Mike Bloomberg’s million trees may soon have some pollution neutralizing company if The New York Harbor Foundation succeeds in it’s effort to repopulate the harbor with a billion oysters. The Foundation has been working with students from the Governor’s Island-based New York Harbor School over the last six years to foster oyster nurseries and conduct long-term research projects at locations throughout the harbor.
The kids recently set up a riverside nursery along a stretch of Hudson River Greenway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Municipal signage warns would-be harvesters to steer clear of the oysters, which may be contaminated by raw sewage and industrial waste. I’m all for leaving harbor oyster colonies alone to thrive but wouldn’t mind watching Anthony Bourdain knock back a few between beers and a couple of butts.
The project is a tiny Manhattan outpost of The Billion Oyster Project, a $60 million dollar “living breakwater,” that is being farmed along Staten Island’s South Shore as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s effort to flood-proof the high risk area. The Billion Oyster Project feeds into a prize-winning, landscape-scale initiative designed by SCAPE Landscape Architects to reduce wave action. As part of the plan, New York City students help seed the oyster beds alongside educators, scientist and engineers and learn about resiliency and the area’s maritime history. If all goes as planned, thriving oyster reefs, once a mainstay of sustenance and commerce along New York City shores, could be reestablished in three-to-five years.