Following The Billion Oyster Project From Governor’s Island to Tribeca




Bernice Abbott, 1937. Oyster Houses, South Street and Pike Slip, Manhattan. Image via NYPL

The Billion Oyster Project began its restoration project off Governor’s Island in June, 2018. This year, we found them supplying oysters to the Hudson River Project. Their mission is to restore oyster reefs to New York Harbor with a billion oysters by 2035.

Billion Oyster Project and Governors Island welcomed viewers to watch as 422 oyster reef structures (specially designed steel “gabions” filled with shells) leave the island and head for the Hudson River, where they will provide habitat to help enhance the wild oyster population.

Once in the water, these oyster reef structures will combine to create the largest reef system in Billion Oyster Project history—covering more than 5 acres, with the intent of creating healthy marine habitat for years to come.

The project on Governor’s Island moved forward with the help of hundreds of volunteers, students, restaurants, and Harbor School staff who helped make this happenwelding gabion frames, assembling wire mesh inserts, and filling gabions with shells for wild baby oysters to attach to.

Map via Hudson River Park

Following the Billion Oyster Project into 2021 in Hudson River Park, where a $1.5 million project designed by Hudson River Park Trust, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the engineering firm of Moffatt and Nichol will use seeded oysters from the Billion Oyster Project to create a large-scale habitat restoration.

The Hudson River project began in July, 2021, with a hope that it will maintain the biodiversity in the Hudson River Estuary. The oysters, attached to more than 200 habitats, are located between Piers 26 and 34 off Tribeca. These habitats have also become home to many other species like oyster toadfish, skillet fish, blue crabs, mud crabs and grass shrimp. Researchers from the River Project will open a free aquarium at Pier 40, designed to educate the public about marine life in this area.

Read more about the history of oysters in our area dating back to when the Lenape arrived about 3,000 years ago.

Follow Billion Oyster Project on Facebook. Follow The Oyster Project at Hudson River Park. Follow the habitat restoration management at Riverkeeper.