Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Building a Stronger Coast in Maryland: Strengthening Natural Defenses in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

View of phragmites along the Nanticoke River in Maryland, an invasive plant species which is targeted for removal as part of a Hurricane Sandy resilience project.

October 31, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have completed the first steps toward restoring and strengthening critical marsh habitat that sustains wildlife and helps protect communities from storm impacts. This fall, the Service, Audubon Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources teamed up on a Hurricane Sandy resilience project to eliminate phragmites, an invasive plant, on 2,000 acres along the Nanticoke River -- an important tributary of the Bay. Phragmites also can accelerate erosion because the plant's thin roots don't hold the soil well against storm surge. According to Dan Murphy, Supervisory Fish and Wildlife biologist at Chesapeake Bay Field Office, phragmites also forces out native grasses, depleting habitat and food for local wildlife such as the black duck and sharp-tailed sparrow. In mid-October, more than 2,000 acres of phragmites were sprayed in the Nanticoke River watershed. The second half of the resilience project, restoring 2,600 acres of marsh in Pocomoke Sound, is expected to begin in early 2015. By restoring the hydrology, the marsh will not only offer better habitat to wildlife but also increase it’s ability to protect nearby man-made structures in Crisfield, Md., as well as 3,000 acres of adjacent salt marsh. The end result will be improved resiliency on the critical Nanticoke and Pocomoke River systems on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

More about the Ferry Point, Nanticoke River, Pocomoke Sound Marsh project
Related field notes: Protecting Maryland’s coastal communities


View of phragmites along the Nanticoke River in Maryland, an invasive plant species which is targeted for removal as part of a Hurricane Sandy resilience project. Credit: USFWS


Two Years After Sandy: Looking Toward a More Resilient Future

Surface elevation table (SET) equipment installation by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team in Cape May, Nj. will be used to monitor sea-level rise. This is part of the more than 80 Hurricane Sandy resilience and recovery projects currently led by the Service in 14 states.

October 30, 2014 - In a blog published in the Huffington Post, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber highlights a silver lining of conservation opportunities that have emerged from Hurricane Sandy’s devastation two years ago. The Service, the National Park Service and other Department of the Interior agencies are investing $787 million in hundreds of projects to clean up and repair damaged refuges and parks; restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline; connect and open waterways to improve flood control; and increase our scientific understanding of how these natural areas are changing. “In the aftermath of Sandy, we have an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen natural defenses along the Atlantic Coast to protect communities and wildlife against future storms,” Weber says.

View the blog post - Strong After Sandy: Healing the Past, Investing in the Future
View all Hurricane Sandy resilience and recovery projects


Surface elevation table (SET) equipment installation by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team in Cape May, Nj. will be used to monitor sea-level rise. This is part of the more than 80 Hurricane Sandy resilience and recovery projects currently led by the Service in 14 states. Credit: Charlotte Murtishaw/USFWS


Two Years After Sandy: Reducing Flood and Fire Impacts in Virginia and North Carolina

VIDEO: Flying over Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where 22 water control structures will be installed or repaired in Virginia.

October 30, 2014 - Water management restoration efforts are planned for Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, where $3.1 million in Hurricane Sandy resilience funding will repair or install 22 water control structures to reduce impacts of flood and fire in nearby Chesapeake and Suffolk, Va. Due to 150-miles of historical logging ditches built on the refuge in the 1700s, the altered swamp hydrology affects the impacts on public health, tourism and wildlife habitat. This project will increase the water storage of the 112,000 acre contiguous forest, making it more resilient to the predicted effects of climate change such as increased storms, wildfires, and drought. Rare forest stands of Atlantic white-cedar still remain in this unique habitat, along with 47 mammals and over 200 species of birds.

View aerial footage: Flying over Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
More about the Great Dismal Swamp water management project
Blog post featuring the Great Dismal Swamp resilience project

VIDEO: Flying over Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where 22 water control structures will be installed or repaired in Virginia. Credit: USFWS


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Last updated: July 23, 2014