Restore Ecosystem-Building, Water-Cleaning Oyster Populations

Target: Rohit T. Aggarwala, Commissioner of New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Goal: Invest in plans of action to restore city’s oysters and their vital environmental contributions.

During its tremendous growth, New York City had a special relationship with one small marine organism: the oyster. At one time, half the world’s oyster supply lived in the harbor around the city. Oysters soon became a favorite delicacy in the region, and buildings were even comprised of oyster shells. Inevitably, humanity’s love affair with the oyster would turn toxic. Upwards of a billion oysters were taken from New York’s waters every year, and the city’s rapid expansion destroyed much of the marine habitat where these organisms thrived. New efforts are under way, however, to replenish the oyster population and help the environment in the process.

The benefits of these living beings are in fact numerous. For one, each oyster filters and cleans gallons upon gallons of water daily. In addition, oyster populations are touchstones of marine ecosystems and help them remain diverse and vibrant. Living oyster wall reefs have even been proposed as a means of preventing deadly storm surges. Several local New York initiatives are under way to revitalize the oyster’s crucial role in its marine habitats, but these important actions need robust funding and support.

Sign the petition below to urge the city to invest in one of its most precious natural commodities.


Dear Commissioner Aggarwala,

The Living Breakwaters reefs can help clean New York City’s water supply, diversify marine habitats, and safeguard against storm surges. The Billion Oyster Project will provide many of these same benefits while also restoring a vital species depleted due to human activity. Both of these local projects recognize and leverage the contributions of the oyster to New York life and nature.

Please give your financial and public support to the aforementioned initiatives and do everything in your power to ensure they are part of a larger movement to save New York’s oysters. This city’s waterways were once home to fifty percent of the world’s oyster population. You can help lift these unsung heroes of the marine world to this premier status once again.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hayden Walker

One Comment

  1. Yes … We need more oysters!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


961 Signatures

  • Linda Smyth
  • Juli Shields
  • Guilhem Bedos
  • Barbara Wojtczak
  • Joann Koch
  • eric bahrt
  • Camie Rodgers
  • Osvaldo Tomas
  • Sydney Maraldo
  • John Whyman
1 of 96123...96
Skip to toolbar