Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
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A Stronger Coast

Three USFWS Northeast Region National Wildlife Refuge Projects to Increase Coastal Resilience and Preparedness

Location: CT, DE, MA, ME, NJ, NY, RI, VA

Project type: Resilience

Funding awarded: $2,060,000

Project Summary

The three projects included in this study are intended to identify vulnerabilities and strengths of over 70 miles of shoreline at coastal refuges, assess the integrity of over 30,000 acres of coastal marsh that protect adjacent shorelines and help preserve the species they support.

Conservation Goals

  • Shoreline Survey and Analysis: Identify the seasonal, annual and long-term trends and vulnerability of shorelines and beach-dune topography on 12 coastal National Wildlife Refuges/Complexes as a part of the basis for understanding the coastal geomorphological system. Complete the first five-year change analysis for Northeast Region National Wildlife Refuge sandy shorelines, pre and post-Sandy, and identify trends
  • Salt Marsh Integrity Assessment: Complete assessments on all Northeast Region salt marsh refuges and identify priority parcels for resiliency restoration
  • Integrated Waterbird Management Monitoring: identify waterbird population trends on a landscape scale and identify crucial locations to provide increased resilience in the face of future storms.

Project Benefits

  • Increases Service capacity for adaptation planning
  • Increases Service ability to identify vulnerable areas

Project Partners

  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • Rutgers University
  • Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program (SHARP)
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Maine
  • University of Delaware
  • University of New Hampshire
  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF)
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Additional Details

Marsh and shoreline restoration for the goal of increasing resilience to future storm surge and sea level rise is most effective when informed by extensively collated field research and predictive modeling. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and in consideration of future storm projections, efforts to engage in marsh restoration, and/or shoreline projects, need to be directed to where they are most needed to provide optimum benefits to wildlife habitat, ecological integrity and community protection. This project will identify the most at-risk areas and recommend restoration and management decisions to on-the-ground decision-makers.

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Last updated: November 4, 2016