New York Harbor, which is known to be highly polluted, is host to the Billion Oysters Project, which uses recycled shells from N.Y. restaurants to build a billion oyster reef.
Oysters are thought to be able to filter algae nitrites from 30 to 50 gallons of water per day. NY is also receiving federal subsidies for the bivalve project, because the oyster reef can provide a natural breakwater during storms.
So far, Peter Malinowski, the Executive Director of the project, has involved at least 8,000 high school and middle school children to monitor individual sections of the new reef in the harbor.
Not only does Malinowski teach environmental stewardship to the children, who grow the oysters that “spat” or attach themselves to the recycled shells, he has seen a resurgence in the animals that used to colonize New York Harbor. The future 13,000 foot Oyster Reef will support biodiversity by giving fish, crabs, anemones and shrimp places to hide.