Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
The Wildlife Drive Reopens at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
Following extensive repairs from damages caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Wildlife Drive will better withstand future storms and improve wildlife habitat

February 13, 2017


Virginia Rettig (USFWS), Refuge Manager, 609/652-1665,


Galloway, NJ – Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge’s Wildlife Drive has reopened following extensive repairs from damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Refuge officials say the repaired roadway will be more resilient to future storms and improve habitat for wildlife and the visitor experience

Hurricane Sandy pounded the refuge in October 2012. The Wildlife Drive in particular suffered significant damage, including heavy erosion, severe damage to the impoundment walls and damage to the water control structures, which allow regulation of water levels in the various pools.  Immediate emergency repairs were made but the larger issues required more time and planning to implement.

A comprehensive inspection following Sandy highlighted key issues that needed to be addressed for successful long-term management of the Drive. Two areas vulnerable to erosion on the north and south sides known as Turtle Cove and Dogleg respectively needed reinforcement. Erosion potential was high and a failure in these places would compromise the integrity of multiple pools. This work was one of the first tasks to be undertaken and was completed in summer 2016.

The interior dike in the West Pool, known as Long Dike, had been breached for some time and had limited the  ability to create diverse foraging habitat for birds. Repairs to rebuild this dike began in September 2016 and were completed in December.

The water control structure on the East Dike was not big enough to manage the volume of water moving through. Eventually, this would lead to a failure and possible breaching of the Drive at that location. During the past several weeks construction crews carefully removed the old structure and built a new one in its place.

The final task was to resurface the Wildlife Drive to a uniform and more wear-resistant surface with recycled crushed concrete.

These projects were funded through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which provided the Service with nearly $65 million in federal emergency funding for repair projects at national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries along the Atlantic Coast damaged during the 2012 hurricane, has meant regular and often inopportune closures of the Drive and both refuge staff and visitors are excited to have the Drive fully reopened.

To celebrate the Wildlife Drive’s grand reopening, entrance fees have been waived until April 1, 2017. Refuge staff look forward to a busy spring migration and encourage the public to visit soon.

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