Building a Stronger Coast
In the News: Forsythe NWR Improvements to Soon Finish

Marsh at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey. Credit: USFWS

January 3, 2017 – The Press of Atlantic City reports that Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey will “soon reopen its Wildlife Drive, which has been closed for months for work on the 8-mile loop roadway and the water-control system built into it.” Wildlife Drive is the most visited area of the refuge.

The article notes that “it’s the last rebuilding needed after Hurricane Sandy caused major damage in 2012.” Hurricane Sandy flooded the system, inundating freshwater impoundments with salt water and resulting in emergency repairs of the roadway.

Work at Forsythe is designed to make the refuge more resilient to future storms and sea-level rise, and includes the addition of a living shoreline and other stabilization features.

Read the article
More about the projects at Forsythe


Marsh at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey.
Credit: USFWS


In the News: At Blackwater Refuge, Rising Sea Levels Drown Habitat

USFWS biologist Matt Whitbeck surveys marsh grasses at Blackwater NWR. Credit: Steve Droter

December 31, 2016 – An article in the Baltimore Sun features the efforts of USFWS and partners to conserve and restore salt marshes at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

While this area was once covered in marsh grasses, rising water levels have drowned out native plants and converted much of the marsh into open water. Scientists predict nearly all of the tidal marsh here could be gone by 2100 without action.

A new project aims to raise 40 acres of marsh by pumping sediment from the bottom of Blackwater River across the marsh land. USFWS biologist Matt Whitbeck hopes the effort will draw saltmarsh sparrows and help the marsh keep pace with rising waters. The article notes that this is “the first large-scale effort of its kind to combat sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay.”

Read the article
Learn more about Blackwater NWR


USFWS biologist Matt Whitbeck surveys marsh grasses at Blackwater NWR.
Credit: Steve Droter


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


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Last updated: December 12, 2016