“BILLION OYSTER PROJECT”

May 31, 2018 at 5:15 am

We’ll take you inside the citizen science project working to restore one billion oysters to New York Harbor by 2030.

Peril and Promise is an ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, Climate Change. Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

Aired on May 30, 2018.

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>>> NEW YORKERS LOVE OYSTERS.
THAT'S A WELL-KNOWN FACT.
BUT WHAT ISN'T SO WELL-KNOWN IS
THAT NEW YORK CITY WAS ONCE
CONSIDERED THE OYSTER CAPITOL OF
THE WORLD.
BUT THAT WAS THEN.
TODAY OYSTERS ARE FUNCTIONALLY
EXTINTING IN NEW YORK HEREBIER
WHAT HAPPENED?
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
WHAT CAN WE DO?
ONE PROJECT CREATED TO DO
SOMETHING IS THE BILLION OYSTER
PROJECT WHICH AMONG OTHER THINGS
ENLISTS SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE
EFFORT TO RESTORE THE CITY'S
OYSTER POPULATION.
JOIPG US TO TALK ABOUT THAT AND
AS PART OFF YOU ARE PERIL AND
PROMISE INITIATIVE ON THE HUMAN
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE WE ARE
NOW JOINED BY PETER MALENNOUSKY,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE
BILLION OYSTER PROJECTS AND
SALARY McGEE.
DIRECTOR AT THE NATURE
CONSERVANCY WHICH PROTONWOOD THE
BILLION OYSTER PROJECT.
LET ME START WITH YOU WHAT IS
THE HISTORY OF OYSTERS IN NEW
YORK CITY?
WERE WE THICK IN OYSTERS BECOME
IN THE DAY.
>> WHEN EUROPEANS ARRIVED THERE
WAS OVER 200,000 OF OYSTER REEF
IN NEW YORK HARBOR SOME
ESTIMATED IT WAS HALF THE
WORLD'S OYSTERS.
THOSE OYSTERS SUPPORTED A REALLY
VAST AND DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM.
WE EUROPEANS ARRIVED THEY COULD
CATCH FISH BY LOWERING A BASKET
AND BRINGING BACK UP FULL OF
FUCH.
OIF OYSTERS FILTER THE WATER.
STABILIZE THE SHORE.
PROTECT THE SHORE FROM WAVES.
YOU KNOW, IN THAT WAY THEY
ENGINEERED A WHOLE ECOSYSTEM
THAT FILLED THE HARBOR BEFORE WE
ATE THEM ALL.
>> HOW DID THEY BECOME
FUNCTIONALLY EXTINTING.
>> ONLY 100 YEARS AFTER OL
COLINIZATION WE HAD EATEN ALL
THE OYSTERS.
WE DREDGED OYSTERS OUT OF THE
HARBOR BY THE EARLY MID-180 OHs
ALL THE WILD OYSTERS FISHED OUT.
THEN THEY KBRTED THEM IN SEEDING
BEDS IN THE HARBOR AND THAT
WORKED UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF
THE CROTON AQUEDUCT AND THEN
THEY HAD AS MUCH FRESH WATER A
AS THEY WANTED AND FLUSHED
TOILETS AND TOOK SHOWERS AND IT
WENT DOWN TO THE OYSTER BEDS.
CAME AS A BIG SURPRISE TO NEW
YORKERS THAT POURING RAW SEWAGE
ON THE FOOD SUPPLY WAS A
PROBLEM.
IN THE LAST OF 190 OHs THEY
CLOSED THE OYSTER BEDS.
GIVE US THE REASON THE OYSTER
POPULATION HERE OR ANYWHERE IS
IMPORTANT.
>> FIRST IS WE WANT TO GIVE
PEOPLE IN NEW YORK THE ABILITY
TO GET OUT AND ENJOY THE WATER
MORE.
AND IF THE WATER AND ECOSYSTEM
IS HEALTHIER THEN THEY'LL BE
ABLE TO DO THAT MORE.
ANOTHER REASON IS LIKE PETE
SAID, OYSTERS, THEY'VE WONDERFUL
WATER QUALITY FILTERS.
SO YOU KNOW A SINGLE OYSTER A
SINGLE ADULT OYSTER CAN FILTER
50 GALLONS OF WATER.
>> FILTERS WHAT?
WHAT TOES IT FILTER.
>> IT EATS PHYTOPLANKTON.
>> OH.
>> AND A CONDITION LIKE THE
WATER IS IN NEW YORK HARBOR,
THERE IS TOO MUCH OF THAT.
