The Billion Oyster Project has taken it upon themselves to correct this. It is a long-term, large-scale plan to restore one billion oysters to the New York Harbor over the next twenty years. With the contribution of local schools, businesses, and nonprofits, BOP is training as many young people as it can to understand the power of these tiny ecosystem engineers and their importance in giving our city a healthier and more sustainable harbor.
In any given area with a naturally occurring oyster reef there can be hundreds of thousands of individual adult oysters. Today, while there are next to no naturally occurring oysters left in the NYC waters with cleaner water found in today’s harbor, the potential is there. BOP is assisting nature by jumpstarting the natural process by spawning adult oysters in a lab which producing hundreds of millions of larvae each year. Right now space is what’s limiting the ability to house growing oysters. Currently there are two nurseries (with a capacity of over three million), 17 oyster gardens (500 capacity) and two reef sites (5 million “spat-on-shell”- the larvae that have survived and that are growing)
What they’re in need of to meet their billion oyster goal, is more space, more volunteers, and more resources, permits.
You can find out more, and how you can get involved, on their site.