Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge - USFWS

Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Location: Charlestown, RI


Resilience Outline Resilience Projects Recovery Icon Recovery Projects

Resil Shield

Project: Protecting Property & Helping Coastal Wildlife - Enhancing Salt Marsh and Estuarine Function and Resiliency for Key Habitats on Impacted Wildlife Refuges

Location: Rhode Island to Southern Maine

Project Type: Resilience

Funding awarded: $4,150,000

Project Summary

This project will enhance natural coastal defenses to buffer effects of a changing climate for eight local communities, economies and wildlife that depend on healthy salt marsh ecosystems. These areas include more than 400 acres in key coastal areas of Rhode Island, 50 acres in coastal Massachusetts and 50 acres in coastal Maine.

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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.

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Recovery hammer

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

Project Type: Recovery

Funding awarded: $686,591

Project Summary

This project will provide backup and solar photovoltaic power to facilities at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

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.


Recovery hammer

Project: Remove Trees and Debris, Repair Refuge Infrastructure

Project Type: Recovery

Funding awarded: $180,500

Project Summary

This project will remove trees and debris from refuge grounds and coastal marshes, repair damages to buildings and infrastructure at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Work will include repairs to a pond house roof; the Moonstone Dune fence; a maintenance road and parking lot; the West Beach Sand Trail and Block Island access road and a landfill cap and entrance road at Sachuest Point. Roofs will be replaced at the Visitor Center and maintenance building, and levee breaches repaired at Mud Pond and Moonstone Dune.

Conservation / Restoration Goals

  • Restore access to wildlife areas
  • Restore visitor facilities
  • Secure landfill integrity
  • Repair levee to protect trails and habitat

Project Benefits

  • Restores staff and visitor access
  • Protects refuge areas
  • Mitigates public safety concerns

Recovery hammer

Project: Repair Access Road

Project Type: Recovery

Funding awarded: $95,000

Project Summary

This project will repair damages to an access road at the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.

Conservation / Restoration Goals

  • Restore access to wildlife areas

Project Benefits

  • Restores staff and visitor access
  • Mitigates public safety concerns

Additional Details

Hurricane Sandy scattered debris across the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge complex, which includes the Ninigret, Sachuest Point, John H. Chafee, Block Island and Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuges. The hurricane also flattened trees and damaged roads, buildings, trails and dikes, and knocked out electrical power. The refuge complex's five units comprise nearly 2,400 acres of coastal wetland and play host to over 400 native and migratory bird species, including 15 rare or endangered species which utilize the Block Island unit.

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Rhode Island Complex Resilience Project Map


Rhode Island Complex Recovery Project Map


Rhode Island Complex Damage Photos

Sachuest Point NWR Damage Photos

Last updated: November 21, 2014