NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is placing 50,000 oysters in Jamaica Bay on beds made with the porcelain from 5,000 recycled toilets.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday that the project is the largest single installation of breeding oysters in the city.

The Mayor’s office noted that the New York-New Jersey Harbor was once blanketed with oysters, but they became “functionally extinct” decades ago due to harvesting, dredging, and pollution.

Oysters are considered a key component of healthy marine ecosystems, as they filter pollutants, protect wetlands from shoreline erosion and storm surge, and provide habitats for fish and other aquatic life, the Mayor’ office said.

After the installation, the oyster beds will be watched for new oysters, and water quality will be watched for more dissolved oxygen, nitrogen removal, and turbidity, the Mayor’s office said.

“(T)his oyster bed is a small but necessary step in our broader OneNYC commitment to create a more sustainable and more resilient City,” de Blasio said in a news release.

The 31-square-mile Jamaica Bay is part of a 142-square-mile watershed that includes parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County.

The project is being done in partnership with the Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project.

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  1. Glenn Hughes says:

    Here is a video showing the background and progress of the toilet recycling oyster reef project:

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