Building a Stronger Coast
Students in the Field: Lending Hands to Living Shorelines

Students helping to build an oyster reef.

May 26, 2016 - The next generation of conservationists are getting a head-start in environmental stewardship thanks to Project PORTS, a unique program that educates young students about the benefits of oyster restoration. In April, a group of students from East Windsor, CT, visited Cape May, NJ, to participate in the project.

The students took part in educational sessions, then headed out to Gandy's Beach where USFWS and partners are installing an oyster reef. The students got first-hand experience helping to build the oyster reef, which is designed to help protect the shoreline by reducing erosion and wave energy.

“[The project] will help stabilize approximately 3,000 feet of beach and tidal marsh shoreline,” said Katie Conrad, USFWS biologist.

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Students helping to build an oyster reef.
Credit: USFWS


Building Oyster Reefs to Protect Coastlines at Chincoteague

Helping hands assemble castles to create oyster reefs at Chincoteague NWR. Chelsi Burns/USFWS

May 10, 2016 - Volunteers and partners are helping build new oyster reefs at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to help protect the refuge from the impacts of climate change and future storms. The reefs are built from LEGO-like cement blocks assembled into castle structures that oyster spat (babies) cling to, creating a functional oyster reef that helps buffer wave energy. When finished, there will be an estimated 1,400 feet of living shoreline oyster reefs at Tom’s Cove and 2,050 feet in Assateague Bay – two sites that were battered by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. This work is part of larger efforts along the Atlantic Coast to make coastlines more resilient to the impacts of climate change and storms.

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Helping hands assemble castles to create oyster reefs at Chincoteague NWR.
Credit: Chelsi Burns/USFWS


Community Helps Re-Vegetate Hyde Pond Dam Site

Volunteers planting at the site of the former Hyde Pond dam. Credit: CFE/Save the Sound

May 7, 2016 - Dozens of volunteers came out on a rainy Saturday to help plant native vegetation along the banks of Mystic's Whitford Brook, which is now flowing freely for the first time in 350 years. Earlier this year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined forces with the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound to bring down Hyde Pond dam. The project re-opens 4.1 miles of stream to migratory fish and helps reduce the risk of flooding to the surrounding community.

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Volunteers planting at the site of the former Hyde Pond dam.
Credit: CFE/Save the Sound


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Last updated: April 7, 2016