A Bit of Local History on the Half-Shell
By Paul Hicks
In June 2016, our favorite local newspaper ran a fascinating story about The Billion Oyster Project (“TBOP”). It described how this Manhattan-based program has been adopted locally as “a long-term school and community project designed to increase the oyster population of Blind Brook and Long Island Sound and, at the same time to clean waters that once teemed with edible shellfish.”
TBOP collects oyster shells from New York City’s restaurants and uses them to create reefs where oyster spat (fertilized eggs) can attach and grow. Peter Malinowski, TBOP’s innovative head, believes that restoring the oyster habitats will support many other animals native to New York Harbor. Oyster shells are also being used to create new barriers to flooding from storm surges. In Jamaica Bay, near John F Kennedy airport, TBOP has added nearly 50,000 adult oysters, making it the largest single installation for breeding oysters in the city.