Building a Stronger Coast
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Scenes of the public up and down the Atlantic Coast.

Featured Communities

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with other federal agencies and conservation partners to build a stronger Atlantic Coast by enhancing wildlife habitats that also protect coastal communities against future storms and sea-level rise predicted with a changing climate. These efforts are supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery. Recognizing the interconnected nature of our conservation work, the stories below highlight communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and ongoing efforts led by the Service and our partners to safeguard people and wildlife -- now and in the future.


Multimedia Feature: A River Runs Free in Rhode Island

Released October 26, 2017

Not so long ago, mills were the lifeblood of their communities, harnessing the currents of Northeast rivers, like the Pawcatuck in Rhode Island, to produce lumber, flour, and cotton and woolen goods. But today many dams used by the mills have aged into perilous barriers, blocking migratory fish runs and presenting potential liabilities to the communities they once served.

Supported in part by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and other partners are removing obsolete dams to restore a natural flow to the Pawcatuck River. Opening and connecting the river improves fish habitat and reduces the risk of flooding in towns along the river’s banks. It also enhances recreational opportunities like fishing and kayaking and supports local economies.

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Learn more about the project


Video Feature: A River Flows Free in New Haven, CT

Released October 4, 2016

After enduring years of repeated flooding to homes and businesses, one urban community is now optimistic that flooding won’t be the problem it once was. The 2016 removal of Pond Lily dam reduces the risk of flooding during future storms. Dam removal also opens up 2.6 miles of the West River, improving passage for fish such as herring, eel and shad. And the dam site itself is being transformed into an urban nature park for the local community to enjoy.

The video highlights the community effort behind the project, which was supported by $661,000 in federal funding from Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Watch the video
Learn more about the project


Video Feature: The Community of Smith Island, Maryland

Released October 23, 2015

At Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge on Smith Island, Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay, the Service and partners are installing a nearly 21,000 foot living shoreline at the refuge’s Fog Point. The rock and sand structure will protect more than 1,200 acres of quality tidal high marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation and clam beds for marine species and significant populations of nesting black ducks, black skimmers, herons, egrets, and American oystercatchers, among others. Smith Island residents describe how the project improves coastal habitat which offers the added benefit of helping their livelihoods as crabbers and watermen.

View the video
More about the Hurricane Sandy Fog Point living shoreline project
View photos of restoration work on Smith Island


Video Feature: The Communities of the Great Dismal Swamp

Released January 7, 2015

At Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia and North Carolina, the Service and partners are working to manage water levels during storms, which can help reduce impacts of floods and fire in nearby communities like Suffolk and Chesapeake, Va. Eric Martin, Director of Public Works for the City of Chesapeake, describes how controlling water flow in ditches upstream of local neighborhoods will help protect against flooding of homes and major roads downstream from the refuge.

View the video
More about the Hurricane Sandy Great Dismal Swamp project
View photos of restoration work in the Great Dismal Swamp NWR


Video Feature: The Communities of the Great Marsh

Released September 30, 2014

Learn how Department of the Interior funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery -- leveraged with $2.9 million in DOI competitive grants administered through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation -- is helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Federation and local partners strengthen the Great Marsh to sustain wildlife and safeguard local communities from future storms.

View the video
More about the Hurricane Sandy Great Marsh restoration project
View photos of coastal restoration work in the Great Marsh


Video Feature: The Community of Middle Township, New Jersey

Released July 23, 2014

A $1.65 million beach habitat restoration project along the shores of Delaware Bay will benefit native horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds, including the threatened rufa red knot. At the same time, the project will help local communities like Middle Township, New Jersey, whose Mayor Tim Donohue describes how strengthening natural defenses will in turn protect homes and support the area's ecotourism industry.

View the video
More about the Hurricane Sandy Delaware Bay beach habitat project
View photos of the New Jersey beach restoration project

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Infographic: Building a Stronger Coast

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Last updated: April 11, 2018