Beach restoration at Delaware Bay restored critical habitat for horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds such as the imperiled rufa red knot. Photo Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS
Tom Sturm of our Northeast Region filed this report on our Hurricane Sandy restoration and resiliency projects for the next issue of Fish & Wildlife News. We're giving you an early read.
By strengthening natural defenses, the Service and partners help wildlife and coastal communities better withstand future storms.
Five beach restoration efforts on Delaware Bay brought back to life one of the most crucial habitats for migratory birds on the East Coast. The beaches, badly eroded by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, will likely face continuing challenges from future storms, sea-level rise and ongoing shoreline development. To bolster the depleted landscape at Moores Beach, trucks brought in more than 70 loads of sand daily. All told, the multiple contractors working at Moores, Reeds, Kimbles, Cooks and Pierces Point beaches would deposit 45,000 tons of sand by the time the restoration project wrapped up in April.
“This sand is critical for horseshoe crab spawning,” says New Jersey Field Office biologist Eric Schrading. “If you don’t have it, they won’t be able to reproduce, won’t have any sand to dig into. In the end, if you don’t have horseshoe crabs laying eggs then there’s nothing for the shorebirds to feed on.”