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Living Reef Made of Millions of Oysters to Clean the Gowanus

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Updated 9/5 to reflect requests from SCAPE: A new pier is being built at the mouth of the Gowanus Canal, but it's not for a new pretty waterfront park. It will host millions of mollusks that will help clean the toxic Superfund waterway. Landscape architect Kate Orff, with her firm Scape Studio SCAPE, has designed a park and living reef where oysters will hang off of black ropes attached to the pier. in the Gowanus Bay where oysters, mussels and eelgrass might someday become a new "blue" park as part of MoMA's Rising Currents Exhibition in 2010. As an initial step, a small pilot project to "test the waters" will hang off of black ropes attached to the pier, and aims to attract ribbed mussel growth (ribbed mussels can tolerate greater pollution). While you shouldn't even touch the water in the Gowanus today, hundreds of years ago, oysters used to flourish in the canal and nearby rivers.

One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, and NYC is already home to a couple successful reefs. The Oyster Restoration Research Project has maintained a 30-foot long oyster reef in the Bronx River for seven years, and the Army Corps built one off of Governors Island. Who needs a government-funded clean-up when you can just enlist shellfish instead?
· New York's New Environmental 'Hero' - the Oyster [AP]
· Oyster-tecture: Scape Studio Plans to Build a Park Filled with Millions of Oysters to Clean the Gowanus Canal [InhabitatNYC]
· Oyster-tecture [Scape Studio]