Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Students help assess Sandy impacts on tidal marsh birds

Site leader Emma Shelly, flanked by her research specialists Chistina Cerino (L) and Jeanna Mielcarek (R). Credit: Charlotte Murtishaw/USFWS

Aug. 11, 2014 - As part of a multi-state tidal marsh bird monitoring project to gauge the effects of Hurricane Sandy, students and recent college graduates are assisting with population surveys, aiding resilience efforts and gaining hands-on experience -- all at the same time. At the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Ct., the group is banding female birds and collecting data on local saltmarsh sparrow nests. Their work supports the Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program or SHARP, a partnership of academic, governmental and nonprofit collaborators working together to provide critical information for the conservation of tidal marsh birds. Researchers expect data will be plentiful enough to start analyses by next year, eventually helping to inform recovery actions after future severe storms.

More about the Hurricane Sandy-funded SHARP project in Stonington, Conn.
More about the Service's tidal marsh birds resilience project
See more Barn Island photos

PHOTO: Site leader Emma Shelly, flanked by her research specialists Chistina Cerino (L) and Jeanna Mielcarek (R).
Credit: Charlotte Murtishaw/USFWS


Invasive plant control to begin at Nanticoke River in Chesapeake Bay

PHOTO: An invasive species known as phragmites, or common reed, is the target for removal this fall along the Nanticoke River, one of the Chesapeake Bay’s tributaries. Credit: Tom Sturm/USFWS

Aug. 5, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are taking the first steps toward eliminating a dangerous invasive plant species that poses a threat to wildlife and marsh habitat. This fall, the Service, Audubon Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will partner on a Hurricane Sandy resilience project to control the tall grass known as phragmites on 2,000 acres of the Nanticoke River, an important tributary of the Bay. Phragmites forces out native vegetation, depleting habitat and food sources for local animal species such as the black duck and sharp-tailed sparrow. According to Dan Murphy, Supervisory Fish and Wildlife biologist at Chesapeake Bay, storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy has accelerated marsh migration inland, further stressing vegetation that has already been exposed to unusual levels of salinity. In addition to promoting the long-term health of native wetlands, the project aims to strengthen habitat and increase its ability to protect nearby man-made structures in Crisfield, Md., as well as 3,000 acres of adjacent salt marsh. The scheduled invasive control project is anticipated to start in early September, at the end of the growing season, with a second sweep occurring next year. The second half of the resilience project, which involves restoring 2,600 acres of Chesapeake Bay marsh, is expected to begin in early 2015.

More about the Hurricane Sandy Nanticoke River, Pocomoke Sound Marsh project
More about the Nanticoke River Watershed


PHOTO: An invasive species known as phragmites, or common reed, is the target for removal this fall along the Nanticoke River, one of the Chesapeake Bay’s tributaries.
Credit: Tom Sturm/USFWS


#StrongAfterSandy Featured Community: Middle Township, New Jersey

VIDEO: #StrongAfterSandy Featured Community: Middle Township, NJ.

July 23, 2014 - Today the Service launches the first in a series of videos highlighting communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and their journey toward recovery. This first video outlines a $1.65 million beach habitat restoration project along the shores of Delaware Bay that will benefit native horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds. At the same time, the project will help local communities like Middle Township, New Jersey, whose Mayor Tim Donohue describes how strengthening natural defenses will in turn protect homes and support the area's ecotourism industry.

View the video
Read about netting and tagging red knots on Delaware Bay
View photos of red knots, horseshoe crabs and beach habitats

VIDEO: #StrongAfterSandy Featured Community: Middle Township, NJ.
Credit: USFWS


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Last updated: October 21, 2014