Building a Stronger Coast
A model for managing the swamp

a person looking at a computer screen

December 17, 2018 - Thanks to a new computer model developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Fish and Wildlife Service can better manage Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to benefit wildlife and local communities.

The model will guide refuge staff in using water control structures on the swamp’s ditch system to restore natural water patterns, thus improving wildlife habitat, discouraging wildfires, and reducing flooding of nearby neighborhoods during severe storms. It was supported by funds for resilience projects following Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge hydrologist Fred Wurster uses a new computer model to explore options for managing the flow of water through the swamp.
Credit: USFWS


Service updating system that protects public safety and coastal resources

a sunset over a grassy marsh with houses in the background

December 17, 2018 - The Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on proposed changes to the Coastal Barrier Resources System, which identifies ecologically sensitive and hurricane-prone areas along the coast.

The Coastal Barriers Resources Act of 1982 established the system and banned the use of federal dollars for construction of and repairs to infrastructure on its lands. The legislation has saved taxpayers millions of dollars and protected undeveloped coastal areas that buffer the effects of severe storms and offer wildlife habitat.

The public has until April 17, 2019 to comment on the proposed changes, which adjust the boundaries of 256 existing units and add 54 new units in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York (Long Island), Rhode Island, and Virginia. The updating exercise was supported by federal funds for recovery and resilience projects following Hurricane Sandy.

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Some coastal lands, including salt marshes, are protected from development through the Coastal Barrier Resources System, which is being updated by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Credit: Steve Droter


A stronger marsh for people and wildlife

a landscape of a golden brown saltmarsh

December 10, 2018 - A $1.4-million marsh restoration project at John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island will be completed this month. The work is supported by Federal funds for Hurricane Sandy resilience projects and more than a dozen Federal, state, and local organizations, including The Nature Conservancy.

Sediment dredged from the bottom of the Narrow River will be pumped to the nearby shore to create new salt marsh habitat that will benefit species such as saltmarsh sparrow, great egret, and black duck. The new marsh will also make the coast stronger in the face of sea-level rise and storm surge.

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Newly created high salt marsh habitat at Chafee National Wildlife Refuge will cushion the blows from sea-level rise and storm surge while supporting species like saltmarsh sparrow.
Credit: Steve Droter


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Last updated: November 15, 2018