“BILLION OYSTER PROJECT”

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.

TRANSCRIPT

> 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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