Building a Stronger Coast
Sachuest marsh restoration benefits sparrows, rebuffs storms

saltmarsh sparrow on a branch

July 12, 2018 - When Hurricane Sandy reached Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island in 2012, it hit the salt marsh hard. Federal funding for Sandy recovery and resilience, however, is helping restore the marsh -- improving habitat for species like the saltmarsh sparrow and making the coast more resilient to storms.

Salt marshes, squeezed by development on one side and a rising sea on the other, are in a tight spot. No one feels the pinch more than the saltmarsh sparrow. It lives nowhere else, and its nesting is timed to the tides. Minor changes cause major problems.

By building up the marsh with sediment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to buy time for the sparrow while buffering the coast from future storms.

News story



Restoring the salt marsh at Sachuest Point benefits the saltmarsh sparrow and makes the coast more resilient to storms.
Credit: Dominic Sherony, Creative Commons


Shady Lea dam removal clears way for fish, eliminates risk of failure

dam with water flowing through

July 2, 2018 - This month, after nearly 200 years of holding back the Mattatuxet River in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, the dam at Shady Lea Mill will be removed by partners, including the Fish and Wildlife Service, Save The Bay, and the State of Rhode Island. The project is supported by Hurricane Sandy resilience funds.

Removal of the high-hazard dam will improve passage and habitat for migratory fish, reduce the risk of flooding for downstream residents, and increase the quality of recreational fishing. The Mattatuxet River is a tributary of the Narrow River and part of a system that hosts one of the largest river herring runs in Rhode Island.

Read the story from Rhode Island Public Radio



The Shady Lea Dam is shown last fall, after it was notched to drain water from the impoundment upstream.
Credit: Save The Bay


Restored Beach in New Jersey Is One of the Best

Red knot and horse shoe crabs in sand

May 21, 2018 – In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the USFWS supported restoration at many beaches along the Delaware Bayshore. One of those – Thomspons Beach – was recently named one of the best restored beaches in the United States by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA).

The restoration project at Thompsons Beach was chosen for the environmental and economic benefits it provides, contributing to the region’s multi-million-dollar ecotourism industry by providing critical habitat for horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds such as red knot. ASBPA also highlighted the project’s science-based process and powerful public/private partnerships.

Read more



Red knots and horseshoe crabs at Mispillion Harbor, Delaware.
Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS


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Last updated: April 10, 2018