Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Ocean at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Alexa Marcigliano/USFWS
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Living Shoreline - Oyster Reef Restoration & Construction

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Virginia

Project type: Resilience

Project status: Complete

Funding awarded: $553,425


Oyster reefs were built at Tom’s Cove and Assateague Beach at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) as the foundation for their living shoreline designs.

Project Summary

This project will construct two living shoreline projects totalling 3,650 linear feet and two acres of oyster reefs on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. This will help restore, rebuild and enhance natural defenses to the refuge after impacts associated with Hurricane Sandy.

Conservation Goals

  • Construct 3,650 linear feet of living shoreline at two locations
  • Construct two acres of oyster reef composed of dredged fossil oyster shell

Project Benefits

  • Bolsters natural protection of refuge lands and protects primary access road from future storm surge
  • Ensures continued refuge access to public and wildlife management personnel
  • Supplies natural benefits (oyster reefs) including sediment uptake, water filtration and nutrient removal

Project Partners

  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Virginia Water Resources Center
  • North Carolina Department of Natural Resources (NCDNR)
  • Partners for Fish and Wildlife
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • Virginia Marine Resources Commission
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • Assateague Coastal Trus
  • Assateague Coastkeeper
  • Chincoteague Natural History Association
  • The Climate Change Working Group
  • Marine Science Consortium
  • Maryland Coastal Bays Program
  • Eastern Shorekeeper
  • Virginia Eastern Shore Land Trust

Additional Details

Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, its shorelines and its primary access road to the mainland. In an effort to protect these properties from future storms, The U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to construct 1,000 linear feet of living shoreline along the Tom's Cove section of the beach access road (composed of oyster castles, an alternative substrate utilized in oyster restoration), and 2,650 linear feet along the service road at the refuge's North Wash Flats. It will also create two acres of oyster reefs in Tom's Cove offshore of the beach access road.

Learn about other projects at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

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Last updated: November 4, 2016