SO YOU HAVE OYSTERS IN THE
WATER.
AND THAT IMPROVES THE WATER
QUALITY.
>> AND OYSTER REEVES, HOW MUCH
DO THEY HELP, FOR EXAMPLE WE WE
HAVE A HURRICANE AND THE WATERS
ARE COMING ONTO THE ISLAND.
>> THEY DO HELP.
THEY DEFINITELY DO.
THAT'S ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF
SHELL FISH REEF RESTORATION IS
THAT THEY PROVIDE A BUFFER FROM
STORM SURGE AND WAVES.
>> SO TELL US ABOUT THE PROJECT.
>> WELL WE'RE TRYING TO RESTORE
SUSTAINABLE OYSTER POPULATION TO
NEW YORK HARBOR AND THROUGH THAT
WORK CHANGE THE RELATIONSHIP
THAT NEW YORKERS HAVE TO THE
NATURAL RESOURCE.
WE BELIEVE THAT ACTIVE
ENGAGEMENT IN A RESTORATION
PROJECT IS A POWERFUL WAY TO
BUILD ENTHUSIASM AND EXCITEMENT
AND KNOWLEDGE OF THAT RESOURCE.
YOU CAN'T RESTORE OYSTERS IF YOU
DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE BOAT,
SKUBA DIVE GROW OYSTERS AND GET
IN THE WATER AND DO THE WORK.
WE WORK WITH ABOUT 100 PUBLIC
SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT ALL I'VE
BUHROWS WHERE WE WEECH O TEACH
MATH AND SCIENCE TEACHERS TO
TEACH LESSONS THROUGH THE LENS
OF OYSTER RESTORATION.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT EXISTS ON THE
OTHER SIDE OF THE LAND OF THEARY
WATER BARRIER SEES THERE IS
ANIMALS IN THE WERT.
UNDERSTANDING TIDES AND CURRENT
AND STORMS AND EVERYTHING WITH
THAT.
>> YOU WANT TO ESTABLISH A
CULTURE OF STEWARDSHIP AMONG
KIDS.
WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US WHO
DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT?
>> THAT'S ONE OF OUR -- WE HAVE
NO CHANCE OF RESTORING A BILLION
OYSTERS IF WE CAN'T ENGAGE AS
MANY OF THE 8 MILLION PEOPLE
HERE AS POSSIBLE.
PEOPLE EYE WHO LIKE EATING THE
OYSTERS CAN PARTICIPATE JUST BY
EATING THE OYSTERS AND RECYCLING
THE SHELLS.
YOU CAN COME OUT AND BE A MEMBER
OR A VOLUNTEER OF THE BILLION
OYSTER PROJECT.
>> THE NATURE CONSERVANCY DOES
OTHER THINGS BESIDES PARTNERING
ABOUT THE O WITH THE BILLION
OYSTER PROJECT.
>> WE HAVE AN EXCITING NEW
PROJECT BEEN IN THE WORKS ABOUT
A YEAR NOW THAT WE JUST STARTED,
WORKING WITH SHELL FISH FARMERS.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE GROWING THE
OYSTERS THAT END UP ON YOUR
PLATE AS A OYSTER ON THE HALF
SHELL AT HAPPY HOUR.
SO WE ARE WORKING WITH A GROUP
OF SHELL FISH FARMER WHO
ACTUALLY CAME TO US REALLY
CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT
THEY WERE SEEING ABOUT -- OF
CLIMATE CHANGE ON THEIR FARMS.
SO THEY WANTED TO DO SOMETHING
ABOUT IT.
THEY ARE SEEING THE IMPACTS.
AND DIDN'T REALLY HAVE THE MEANS
TO DO THAT.
SO THEY APPROACHED THE NATURE
CONSERVANCY.
AND SAID WE ARE REALLY CONCERNED
ABOUT THE CHANGING WATER
CHEMISTRY THAT'S HAPPENING, THE
INCREASED FREQUENCY AND
INTENSITY OF STORMS, YOU KNOW,
WHAT CAN WE DO?
AND SO WE HAVE CREATED WHAT
WE'RE CALLING THE SHELL FISH
GROWERS CLIMATE COALITION THAT
IS A GROUP OF SHELL FISH GROWERS
ON THE EAST AND WEST COAST AND
GROWING EVERY DAY.
>> ALL RIGHT THANK YOU, PETER
AND SALLY FOR JOINING US TODAY
PROCESSES REALLY INTERESTING AND
IMPORTANT.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Funders

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