Community Science at Billion Oyster Project

Citizen Science in Environmental Monitoring
Oral Presentation

Prepared by K. Schreiber
Billion Oyster project, 34 Cambridge St. Apt. 2116, Boston, Massachusetts, 02129, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 339-933-3259


Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is a non-profit based in NYC that works to restore oysters to New York Harbor through education and community initiatives. BOP works with a strong network of volunteer community scientists and local public and private schools to monitor oysters and harbor water quality.

With the help of dedicated community scientists, BOP monitors oysters at our large-scale restored oyster reefs on a bi-annual basis to check oyster growth, mortality, and compare on and off reef biodiversity. In addition, Oyster Research Stations (ORSs), which are small cages containing oysters placed throughout the harbor, are monitored by teachers, students, and community scientists throughout the year. All of this oyster-related data is made available for public analysis and is also analyzed by BOP staff for an annual report. BOP has recently created a middle and high school curriculum in which students use this oyster data to investigate the question “how are the oysters doing in NY Harbor?”.

In addition to collecting oyster-related data, volunteer community scientists are an integral component of BOP’s water quality monitoring program. On a weekly basis, individuals and groups collect water samples from their nearby water bodies and deliver them to one of three labs where they are tested for the presence of enterococcus. These results are publicly published to help inform harbor recreationalists about recent water quality at their preferred waterfront access sites.

As a small organization, BOP relies heavily on the work of its dedicated volunteers, citizen scientists, teachers, and students to help monitor NY Harbor waters and the oysters that inhabit them.