The Wild Oyster Project works to bring native oysters back to San Francisco Bay, by using current research and best practices of ongoing successful restoration projects, and by engaging the public through education and stewardship. We are bringing out the oyster lovers in our communities! Our oysters, the wild ones we are trying to save, are busy ecosystem engineers. They provide habitat for many animals and benefit us all by filtering water and aiding to clean the Bay.
Oyster shells are the best material for growing new oysters and building new reefs. They are also useful for building roads, making motar, landscaping, and even feeding chickens. Because oysters are almost always sold alive in their shells, we need your help collecting the shells from restaurants and individual oyster lovers. Let's put our shells back to work after enjoying their tasty bite of the ocean.
Today, more natural resource managers and scientists understand the threats of continuing shoreline erosion, sea level rise, and climate change. Pilot projects that aim to prevent large scale armoring of shorelines through placement of engineered riprap, seawalls, and bulkheads are increasingly considered as alternatives. Natural shoreline protection such as oyster reefs and eelgrass beds utilize natural habitat elements to protect shorelines from erosion while providing important habitat for wetlands and aquatic plants, fish, and wildlife.
Oyster farmers are hard working people who know the water and know a lot about shellfish biology. Some farmers are even marine biologists. That is why we are working with oyster farmers, supporting them, and advocating for them. Every farm is a reef and provides ecosystem services to the surrounding bay or estuary. Oysters may be the world's most sustainable fishery: you don't have to feed or water them, they are quite low on the food chain, and their carbon footprint is practically nil--especially if the oysters you are eating are grown locally.