Building a Stronger Coast
Snow geese at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge - USFWS.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Milton, DE


Resilience Outline Resilience Projects Recovery Icon Recovery Projects

Resil Shield

Project: Rebuild/Enhance Natural Coastal Defenses

Location: Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge - Milton, DE

Project Type: Resilience

Funding awarded: $19,805,000

Project Summary

This project restores a highly damaged tidal salt marsh/barrier beach ecosystem covering about 4,000 acres of marsh within the former impounded wetland system on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. This coastal wetland restoration provides natural and economic benefits to several adjacent and nearby communities in Delaware, such as enhanced natural storm barriers, improved wildlife habitat and increased tourism.

Learn more


Resil Shield

Project: A Stronger Coast - Three USFWS Northeast Region National Wildlife Refuge Projects to Increase Coastal Resilience and Preparedness

Location: Regional

Project Type: Resilience

Funding awarded: $2,060,000

Project Summary

The three projects included in this study are intended to identify vulnerabilities and strengths of over 70 miles of shoreline at coastal refuges, assess the integrity of over 30,000 acres of coastal marsh that protect adjacent shorelines and help preserve the species they support.

Learn more


Recovery hammer

Project: Rebuild/Enhance Natural Coastal Defenses

Project Type: Recovery

Funding awarded: $19,000,000

Project Summary

This project will work in tandem with its associated resilience project to rebuild and enhance the natural defenses present at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. It will transport sand from offshore locations to rebuild about one mile of existing dunes and barrier beach and fill gaps that were created by Hurricane Sandy. Dunes will be re-sloped and native vegetation planted to stabilize the marsh/barrier beach ecosystem complex, which will help slow future erosion and protect coastal communities, wildlife habitat and tidal marsh.

Conservation / Restoration Goals

  • Restore and enhance natural defense features to help protect mainland and marsh habitat from future storms and sea level rise
  • Plant extensive areas of native marsh vegetation to discourage future erosion of beach/dune restorations
  • Stabilize available habitat for native and migratory species

Project Benefits

  • Protects land and wildlife from future storm surge
  • Slows ongoing process of seawater inundation and shoreline loss due to sea level rise
  • Prepares for more expansive marsh restoration and shoreline stabilization

Additional Details

Even before Hurricane Sandy, sea level rise and more frequent storms caused increased beach erosion and flooding at the Prime Hook refuge. In the last 64 years, the beach at Prime Hook has receded approximately 500 feet. Since 2006, storms have broken through the dune line several times, flooding 4,000 acres of freshwater marsh managed for waterfowl and shorebirds with sea water. Previous repairs to the dunes have not lasted. Hurricane Sandy greatly widened gaps in the dunes on Unit #2 and exacerbated flooding on refuge roads and in the community. There is not enough sand on-site to restore the beach, so reconstructive material will be brought in from other locations. In combination with Prime Hook's separately funded resilience project, this effort will comprise the largest coastal marsh restoration on the Atlantic coast.


Recovery hammer

Project: Provide Backup Power - Generator, Solar and Electrical Improvements

Location: Milton, DE; Smyrna, DE

Project Type: Recovery

Funding awarded: $686,591

Project Summary

This project will provide backup power to the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, and install solar photovoltaic components at Prime Hook.

Conservation / Restoration Goals

  • Supply reliable ancillary power sources to FWS buildings
  • Utilize renewable (solar) electrical systems where possible

Project Benefits

  • Ensures reliable backup power to facilities during emergency outages
  • Reduces annual utility bills for FWS facilities, saving taxpayer dollars
  • Reduces FWS facilities' carbon footprints

Additional Details

This project is one of many regionally planned electrical upgrades to facilities at National Wildlife Refuges and other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stations. Hurricane Sandy and previous storms have knocked out power to headquarters, visitor centers, maintenance buildings, staff housing and supporting structures including garages and visitor restrooms. Outages have damaged sensitive electronic equipment, disabled heating and cooling and resulted in burst frozen water pipes. Equipping buildings with backup generators will enable them to weather outages more effectively and serve as resources for their communities for communications and emergency coordination efforts. In addition, stations equipped with photovoltaic solar panels will see their dependency on off-site power grids reduced or eliminated. Solar power systems will also reduce facilities' carbon footprints and save taxpayer dollars through reduced utility bills.

Connect with Us

Facebook Flickr Twitter Wordpress YouTube RSS

Prime Hook Resilience Project Map


Prime Hook Recovery Project Map


Flying over Prime Hook NWR


Prime Hook Restoration Photos

Prime Hook Damage Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: December 12, 2014