Real Partnerships: The Billion Oyster Project

“A billion oysters would filter the standing amount of water in New York Harbor over the course of three days” —Murray Fisher, President of the New York Harbor Foundation

We only have one earth and it’s organizations like the Billion Oyster Project that give us hope for the future of our environment.

Since our very first days in 2010 we have given 1% of our sales to grassroots environmental organizations as members of 1% for the Planet—a network of businesses committed to supporting a healthy, natural environment. We believe that corporate responsibility is not an option, but a requirement for doing business.

Over the past six years we have donated to more than 30 nonprofit organizations around the United States. And in 2016 we have been incredibly proud to partner with the Billion Oyster Project—an organization that is re-connecting New Yorkers to the water through an estuary re-wilding project.

Through this partnership and in concert with our commitment to 1% for the Planet, we have created a short film that helps to tell the story of the Billion Oyster Project and their purpose by highlighting the hard work they are doing everyday to breathe life back into New York Harbor. Hit the jump to hear some pearls of wisdom as to why these bivalve mollusks are such a critical part of the marine ecosystem.

Here’s some additional info on the Billion Oyster Project:

New York Harbor was once a thriving ecosystem—in fact, at one point more than 50% of the world’s oysters were coming out of the harbor. However, years of over-harvesting and pollution killed off virtually all oysters and life within the once productive harbor.

The oyster is a an ecosystem engineer. They have a disproportionately positive impact within NY Harbor, they create a habitat of biodiversity, play a role in resilience as natural storm barriers, and filter a tremendous amount of water. On average an adult oyster can filter over one gallon of water every hour. A billion oysters would filter the the standing amount of water in New York Harbor over the course of three days

What’s the story behind the name?
Not only does the number one billion stand out, it represents the point where the oyster population can replicate and build on their own.

How do they get to a billion?

Collect oysters from restaurants. Currently the BOP collects shells from over 50 restaurants in NYC, averaging 4 tons of shells per week. And that’s only about 10% of the oyster shells consumed!
– Cure the oyster shells and grow new oysters––these new baby oysters attach themselves to the collected shells.
– Put this new growth down into the harbor as reefs. Once a reef is in place in creates a safe haven for wildlife. There is a staggering amount of growth surrounding the reefs beyond the growth of the oysters.
– Educate the public and involve students. Though their partnership with the New York Harbor School and communities there is a vast network of people getting involved everyday to contribute to the project.

“The hope for sustainable cities is if we can have wilderness in cities by re-wilding these estuaries”

Want to play a part? You can get involved with the Billion Oyster Project here.