Building a Stronger Coast
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


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


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Last updated: January 7, 2015