Building a Stronger Coast
Taking Down Two Dams on the Shawsheen River

De-watering the Marland Place Dam in Andover, MA. Credit: USFWS.

December 14, 2016 – Work has begun to remove Marland Place and Balmoral Dams, the first two barriers for fish from the ocean on the Shawsheen River, a tributary of the Merrimack. Removal of both dams will take several months from drainage to demolition to site restoration.

The project will restore the lower Shawsheen to a free-flowing state – opening up 4.1 miles of river and 16 acres of habitat – and reduce the risk of flooding in downtown Andover, where many businesses and structures directly abut the river.

The majority of funding comes through DOI’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Read the press release



De-watering the Marland Place Dam in Andover, MA.
Credit: USFWS


People Behind a Stronger Coast: Eric Schrading and Katie Conrad

Eric Schrading and Katie Conrad at Gandy’s Beach. Credit: Steve Droter

December 9, 2016 – Four years after Hurricane Sandy struck the Atlantic Coast, we are celebrating those who continue to make their communities #StrongAfterSandy.

Hurricane Sandy dealt a massive blow to Gandy’s Beach, NJ, and surrounding communities. Now a partnership has created more than 3,000 feet of living shoreline oyster reefs to help defend the shoreline from erosion and future storms like Sandy. Projected to reduce incoming wave energy by up to 40 percent, the living shoreline creates a natural defense system that is also self-sustaining – over time, the reefs recruit new oysters and create a fully-functioning marine habitat.

With climate change bringing more frequent and intense storms and rising seas, efforts to make coastlines more resilient to future storms are crucial.

Meet some of the people behind the work in this photo essay



Eric Schrading and Katie Conrad at Gandy’s Beach.
Credit: Steve Droter


The Right Seed in the Right Place at the Right Time

A restored salt marsh is already attracting gulls at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware.  Native plant seeds were used to restore the marsh after it sustained hurricane damage.

December 7, 2016 – The FWS National Refuge System is participating in an innovative seed banking program to increase stocks of native seeds. One refuge highlighted under this “National Seed Strategy” is Prime Hook NWR in Delaware.

To restore salt marshes in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the refuge initiated a $38 million resiliency project that involved re-seeding the marsh with thousands of pounds of seed collected from local marshes by the Mid-Atlantic Seed Bank. Using these locally native plants to improve habitat ensures that native plant communities are better able to recover from stress or disturbance – and the birds love the new grasses.

“Nature would do this itself, but we want to encourage it,” says Prime Hook Refuge restoration manager Bart Wilson. “We are collecting more seed and in spring 2017 we will cover the mud flats to enhance the restoration.”

Read more about how refuges are using native seeds



A restored salt marsh is already attracting gulls at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware. Native plant seeds were used to restore the marsh after it sustained hurricane damage.
Credit: USFWS


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Last updated: December 12, 2016