Building a Stronger Coast
Work Begins on New Living Shoreline in Maryland's Eastern Shore

A view of Hail Cove at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

August 23, 2016 - Shoreline erosion, storm damage and climate change are urgent threats at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Surrounded by the waters of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay, the 2,285-acre island refuge lies at the center of a region where scientists say sea levels are rising at rates three to four times faster than the global average.

A new green infrastructure project underway here will help by buffering wave energy and reducing shoreline erosion, while allowing natural processes to take place. The 4,000-foot living shoreline will protect tidal marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) along a highly vulnerable stretch of shoreline -- and hopefully buy it another 50 years of time.

The work is one of 31 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service projects funded by Hurricane Sandy disaster recovery dollars to improve coastal resiliency to storms and other impacts of climate change.

Read the press release



A view of Hail Cove at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
Credit: USFWS


In the News: Protecting an Island Community in the Chesapeake

Smith Island video capture

August 12, 2016 - This summer we completed work on a 21,000-foot living shoreline at the Glenn L. Martin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The living shoreline will help buffer wave energy and stabilize the shoreline, which has been eroding as much as 10-15 feet per year in some areas. Made of rock breakwaters and a restored marsh to help re-create wetlands already lost to erosion, the living shoreline was funded with $9 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

But the living shoreline does more than protect the wildlife refuge. It also helps protect a community of people – the residents of Smith Island. This unique island community and the FWS living shoreline project are featured in a recent episode of the NBC series“Changing Chesapeake."

Watch the news clip
Learn more about the project completion
Watch our video about the living shoreline project at Smith Island



How a Bridge Will Help Improve Coastal Habitat on Cape Cod

View from front of the undersized Parkers River Bridge scheduled to be replaced

August 8, 2016 - It’s not typically what comes to mind when you think of restoring coastal areas, but an improved bridge in Yarmouth, MA, will provide a whole suite of ecological benefits to fish and people here.

The current bridge on busy Route 28 spans just 17 feet over Parkers River, causing a limited flow of tidal waters from the ocean into the 219-acre estuary upstream. The result is a river and estuary that often experiences high levels of nutrients and reduced capacity for fish to migrate and spawn.

The new 30-foot-span bridge aims to remedy this problem. In addition to improving the health of waterways and passage for valuable fish species like river herring, the bridge will increase coastal resilience during storms by providing more space for incoming water to flow and move.

Construction on the bridge begins in the next year and is partially funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

Read about it in the Cape Cod Times
Learn more about the project


View from front of the undersized Parkers River Bridge scheduled to be replaced.
Credit: Lia McLaughlin/USFWS


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Last updated: July 27, 2016