Our Story

The Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is an initiative of New York Harbor Foundation that aims to restore a sustainable oyster population to New York Harbor by 2035 and in the process educate thousands of young people in New York City about their local marine environment and reconnect all New Yorkers to their Harbor.  To date, sixty five public schools have partnered with the project to provide authentic, place-based science and math lessons through the lens of oyster restoration and over 55 restaurants have partnered with the project to provide discarded shells for seeding substrate. BOP is a partnership of schools, restaurants, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals all working together to restore oysters and make our city a healthier and more resilient place to live. Together, we have already restored over twenty million oysters to New York Harbor. To learn more, please visit our website BOP.NYC

Why Oysters

Oysters were the keystone species and original ecosystem engineers of New York Harbor. Oyster reefs once covered more than 220,000 acres of the Hudson River estuary. They provided valuable ecosystem services to the region by filtering water, providing habitat for other marine species and attenuating wave energy. Today, oysters are functionally extinct in the Harbor as a result of overharvesting, dredging and pollution. The absence of oysters has impaired our estuary’s ability to clean the water and absorb excess nitrogen; the loss of reefs has reduced protective habitat, destabilized the sea floor and left our shoreline vulnerable to destructive wave action. The Billion Oyster Project aims to reverse these effects by bringing oysters and their reef habitat back to New York Harbor. Restoring oysters and reefs will, over time, restore the local marine ecosystem’s natural mechanisms for maintaining itself, resulting in cleaner water and greater biodiversity. Moreover, engaging students and the general public in this work will build a culture of stewardship and a more robust understanding and appreciation of the Harbor for future generations.



Please consider a gift to help us take advantage of this incredible opportunity to activate an entire metropolitan community to restore the ecosystem where we live. Your gift to the New York Harbor Foundation will be used where needed most to ensure that the good work and programs pioneered at the Harbor School can spread to students in the entire Harbor estuary bioregion. 
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BOP and Harbor School hold regularly scheduled public volunteer days on Governors Island throughout the Spring and Fall. Volunteers work alongside Harbor School students and teachers to build and install oyster reefs, prepare recycled shell for seeding, sort and count baby oysters, and much more. Learn More


Help us share our mission by telling your friends and family about the work we are doing. Or, get a big group together and join us at the Billion Oyster Party for some hands on learning and eating.