Building a Stronger Coast
Workshop offers perspective on Hurricane Sandy tidal marsh projects

More than 50 participants with academic, NGO, state and federal affiliations met this week to exchange information on Hurricane Sandy tidal marsh resilience science projects and align common goals for future work.

December 12, 2014 - This week, more than 50 participants representing universities, non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies gathered at the Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Office to exchange information from the first year of Hurricane Sandy tidal marsh resiliency science projects, and to align efforts toward common goals over the next two years. Coordinated by the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, the workshop provided a forum for partners working on projects ranging from site-specific restoration to regional coastal resilience models to discuss progress, needs, and strategies to collectively guide regional conservation planning in the face of coastal change. “I’m thrilled about how we are using this funding as an opportunity to collect solid baseline information,” said Jan Taylor, coordinator of Hurricane Sandy resiliency projects on national wildlife refuges in the Northeast. “We’ve done so much within nine months. I’m amazed we already have such solid partnerships and thoughts about how to improve collaboration for the future.” With greater perspective on the overall scope of Hurricane Sandy projects, participants helped to identify next steps for ensuring that individual projects contribute to overall goals. Key considerations for moving forward include determining appropriate and consistent ways to measure resilience and effectiveness or restoration at different scales, linking projects across scales, coordinating spatial data management, coordinating monitoring locations and needs, sharing data and decision tools, and communicating uncertainty in models at local levels.

More about LCC Hurricane Sandy Resilience Science Projects
More about all Hurricane Sandy projects


More than 50 participants with academic, NGO, state and federal affiliations met this week to exchange information on Hurricane Sandy tidal marsh resilience science projects and align common goals for future work. Credit: Bridget Macdonald/USFWS


Power projects break ground, installs planned in eight states

Backup generator junction panel installation completed at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Milton, Delaware.

December 8, 2014 - In response to widespread power losses incurred in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, 18 communities  in eight states (from New Hampshire to Virginia) will benefit from a new backup power systems planned for more than 13 national wildlife refuges. Supported by a $10 million investment in federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery, the systems will serve as valuable emergency resources for nearby areas during future outages. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started equipping many of its refuge facilities with backup generators this month, including several that will also employ solar panel roof installations. New electrical systems also will make refuge facilities less dependent on external sources of electricity, and solar-equipped locations such as Delaware’s Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge will reduce refuges’ carbon footprints and save thousands of taxpayer dollars in annual utility bills. The Prime Hook and Bombay Hook refuges, both on the western shores of Delaware Bay, are the first to begin installation in the region-wide effort.

View Sandy project photos at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
View Sandy project photos at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
View blog post: Service’s region-wide investment in backup and solar power

Backup generator junction panel installation completed at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Milton, Delaware. Credit: Oscar Reed/USFWS


A Clear Win-Win at Fog Point

High tide crashing over Smith Island’s marshy coastline in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. As much as 12 feet of erosion has occurred in some areas.

December 5, 2014 - Situated in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, Smith Island is the only inhabited chain of remote isles that about 275 residents call home -- most of them oystermen, fishermen and their families. Due to erosion and sea-level rise related to climate change, the island is also disappearing. With land only up to four feet above shoreline, it has lost more than 3,300 acres of wetlands in the past 150 years, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. An article in the Bay Journal outlines a planned effort to construct 20,950 feet of "living shoreline" to stabilize a highly vulnerable shoreline at Glenn L. Martin National Wildlife Refuge and directly protect more than 1,200 acres of quality tidal high marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation and clam beds. The project, which stands to help wildlife and protect Smith Island residents from sea-level rise and other predicted effects of a changing climate, is supported by $9 million in federal funding for Hurricane Sandy resilience projects. “This is something we’ve wanted to do out there for years and years,” says Matt Whitbeck, a supervisory biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “As a national refuge, our established purpose is to protect wildlife. When we can do that, and it has strong benefits for the human community, well, you don’t find too many projects like this that are a win-win.”  Construction of the Fog Point living shoreline is expected to begin next summer.

View recent news coverage of this project
More about the Fog Point resilience project
View photos of the Fog Point living shoreline restoration

High tide crashing over Smith Island’s marshy coastline in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. As much as 12 feet of erosion has occurred in some areas. Credit: John Sauer/USFWS


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Last updated: December 12, 2014