Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Region-wide study of coastal resilience contributes to a stronger coast

A team of biological field technicians and college interns install surface elevation tables at national wildlife refuges, part of a multi-state Hurricane Sandy funded resilience project studying coastal resilience and preparedness.

Sept. 19, 2014 - With help from Hurricane Sandy funding, a region-wide, 3-year coastal study is underway to assess the strengths and weaknesses of salt marshes and shorelines at 12 national wildlife refuges from Virginia to Maine. Data gathered will make restoration and management decisions more effective at more than a dozen Service-led marsh and shoreline resilience projects through 2016. The study involves three projects, including a salt marsh integrity assessment (SMI) which covers 30,000 acres of coastal marsh that protect adjacent shoreline, wildlife and 40 coastal towns and communities. This particular project employs a team of biological technicians and college interns who are currently installing salt marsh rod Surface Elevation Tables (rSETs), used to track changes in surface elevation in salt marshes compared to local rates of sea-level rise. The data will be collected for several years to many decades, and identify those areas with the greatest need for restoration. Installations of rSETs continue at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this week, followed by Monomoy and Forsythe National Wildlife Refuges through November, with more than 40 more installations planned for the following years.

More about the Service’s Stronger Coast resilience project
More about related scientific project research - field surveys of fish and crustaceans
View photos of salt marsh surface elevation table equipment installation

PHOTO: A team of biological field technicians and college interns install surface elevation tables at national wildlife refuges, part of a multi-state Hurricane Sandy funded resilience project studying coastal resilience and preparedness. Credit: Charlotte Murtishaw/USFWS


Hurricane Sandy aerial tour blog series

Day one of the aerial tour above the Lido Beach Wildlife Management Area at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The remnants of a boardwalk once used by an adjacent school for environmental education can be seen on the left. Credit: Keith Shannon/USFWS

Aug. 19, 2014 - Join Rick Bennett, Regional Scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region, as he takes to the air with a team to tour some of the Atlantic Coast locations that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Each evening this week, Bennett will be sharing observations of the projects on the ground funded by the Department of the Interior through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, and how the Service is working to ensure the coastline and surrounding communities are #StrongAfterSandy.

View the Hurricane Sandy aerial tour blog series
More about Hurricane Sandy projects led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


PHOTO: Day one of the aerial tour above the Lido Beach Wildlife Management Area at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The remnants of a boardwalk once used by an adjacent school for environmental education can be seen on the left.
Credit: Keith Shannon/USFWS


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


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Last updated: October 21, 2014