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About BOP

Our Purpose

Imagine New York Harbor as one of the most dynamic environments on the planet. It once was. Together, we can revive our shared blue space, creating a healthier, happier, and more resilient city—one oyster reef at a time.

Our Mission

To restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives

Our Vision

A future in which New York Harbor is the center of a rich, diverse, and abundant estuary. The communities that surround this complex ecosystem have helped construct it, and in return benefit from it, with endless opportunities for work, education, and recreation. The harbor is a world-class public space, well used and well cared for—our Commons.

Why Oysters?

Oysters have a remarkable ability to filter nitrogen pollution from water as they eat. This is a heroic feat, because excessive nitrogen triggers algal blooms that deplete the water of oxygen and create “dead zones.”

Once all but extinct in New York City’s waters, the whales are undeniably back.” Popular Science
Oysters play a key role in attracting life. They earn their nickname as “ecosystem engineers” because we see biodiversity levels increase dramatically surrounding oyster reefs.

Oyster reefs can help to protect New York City from storm damage—softening the blow of large waves, reducing flooding, and preventing erosion.

Restoring oysters and reefs will, over time, restore the local marine ecosystem’s natural mechanisms for maintaining itself, resulting in cleaner water and greater biodiversity.

How We Do It

The hands-on science of reef construction and monitoring is executed through community oysters reefs, in-school restoration-based STEM learning opportunitiesvolunteer programs, community science and research, and restaurant shell collection.

New York Harbor School, a maritime high-school located on Governors Island, is the flagship school of the Billion Oyster Project, and its students contribute to Billion Oyster Project as part of their Career and Technical Education (CTE) experience—growing oysters, designing and building oyster reef structures, diving to monitor reefs, operating boats, performing marine biology research, and more.


  Photo Credit: Von Wong Photography

NYC's Oyster History

Did you know Pearl Street was named for the many oysters found in NYC waters? Learn more:

Thrillist: Why Oysters Are Ridiculously Important to the History of New York City 

New York Public Library: History on the Half-Shell: The Story of New York City and Its Oysters

Results to Date: BOP by the Numbers

Oysters planted in NY Harbor:
28 Million
Pounds of shell recycled:
1 million
Number of restaurants engaged:
Schools engaged:
High school students engaged:
Middle school students engaged:
6,500 +
Volunteers engaged:


Bringing a billion oysters back to New York harbor

Al Jazeera English, 2018

Key To A Cleaner Harbor? Diners, Restaurants, Students And 1 Billion Oysters

CBSNewYork, 2018

These kids are growing one billion oysters!

Vong Wong, 2017

How recycled shells can help restore an ecosystem

Zagat Documentaries, 2017

Can students return a billion oysters to New York Harbor?

PBS Newshour, 2017

Real Partnerships: Billion Oyster Project

Learn more about BOP and the work we're doing alongside New Yorkers of all ages!
Spindrift, 2016

Contact Us

Volunteer inquiries: volunteer@nyharbor.org

Media inquiries: media@nyharbor.org

Donation & General inquires: info@nyharbor.org

Education inquiries: educate@nyharbor.org

Finance inquiries: finance@nyharbor.org

Ext. 6503

Development and Communications:
Mailing Address
10 South St., Slip 7

New York, NY, 10004
Site Address
MAST Center
134 Carder Rd
Governors Island, NYC