At the end of 2021, we reported on the arrival of over 11 million new oysters inside the Hudson River as part of the Billion Oyster Project, a nonprofit that hopes to seed a billion bivalves in the New York Harbor by 2035.
Fast-forward a few months and the Hudson River Park Trust just announced the installment of an estimated 20 million juvenile oysters along the northern shoreline of the park’s Gansevoort Peninsula, all fabricated and seeded by the Billion Oyster Project.
According to an official press release, the creatures are set on hundreds of submerged structures known as reef balls and gabions and they are expected to bolster the overall health of the green space’s 400-acre estuarine sanctuary by quite literally creating an underwater reef-like system.
Specifically, as the juvenile bivalves grow and reproduce, they will naturally give birth to an oyster reef complex that will improve the overall habitat for the other organisms that call it home, including over 85 fish species that migrate through the waters.
"This new underwater habitat at the Gansevoort Peninsula advances the Trust's mission of protecting and supporting the park's Estuarine Sanctuary by creating new homes for the variety of marine life that resides in or passes through park waters, and it will also help us create a more resilient park," said Noreen Doyle, the president and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. "Restoring the local oyster population provides important benefits for humans, wildlife and the environment and we are proud to be a local leader in these efforts."
The city of New York provided funding for the project, which is part of a larger effort to convert the Gansevoort Peninsula into a new 5.5-acre park that is for now scheduled to open this upcoming spring. Upon completion, visitors can expect the destination to feature direct river access, a salt marsh, a dog run section, an adult fitness zone, a full-size athletic field and even a public art installation gifted to Hudson River Park by the Whitney Museum of American Art. “Day’s End,” by David Hammons, was actually installed on-site back in 2021.
The state of New York, on the other hand, will offer economical support for yet another new section of the park that is expected to open at Pier 97 sometime next year.