Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Restore Salt Marsh at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge
Work at Reed’s Beach will benefit wildlife and reduce risk of flooding

November 1, 2017

Contact(s):

Brian Braudis

609-463-0994, Ext. 2370

Brian_Braudis@fws.gov


A low-pressure excavator creates narrow, winding channels to drain pooled water in low-lying areas of the salt marsh at Reed’s Beach.

A low-pressure excavator creates narrow, winding channels to drain pooled water in low-lying areas of the salt marsh at Reed’s Beach. Credit: Credit: USFWS

Cape May Court House, N.J. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin a marsh restoration project at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge on Nov. 1. The project will improve the hydrology of the salt marsh north of Reed’s Beach Road to benefit wildlife and reduce the risk of flooding. It is part of a $15-million project to restore marshes along 60 miles of coastal New Jersey, supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery and resilience.

To restore the marsh’s natural hydrology, or water movement, a small, low-pressure excavator will create narrow, winding channels to drain pooled water in low-lying areas of the marsh. Existing straight-line channels, created to drain the marsh for mosquito control in the 19th and 20th centuries, will be unblocked and made more sinuous. Work will take place in creeks and waterways in a localized area of the marsh.

Salt marshes are important habitats for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and other wildlife. They also act as buffers for storm surge and sea-level rise, absorbing, then slowly releasing, waters that would otherwise cause flooding.

“This project will benefit both wildlife and human communities,” noted Refuge Manager Brian Braudis. “A naturally functioning salt marsh offers resting and breeding habitat for species like the saltmarsh sparrow and black duck, while helping protect private property from the effects of severe storms and sea-level rise.”

Project partners include Sovereign Environmental, Amec Foster Wheeler, Cape May County, Axis Geospatial, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. Work should be done by Nov. 17, 2017.


Established in 1989, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge provides critical habitat to a wide variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. It supports 317 bird species, 42 mammal species, 55 reptile and amphibian species, and numerous fish, shellfish, and other invertebrates. Learn more at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/cape_may/.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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