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Restaurants are Helping

Recovering Oyster Shells, Restoring our Estuary

Shell collection: up & running

With our new shell curing station on the grounds of NRG Arthur Kill Generating Station on Staten Island; with the partnership of Earth Matter NY in the operation of the shell collection program; and with support from the 1772 Foundation and the Overbrook Foundation, this crucial aspect of BOP is now going strong!

If you’re a restaurant hoping to get involved, please submit your information here.  For more information, email us at restaurants@nyharbor.org.

You can also visit Earth Matter’s Shell Collection Program website to learn more about our program.

Save one oyster shell, restore 20!

Oysters spend the first two to three weeks of their lives as free-swimming larvae.  At the end of their larval period they settle out of the water column to the Harbor floor.  If they don’t find a hard surface they fall into the mud and die. The shells of other oysters are a perfect hard substrate. However, New York Harbor’s oyster reefs have disappeared.  One of our limiting factors for restoration is securing enough shell to build reefs and to use as substrate in the lab.

Fortunately, there is an abundant source of oyster shells right here in New York City.  New Yorkers eat up to half a million oysters in local restaurants every week.  Those shells are restoration gold– but they’ve been treated as waste and shipped to distant landfills.

Now, thanks to the BOP Shell Collection Program, we are able to capture a small portion of this resource and keep it out of the landfill.  Our Shell Collection Program reclaims this natural resource and prepares it for reuse. Shells are shuttled to the NRG Arthur Kill Generating Station where they will cure for a year before being reintroduced to the Harbor as cultch and reef substrate.  BOP will used these cured oyster shells to grow new oysters– up to 20 per saved shell– build habitat, and improve the quality of our Harbor and our City.

BOP Restaurant

It will take generations to restore the damage caused by centuries of overharvesting, pollution, and dredging. But we’re in it for the long haul. Our students have already restored 16 million oysters, and we’re adding new grow-out sites all the time– involving ever more New Yorkers in restoring their Harbor.   To keep up the pace, we need your help!

Donate your shells, become a BOP Restaurant Partner

If you are a restaurant hoping to join the Shell Collection Program full time or have us pick up shells at your next event, please fill out this form.

Want to get involved in another way? We are happy to work with you on special partnership projects such as educational seminars and fundraising events. Please email restaurants@nyharbor.org to further discuss alternative options.

To see a map of our current restaurant partners, go here.

If you have questions about the program logistics, they might be answered in our FAQ.