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FAQ

What restoration projects do you have going on right now?

We are building oyster reefs and oyster nurseries across NY Harbor. Explore the map to learn more.

By the year 2035, we aim to restore 100 acres of oyster reefs.

Can anyone visit the oyster reefs and nurseries?

We are thrilled to host volunteer days at Community Reefs. View our volunteer opportunities and subscribe to our e-newsletter for updates.

How many schools do you work with?

We believe in restoration through education and education through restoration. We currently work with 70 NYC schools.

How did the Billion Oyster Project get started?

The Billion Oyster Project grew out of the New York Harbor School, where students began planting oysters in 2009 as part of their maritime curriculum. In 2014 the Billion Oyster Project became its own restoration and education initiative, which works closely with New York Harbor School and other schools throughout New York City.

Billion Oyster Project was founded by Pete Malinowski and Murray Fisher. Pete is currently the project’s Executive Director, and Murray is Chair of the Board. Pete and Murray’s passion for restoration-through-education and education-through-restoration began at the New York Harbor School, where Murray was Co-founder and Program Director and Pete taught Aquaculture.

How do you work with NYC restaurants?

60+ restaurants divert their oyster shells from landfills and restore them to New York Harbor with Billion Oyster Project. Learn more.

Can we eat the oysters out of New York Harbor?

No! Since there are combined sewage overflows (CSOs) in New York City, and other persistent pollutants that would be harmful to digest, eating oysters out of the harbor right now would be toxic.

What are some of the challenges that you face doing oyster restoration in New York Harbor?

  • We are trying to do something new! While oyster reefs covered New York Harbor when Henry Hudson arrived (did you know this is how Pearl Street got its name?), oyster reefs have not been plentiful in many years. We’re learning as we continue to grow our reefs.
  • Water quality in New York Harbor is improving, but many pollutants still persist, such as heavy metals.
  • As we restore oysters to New York Harbor, we need to be very careful that people don’t eat them. As food they would be toxic (see above). Maybe someday we’ll be able to eat them again (sustainably of course)!

How can we get involved with the Billion Oyster Project?

All New Yorkers:

  • Follow the journey toward 1 billion oysters restored. Subscribe to Billion Oyster Project’s e-newsletter at bit.ly/BOPnews, and follow @billionoyster on Twitter and Instagram and @billionoysterproject on Facebook.
  • Volunteer on Governors Island or at a Community Reef.
  • Make a gift, or contact Laurie Bratone about sponsorship opportunities.
  • Refer a friend! It is only thanks to many voices and contributors that we can breathe new (and old) life into New York Harbor.

Teachers: Sign up for Billion Oyster Project curriculum.

Restaurants: Billion Oyster Project would love to use your used oyster shells!