Building a Stronger Coast
Two Years After Sandy: Marsh Restoration in Delaware

VIDEO: Flying over Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where one of the largest coastal marsh restorations on the Atlantic Coast will benefit communities such as Milton and Milford, Del.

October 31, 2014 - In Delaware, one of the largest coastal marsh restorations on the Atlantic Coast is expected to begin next Fall. On and adjacent to Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, about $40 million in Hurricane Sandy resilience and recovery funding will rebuild about one mile of existing dunes and barrier beach and fill gaps that were created by the storm. The project will also restore approximately 4,000 acres of back-barrier tidal marsh which will enhance and support a long stretch of barrier beach along the Delaware Bay. Restored marshes at the refuge will provide benefits to several adjacent and nearby communities such as Milton and Milford, Del. and create additional habitat for birds such as rufa red knots, American oystercatchers, and piping plovers. The restored marsh will also improve the communities’ ability to withstand future storms and sea level rise, improve wildlife habitat, and improve beach access.

View aerial footage: Flying over Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
More about the Prime Hook coastal tidal marsh and barrier beach project
Blog post featuring the Prime Hook resilience and recovery project

VIDEO: Flying over Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where one of the largest coastal marsh restorations on the Atlantic Coast will benefit communities such as Milton and Milford, Del. Credit: USFWS


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


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Last updated: December 12, 2014