Oyster shells are ideal for use in reef restoration. During the early summer, oysters produce larvae, which attach themselves to surfaces such as rocks or oyster shells, where they grow into adult oysters and form dense clusters, or reefs. Restaurant staff at participating City Island restaurants (the City Island Shell Collective) separates discarded shells from other waste and places them in 32-gallon bins, which are then collected by CIOR eco-volunteers. Shells are brought to our curing site at the Pelham Bay Landfill which is permitted to us, in partnership with the Billion Oyster Project, by the NYC Parks Department and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Debris is removed from the shells before they are placed on the grass-covered soil on top of one another to a height of two feet. The shells are regularly turned to provide sufficient airflow. No chemicals are used in the curing process, which takes up to twelve months.
City Island Oyster Reef is a member of the New York Alliance of Shell Collectors.
We are grateful to the City Island Shell Collective members who donate their shells. Member restaurants include Johnny’s Reef, Sammy’s Fish Box, Sammy’s Shrimp Box, Seafood City, Seashore, and Tony’s Pier.