Building a Stronger Coast
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


National Estuaries Conference Features Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Efforts

Participants in the conference from the Service and partners include Susan C. Adamowicz, Ph.D. Session Chair; Matt Whitbeck, Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex; Susan Guiteras, Prime Hook NWR; Nick Ernst, RI NWR Complex; Boze Hancock, RI TNC, John Chafee NWR; Paul Castelli, Forsythe NWR; Kevin Holcomb, Chincoteague NWR; Georgia Basso, Monitoring Protocol

November 14, 2014 - This month, biologists from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with partners from The Nature Conservancy provided an overview of coastal resilience projects to attendees at the Restore America’s Estuaries national conference outside of Washington, D.C. Focusing on salt marsh and shoreline restoration, these projects -- supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery -- seek to strengthen natural areas that provide wildlife habitat and protection from storm surge and wave erosion. “As seminal as Pelican Island, the nation’s first national wildlife refuge, these projects will stand as our generation’s contribution to protection of our coasts and legacy of wildlife conservation,” said Dr. Susan Adamowicz, conference session chair and Land Management Research and Demonstration Biologist with the Service.

More about the Restoring America’s Estuaries 2014 conference
More about Hurricane Sandy funded projects


Participants in the conference from the Service and partners include Susan C. Adamowicz, Ph.D. Session Chair; Matt Whitbeck, Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex; Susan Guiteras, Prime Hook NWR; Nick Ernst, RI NWR Complex; Boze Hancock, RI TNC, John Chafee NWR; Paul Castelli, Forsythe NWR; Kevin Holcomb, Chincoteague NWR; Georgia Basso, Monitoring Protocol. Credit: William Crouch/USFWS


Hail Cove Project Offers Marsh Protection near Chesapeake Bay

Aerial view of  Hail Cove at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, where the 4,000 foot living shoreline planned for the site will protect 400 acres of marsh land.

November 3, 2014 - People living near Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore will benefit from a 4,000-foot living shoreline project to protect marshes at Hail Cove. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a $1.3 million contract last month for the Hurricane Sandy resilience funded project to reduce erosion and wave action, protecting 400 acres of tidal marshes in the Chester River. Coastal marshes are natural buffers for communities against hurricanes and other severe storms. Colorado-based contractor, Ayuda Companies, will complete the work during the next two years under the contract. Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is a stopover and wintering area for thousands of waterfowl feeding in the Chester River, and Hail Creek is regarded as one of the top five waterfowl habitats in Maryland.

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More about the Hail Cove project


Aerial view of Hail Cove at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, where the 4,000 foot living shoreline planned for the site will protect 400 acres of marsh land. Credit: Rick Bennett/USFWS


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Last updated: December 22, 2014