Building a Stronger Coast
Refuges respond to sea level rise

a woman standing in salt marsh grass

September 12, 2019 - At national wildlife refuges up and down the East Coast, flooding and erosion caused by sea level rise, along with other effects of a changing climate, are jeopardizing wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreational opportunities. Managers are also faced with shrinking staffs and nearby development.

While federal funding following Hurricane Sandy restored natural systems that benefit wildlife and people on many refuges, pressures persist. Results of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey encourage partnerships between refuges and local stakeholders to address continuing threats. Adding acres farther inland is one strategy for addressing an encroaching ocean.

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Biologist Nancy Pau oversees restoration of the Great Marsh on Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to benefit wildlife and nearby communities.
Credit: Steve Droter

In the news: Reefs beef up bay beaches

two red birds and horseshoe crabs on a sandy beach

Aug. 13. 2019 - Volunteers helped fortify beaches along Delaware Bay last weekend as part of a "shell-a-bration" event at Cook's Beach. 75 volunteers helped to build three reefs, made of bags of oyster shells, in one of the largest efforts of its kind to date.

These "living shoreline" oyster reefs are being built at 5 beaches that were restored with federal funding following Hurricane Sandy. The project is led by the American Littoral Society, who said the reefs have been successful so far in stopping erosion and improving habitat for migratory shorebirds such as red knot.

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Caption/credit: Red knot in Delaware Bay.
Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS

Patapsco River safer, healthier without Bloede Dam

a river winding through a landscape

August 2, 2019 - Bloede Dam is history, and the future is brighter for the Patapsco River in Maryland. The nearly $18-million project to remove the obsolete and dangerous dam was completed by public and private partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It eliminated a significant safety hazard, restored wildlife habitat, and improved recreational opportunities.

The project restored more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for blueback herring, alewife, American shad, and hickory shad and more than 183 miles for American eel. It was partially funded by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which gave the Fish and Wildlife Service more than $100 million to make human and wildlife communities stronger after Hurricane Sandy.

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The Patapsco River runs free at the former Bloede Dam site in Maryland.
Credit: American Rivers, Serena McClain


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Last updated: March 6, 2019