News & Updates

Massive Wild Oysters Found in Park Waters

September 26

Big news from our Estuarine Sanctuary! We found wild oysters growing on the underside of our floating docks, and they’re huge. Approximately six-years-old, clocking in at over 13.5 ounces, and measuring more than 7.2 inches, these dinner-plate sized oysters are the largest seen wild in our waters in over a century.

Finding oysters of this size growing wild – not seeded or placed as part of our restoration efforts, but naturally clustered – means that our waters support optimal conditions for these creatures to thrive. And though this finding only represents oyster life at one Park pier, we see an encouraging indication of significant improvements in the water quality in our Sanctuary and New York Harbor.

These giant bivalves aren’t fit to eat – our waters have a long way to go before they will support edible oysters – but they are acting as great habitat engineers and filter feeders, making our estuary a healthier ecosystem. In this way, our newly discovered neighbors are our Park’s latest allies in our continual efforts to support, understand and educate our community about our Sanctuary waters and wildlife.

This year our Park educators ran more than 435 free and low cost programs for school groups, summer camps and the general public, engaging over 27,000 people! A crucial portion of these efforts support oyster restoration and research, and engaging the public, we recently installed oyster wrap habitats in the Pier 32 pile field.

This recently discovered population only bolsters our commitment to understanding the conditions and locations within the Sanctuary that best support oyster success. Our team, with support from The River Project, can’t wait to explore more docks within the Park and see if they hold a “new frontier” in wild oyster growth!