Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Living Shoreline Protects Fragile Eastern Neck Habitat
Northeast Region, September 10, 2009
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Children planting at Hail Cove, Jennifer Greiner USFWS
Children planting at Hail Cove, Jennifer Greiner USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
CBFO biologist Mitch Heiler helps children with planting, Jennifer Greiner USFWS
CBFO biologist Mitch Heiler helps children with planting, Jennifer Greiner USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

The Hail Cove Living Shoreline Project, at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Kent County, Maryland, demonstrates an alternative to traditional shoreline protection revetment practices that nearly eliminate important shallow water habitat.


Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is a 2,286-acre stopover area for migratory and wintering waterfowl at the mouth of the Chester River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Within Eastern Neck is Hail Cove which separates the Chester River and Hail Creek. Hail Cove is regarded as one of the five best waterfowl habitats in Maryland.


Aerial surveys over the past 10 years revealed the importance of protecting Hail Creek from damaging erosion due to prevailing winds. Protecting Hail Cove will preserve submerged aquatic vegetation that is so critical to migratory waterfowl. The living shoreline will also reduce shore erosion and create marsh and reef habitat for Chesapeake Bay wildlife such as blue crabs, diamondback terrapins, fish, oysters and mussels.


On August 12, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order, Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration that calls on the federal government to lead the effort to control pollution that flows into the Chesapeake Bay and protect wildlife habitats in the region.


It directs federal agencies to work with State and local government as well as the private sector and use their expertise to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Hail Cove shows how this collaboration can work to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay.


The Hail Cove project represents a collaborative effort between government agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector to protect and enhance valuable resources l The work at the site is focused on the protection of these important resources for years to come.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Aquarium, with help from many funding partners, have been working together to restore the living shoreline of Hail Cove.


Earlier this summer, low profile headland breakwaters were constructed to reduce wave energy and sand was placed along the existing shoreline to provide an environment suitable for bay grasses and emergent plants. The restoration project was completed with planting of marsh grasses by volunteers and students from Rock Hall Elementary School. In addition, volunteers from Washington College Center for Environment and Society are restoring a nearby oyster reef.


For more information contact:

David Sutherland



Chesapeake Bay Field Office

Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov
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