Building a Stronger Coast
Race Against the Clock to Save Salt Marshes in the Chesapeake Bay

Marsh grasses at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Matt Rath/Chesapeake Bay Program

December 6, 2016 - An ambitious new effort is underway to save 40 acres of tidal wetlands at Maryland’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) from sea-level rise.

The project involves transferring 26,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Blackwater River to the marsh surface in a process called “thin-layering,” with the goal of raising the height of the marsh by 4-6 inches and hopefully extending its lifespan by several decades.

Projects such as this are critical in the Chesapeake Bay, where scientists predict that rising seas will swallow up virtually all of the bay's tidal wetlands by 2100 if no action is taken. This collaborative project is funded under the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grants Program.

Learn more about Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge



Marsh grasses at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Credit: Matt Rath/Chesapeake Bay Program


Restoring Water Flow and Reducing Flood Risk at Wreck Pond

Culvert construction at Wreck Pond in New Jersey. Credit: www.wreckpond.org

November 21, 2016 – Partners and supporters gathered in Spring Lake, NJ, today to celebrate a major milestone at the Wreck Pond restoration project – completion of a new “fish friendly” culvert.

The 600-foot-long culvert is an addition to an existing culvert, effectively doubling capacity for the natural movement of fish, water and sediment between the Atlantic Ocean and the 73-acre coastal Wreck Pond and its tributaries. The construction was expected to finish in mid-December, but crews worked overtime to finish early before winter Nor’easters became a threat.

The restoration project will have wide-reaching benefits for people and wildlife – including reduced flooding problems for adjacent communities, improved water quality at swimming beaches and better access for migratory species to reach their spawning and nursery habitat.

Read the press release
Learn more about the USFWS work at Wreck Pond
Learn more about the partnership behind the project

Culvert construction at Wreck Pond in New Jersey.
Credit: www.wreckpond.org


In the News: 'Drowning' Charlestown Marsh Getting Lift Above Rising Sea

Aerial view of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

November 18, 2016 – On the edge of Ninigret Pond in southern Rhode Island, state elected officials gathered to celebrate the start of a new project to protect marshlands by raising them above sea levels, reports the Providence Journal.

“The basic operating systems of our planet are going haywire,” U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said. “We have a short window of opportunity to try and resolve them.”

He joined Senator Reed, Congressman Langevin and project partners the USFWS and Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council at the site. The project involves dredging the Charlestown Breachway and pumping the material atop 30 acres of marshland to elevate the marsh. The work is similar to other USFWS marsh-elevation projects in Rhode Island, including at Sachuest and Chafee national wildlife refuges.

The project is funded through a DOI grant administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to boost coastal resilience.

Read the full article



Aerial view of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.
Credit: USFWS


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Last updated: December 12, 2016