Nature Conservancy. The founding farms recognize that climate change poses a threat to business and food production for a rapidly growing human population. The Coalition is open to members representing all food sectors who wish to engage with consumers and policy makers to help chart America’s course towards a low carbon future. Shellfish growers are seeing a range of impacts on their businesses and their bottom lines. Some are experiencing the impact of ocean acidification, which is influenced by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, on larval oysters that are unable to grow shell properly. Others are seeing the impacts of sea level rise on their coastal businesses. And, increased frequency and intensity of storms impacts shellfish growers’ ability to get their products to market reliably.