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Billion Oyster Project To Partner with Pew To Expand Shell Recycling, Oyster Reef Restoration Areas in New York State Waters

August 1, 2019

Collaboration with The Pew Charitable Trusts aims to accelerate success

Today, the Billion Oyster Project announced new work to expand the restoration of native oysters in New York waters, as part of a partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts. By combining Billion Oyster Project’s experience in restoring oysters in challenging environments with Pew’s capacity to convene experts and develop comprehensive solutions, state-wide efforts will get a boost.

“New York is a national leader in restoring native shellfish,” said Aaron Kornbluth, who works on conserving marine life in the United States for Pew. “We are very pleased to help those engaged in shellfish recovery to take the next step in rebuilding this resource to healthy levels across the state.” 

Pew is a non-partisan, nonprofit global research and public policy organization working to conserve nearshore habitat. Founded in 1948, Pew’s mission is to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life.

One of the partnership’s goals is to help create a statewide, holistic oyster management and recovery plan – a guidance document that will steer oyster restoration efforts toward greater success. Through the partnership, Pew and Billion Oyster Project will also:

– Increase the amount of shell available for reef restoration projects. One limiting factor for recovering native oysters is the absence of hard surfaces in the water on which oyster larvae can settle and grow. Pew and Billion Oyster Project will work to increase the ability of New York State’s restoration specialists to collect and cure these shells for reuse.

– Identify the best locations in the city and state for protected oyster reefs. Oysters can dramatically improve water quality, but oysters shouldn’t be eaten by humans until the water is clean enough. Pew and Billion Oyster Project will work with other restoration practitioners to identify the best locations for oyster reefs in New York City and across the state that can clean the water while being effectively protected from harvest.

– Expand restored oyster habitat in New York City waters. Billion Oyster Project will partner with Pew to increase collaboration with New York State officials, the City of New York, scientists, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders, to expand the seven acres of oyster reefs that have been restored to date, and to protect more than 10 acres of reef habitat for the benefit of residents and hundreds of marine species.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pew to work towards a clean, diverse and abundant New York Harbor,” said Pete Malinowski, executive director of Billion Oyster Project. “Hopefully Pew can help us change the narrative about what it means for people, especially in cities, to live near thriving resources.”

Learn more about how restoring oysters can make New York Harbor “the thriving ecosystem it once was” in a recent Q&A with Pew and the Billion Oyster Project’s Pete Malinowski and Katie Mosher.