you can

Restore Our Harbor

Volunteers are Helping

Restoration is a community effort! Whether at our headquarters on Governors Island or at a Community Oyster Reef near you, there are many opportunities to help. All ages welcome!

The Harbor as a Classroom

Our school programming puts students at the center of the movement to restore oysters to New York City waters. Explore our Billion Oyster Classroom program, currently in 70+ New York City schools, and high school at the Harbor School.

Restaurants are Helping

Restaurants play a crucial role by donating spent shells to BOP's aquaculture program. NYC restaurants currently throw away about 500,000 shells per week, most of which end up in distant landfills. BOP collects this valuable resource to create growing medium for oysters and building blocks of new reefs.


our story



acres of oyster reefs

When Henry Hudson entered New York Harbor in 1609, he had to navigate the Half Moon around 220,000 acres of oyster reefs, which had sustained the local Lenape people for generations. The pristine estuary, with oysters at the base, hosted thousands of associated species and was one of the most biologically productive, diverse, and dynamic environments on the planet.


The Harbor was nearly lifeless and toxic for over

50 years


Clean Water Act

By 1906, New Yorkers had eaten every last oyster, reefs were dredged up or covered in silt, and the water quality was too poor for regeneration of oysters or anything else for that matter (not even the hardy boring worm which eats into wooden pilings and ship bottoms). The Harbor was toxic and nearly lifeless for more than 50 years until the passage of the Clean Water Act in which prohibited dumping of waste and raw sewage into the Harbor.


At the turn of the 21st century, thanks to environmental laws like the Clean Water Act, water quality improved so that conditions were finally ripe for large-scale restoration and the Billion Oyster Project was launched.


1 Billion

Live Oysters

100 acres

of oyster reefs

By 2035, one billion live oysters will be distributed around 100 acres of reefs, making the Harbor once again the most productive waterbody in the North Atlantic and reclaiming its title as the oyster capital of the world.

we need your


Number of oysters restored


Gallons of water

19.7 trillion

Pounds of Nitrogen removed


Pounds of shell
reclaimed & recycled