An Unlikely Savior

When you think of those who can save the human race, who do you put on the list? Superman, the X-Men, the Avengers, oysters…

Oysters? Actually, these humble bivalves are now being recognized as an important part of the ecosystem. We know sea levels are rising, and sea coasts must either adapt or drown. Enter the Billion Oyster Project (https://www.billionoysterproject.org/). The oyster population in New York harbor has been decimated, virtually wiped out in less than 100 years. Now we’re realizing the consequences — oysters can form dense reefs that protect cities from storm damage by cushioning the blow of waves, reducing flooding, and preventing shoreline erosion. They also provide habitat for many other species. The Billion Oyster Project is trying to restore those reefs in the New York area.

It’s a huge job, but they’re making progress. So far, they’ve restored oysters at 15 reef sites across all five of the city’s boroughs. Granted, oysters alone won’t save the coastline from another superstorm, but rebuilt reefs will make a huge difference. And it’s a whole lot cheaper than trying to move a city.

For more details, see their website. Also see “The Seas Are Rising. Could Oysters Help? by Eric Klinenberg (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/09/the-seas-are-rising-could-oysters-protect-us? )

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