Building a Stronger Coast
Prime Hook Refuge Marsh Restoration Begins

Aerial view of the extensive flooding at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge experienced during Hurricane Sandy. This photo is looking north from the Prime Hook Beach community toward Slaughter Beach. The federally funded Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge barrier beach and marsh restoration project begins in June.

June 12, 2015 - The first phase of a $38 million marsh restoration project at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Milton, Del. is expected to begin next week. Efforts will carve out marsh drainage channels, repair breached marshes and reconstruct severely damaged shoreline, including critical dune restoration along approximately 4,000 acres of back-barrier tidal marsh along the Delaware Bay. Al Rizzo, project leader for the Coastal Delaware National Wildlife Refuge Complex, says restored marshes at the refuge will provide a more resilient coast against future storms and create additional habitat for birds, including American oystercatchers and federally listed species such as rufa red knots and piping plovers. These investments will also help protect adjacent and nearby communities such as Milton and Milford. Work is expected to be completed by next spring.

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More about Hurricane Sandy funded projects at Prime Hook


Aerial view of the extensive flooding at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge experienced during Hurricane Sandy, looking north from the Prime Hook Beach community toward Slaughter Beach. The federally funded Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge barrier beach and marsh restoration project begins in June. Credit: USFWS


Region-wide Study Identifies Bridges and Culverts for Repair Across the Northeast

An example of a perched culvert that sits above water, making it more difficult for fish to swim upstream.

June 9, 2015 - The devastating impacts of storms such as Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene exemplify how extreme storm events can overwhelm and damage outdated road-stream crossings -- typically bridges and culverts. To address the effects, from flooding to impacts on fish and other aquatic species, the North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative (NAACC) is working to identify and prioritize replacement and repair of culverts to withstand future floods and improve fish passage in the Northeast region. The NAACC is a partnership of universities, nonprofits, transportation agencies, and federal and state resource managers supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative with federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery.

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More about the NAACC
More about the Hurricane Sandy funded bridge and culvert study

An example of a perched culvert that sits above water, making it more difficult for fish to swim upstream. These types of road-stream crossings are the focus of a study to reconnect streams and improve fish passage from Maine to West Virginia. Credit: University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Sparrows and Science: Targeting Coastal Habitat for Restoration

Newly hatched saltmarsh sparrows are found nestled together in the marsh grass at Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Conn.

June 4, 2015 - The recent PBS documentary episode “Animal Homes: Location, Location, Location,” portrays the daily struggle for survival of the saltmarsh sparrow, as sea water is pulled into the marsh by high tide. Female saltmarsh sparrows use Atlantic coast marshes as nesting grounds, but climate change, rising sea levels and increased storm intensity have caused nest flooding to become unavoidable, in many cases. Several Hurricane Sandy-funded science projects led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are studying coastal habitats and species, identifying areas for restoration to help protect people and wildlife against the forces of future storms.

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Newly hatched saltmarsh sparrows are found nestled together in the marsh grass at Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in Stonington, Conn. Credit: Margie Brenner/USFWS


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Last updated: May 1, 2015