Product News: YSI teams up with the New York Harbor School and Verizon to support the Billion Oyster Project

04 Dec 2013

Xylem’s YSI Integrated Systems and Services (ISS) has teamed up with the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School (The Harbor School) and Verizon to collaborate on the Billion Oyster Project (BOP). The project was developed as a long-term oyster restoration project, to restore native oyster species back in to New York Harbor and surrounding estuaries and waterways.

The Billion Oyster Project is a program to restore one billion live oysters into New York Harbor over the next 20 years. The environmental benefits from such a project are countless, but certainly the improvement of water quality as a result of the presence of the oysters, will have a lasting effect on the NY Harbor ecosystem.

The project begins at the oyster hatchery at The Harbor School on Governor’s Island, a public high school with a focus on marine science and marine technology. The Verizon Innovation Program funded an effort at The Harbor School which enables the high school students to track the project in real-time, with underwater video and data collection delivered over Verizon’s 4GLTE network.

“Collaborating with The Harbor School and Verizon, our ISS team helped to pull together a cutting edge solution to address the needs of a real-life challenge,” says Chris McIntire, Senior Vice President and President of Xylem’s Analytics and Treatment businesses. “And working with the students, seeing their enthusiasm as they embrace the science and the technology – you couldn’t help but think that we were planting the seeds for a new generation of environmental stewards or scientists. That was really exciting for all of us at Xylem.”

For YSI, the cutting edge solution started with a highly specialized electronics chest. To meet the requirements of the project, the chest was entirely re-designed by ISS to be completely submersible. It was also ruggedized to be hurricane resistant, as a result of some of the devastation and challenges that came to light in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

ISS then custom designed a system that integrated the EXO Water Quality Sonde (which monitors eight different parameters) and the SonTek Argonaut XR (which provides water velocity and temperature data). Both instruments are hard-wired to the electronics chest, as is the video feed cable. Inside the chest is the datalogger and cellular modem for real-time transmission of the data and the live video feed from the harbor floor. ISS worked closely with the Xylem products teams, as well as the underwater video manufacturer, Wild Goose Imaging, to collaborate on the solution.

The high school students involved in the project can access the data and the video feed at any time through The Harbor School web site. The data will also be made available to the general public, so as to support technology education for others around the globe.