Who We Are

The City Island Oyster Reef (CIOR), a non-profit 501(c)(3) community-based organization, was formed in December 2019 to expand existing oyster reef restoration efforts in New York City by reestablishing oyster populations in the waters that surround City Island in the western end of Long Island Sound.

Encouraged and inspired by City Island’s historical importance in the oyster industry, CIOR is dedicated to exploring the possibility of restoring oysters to the local waters, not for consumption but for the significant role that oysters play in improving the marine environment. Each adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons a day, which in turn promotes a healthy, resilient marine ecosystem. 

Volunteers on Viacommunity Day launch of the CIOR in May 2019

Enthusiastic community involvement has been a key ingredient since the beginning of City Island Oyster Reef. Islanders and individuals from throughout New York City have generously volunteered their time with this grassroots effort. Eco-volunteers have helped to collect shells from our local restaurants and following the protocol established by Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and under the guidance of the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) placed the shells in a designated and protected area on land where they “cure” for at least a year.

Volunteers curing shells.

Volunteers have also combed the City Island beaches and coves searching for evidence of wild oysters to help determine where best to begin the restoration of oyster reefs around City Island.

City Island’s location makes it a critical hub and an essential connection between reef restoration sites in Western Long Island Sound.

CIOR has hosted fundraising events at local waterfront homes and yacht clubs, where Island residents have donated enticing auction items to raise money. From these events we have been able to purchase scientific water-quality monitoring equipment and a skiff. This community-based effort to learn about and preserve our local environment continues to inspire all who participate.