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We’re restoring one billion oysters to New York Harbor.

Our mission: To restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives. Learn more.

What can one billion oysters do?

  • Bring more seahorses, whales, and seals to New York Harbor.
    Yes, there are seahorses in New York Harbor! Like coral reefs, oyster reefs provide 3D habitat for hundreds of species—similar to providing the infrastructure for a lively underwater animal city.
  • Filter water.
    As they eat, oysters help to clarify the water and remove certain pollutants, including nitrogen. Excessive nitrogen triggers algal blooms that deplete the water of oxygen and create “dead zones.”
  • Help protect from storms like Hurricane Sandy.
    Oyster reefs can soften the blow of large waves, reduce flooding, and prevent erosion along shorelines.
  • Educate.
    As students across New York participate in oyster restoration as part of their STEM education, their vision of the city and of their own ability to make a difference skyrockets.

Key Facts

Since launching in 2014…

  • 28 million oysters planted
  • 12 oyster reefs (7 acres) active, including 4 community reefs where New Yorkers can volunteer to help monitor the reefs
  • 3 floating oyster hubs active (structures that allow us to utilize urban spaces such as piers, marinas, and basins for growing oysters)
  • 6,000+ local students learning through restoration with Billion Oyster Project’s hands-on curriculum
  • 1,000,000 pounds of oyster shells diverted from landfills and returned to the harbor, thanks to 75+ participating NYC restaurants
  • 9,000 volunteers engaged in hands-on restoration work


Browse responses.

Project History

Watch this brief video to learn more about how and why Billion Oyster Project started.

Recent Releases & Advisories

Thurs, Oct 11: #HarborUp Party Benefits NY Harbor School
Tickets On Sale Now for an Oyster Party under the stars on Governors Island, celebrating the 15th anniversary of The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

Thurs, Oct 11: NY Harbor School 15th Anniversary Celebration
Billion Oyster Project to Host a Panel Discussion
on the Intersection of Restoration and Education

Wed, Sep 12: Press Conference at Staten Island Ferry

Reimagining Aquariums at Staten Island Ferry Terminal
Staten Island Ferry Terminal Aquariums
Will Become Educational Exhibit with Billion Oyster Project
August 2018

Blue Point Brewing: $20K Gift and Beer That Gives Back
Blue Point Brewing Company Donates $20,000 to nonprofit Billion Oyster Project and Releases New Beer to Benefit Oyster Reef Restoration in NYC
July 2018


Billion Oyster Project is a nonprofit organization on a mission to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor through public education initiatives. Why oysters? Their reefs have the ability to filter water, provide habitat for many marine species, and help shield NYC shorelines from storm damage.

Founded on the belief that restoration without education is temporary, and observing that learning outcomes improve when students have the opportunity to work on real restoration projects, collaborating with public schools is fundamental to Billion Oyster Project’s work. Billion Oyster Project designs STEM curriculum through the lens of oyster restoration for New York City schools, engages The Urban Assembly New York Harbor students in large-scale restoration projects, collects discarded oyster shells from 75 New York City restaurants, and engages thousands of volunteers. The project has planted 28 million oysters and installed 12 reef sites so far, with 6,000+ students and 9,000+ volunteers.

To learn more, subscribe to Billion Oyster Project’s email list at, and follow @billionoyster on Twitter and Instagram and @billionoysterproject on Facebook.