News is out today that New York has embarked on a Billion Oyster Project – a fabulous endeavor, speaking as someone who adores fresh oysters. Blue Point please. The neatest technology of the project is that all the receiving beds are made from recycled toilet parts! So maybe now Flushing Queen can be the new hub for ousters???
The Gothamist website is where I tripped across the story, written by Jen Chung. Photos I’ve posted here were taken by NYC Department of Environment Protection.
Below copy from the linked Gothamist story…
The waters around NYC were once packed with oysters, but over harvesting and our growing population—and its considerable sewage—helped make them “functionally extinct.” But now the NYC Department of Environmental Protection is in the midst of planting 50,000 in Jamaica Bay. “This oyster bed will serve multiple purposes—protecting our wetlands from erosion, naturally filtering our water and providing a home for our sea dwellers are just a few,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “More broadly, this oyster bed is a small but necessary step in our broader OneNYC commitment to create a more sustainable and more resilient City.”
This will be “the largest single installation of breeding oysters,” according to the city. The NYC DEP is working with the Billion Oyster Project and a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Interior (the DEP is kicking in $375,000). From the press release:
The New York/New Jersey Harbor was once blanketed by oysters, but due to over harvesting, dredging and pollution, they became functionally extinct decades ago. Oysters are widely recognized as a key component of a healthy marine ecosystem as they filter pollutants from the water, help to protect wetlands and shoreline from erosion and storm surge, and provide habitat for communities of fish and other aquatic organisms. Once the oyster installation is complete, water quality in the vicinity of the beds will be monitored for anticipated improvements in dissolved oxygen, nitrogen removal and turbidity. In addition, the beds will be evaluated for the recruitment of new oysters…
The installation will include a central donor bed composed of 50,000 adult and spat-on-shell oysters [Ed: um, really? That just ruined my oyster enjoyment, for life!] as well as four smaller receiving beds composed of clam/oyster shell and broken porcelain. The porcelain was harvested from nearly 5,000 inefficient toilets that were recycled from the citywide water conservation program. Having reached reproductive maturity, it is anticipated that the adult oysters will spawn. The resulting fertilized eggs will grow as free-floating larvae in the water column until the young oysters will attach themselves to the shells of the parent oysters on the donor bed or onto any one of the four receiver beds. With successful establishment and recruitment, the donor bed and the receiving beds are anticipated to show a measurable increase in oyster larvae attachment as well as an increase in the growth of mature oysters. Once established, the hope is that the oysters will become self-sustaining, spawning seasonally and providing new recruits.
My only question: What’s an inefficient toilet???