Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Coastal Program News and Highlights

An example of a round culvert that restricts fish movement
An example of a round culvert that restricts fish movement. Credit: USFWS

Biologists check if Maine culverts allow fish passage

October 22, 2012

Staff from the Service's New York and Maine field offices assessed three culverts in the Gulf of Maine to and found that two of the road-stream pipes needed improvements to pass endangered Atlantic salmon and other fish. Biologists usually recommend removing round culvert pipes and replacing them with three-sided culverts or bottomless culverts (arches) to provide fish passage.

More about fish passage and culverts (PDF-1.25MB)

Planting native shrubs for New England cottontails
Planting native shrubs helps create habitat for the New England cottontail, which uses thickets, young forest and shrubland for its home. These young forests are generally less than 25 years old.
Credit: USFWS

$1.6 million will support community-based projects improving the health of Long Island Sound

October 1, 2012

State and federal officials recently announced $1.6 million in 35 grants awarded to state and local government and community groups in New York and Connecticut under the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. When leveraged by $3 million contributed by the recipients themselves, a total of $4.6 million will support conservation projects opening 50 river miles and restoring 390 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat ranging from lakes and beaches to meadows and rivers. Projects range from removing invasive plants at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge to managing 20 acres in Stonington, Conn., for New England cottontails and other wildlife in young forests. This public-private grant program pools funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Wells Fargo.

Fact sheet
Project descriptions

map of project area and Flanders Stream watershed
Project area and Flanders Stream watershed
Click map to enlarge

Restoring fish access to 535 acres of lake habitat

September 12, 2012

Town of Sullivan, ME

Gulf of Maine Coastal Program will complete a 5-year project on Flanders Stream that will restore access to 535 acres of lake habitat, and 3 miles of riverine habitat for native amphibians and reptiles, as well as sea-run alewives, American eel, brook trout and sea lamprey. GOMCP biologist, Sandra Lary, has spent several years assessing, planning, designing, permitting, funding, and partnering for this project.

Full story
Download "Maine Stream Crossings: New Designs to Restore Continuity"

stream survey technicians measure a culvert
Stream survey technicians measure a culvert
Credit: Mao Teng Lin/USFWS

Stream Restoration Initiative (on Maine Public Broadcasting Network)

August 31, 2012

Every time a road crosses a stream, a bridge or culvert makes that crossing possible. Alex Abbott, a fish passage specialist with Gulf of Maine Coastal Program, describes why it's important to have the right size and type of culvert, and why it's critical to install it properly.

Hear the story on MPBN
Download "Maine Stream Crossings: New Designs to Restore Continuity"

Sandy Point Island
Nutria.Credit: USFWS

Field office gains another partner in efforts to eradicate nutria

The Chesapeake Bay Field Office recently held a workshop with an Amish community near the Maryland/Delaware border. A population of the invasive nutria has established there, and landowners are now engaged in a network to report sightings and help eradicate the rodents eliminating the region's wetlands.

Learn more about the nutria effort

CBFO biologist Conor Bell moves trees to nesting site on Poplar Island. Credit: USFWS

Discarded Christmas trees bring new life to Poplar Island

Biologists are finding innovative ways to use Christmas trees to provide shelter and nesting areas for much of the Chesapeake's wildlife. After the holiday season, discarded trees were hauled on boats to Poplar Island, a 1,140-acre reconstructed island in the Chesapeake Bay, about a mile east of Tilghman Island.

Watch the video

Sandy Point Island
Sandy Point Island provides an important habitat for wildlife, especially migratory birds.Credit: USFWS

Protecting the beach and birds of Sandy Point Island

The Service, Avalonia Land Conservancy and residents teamed up in 2009 to balance recreational use and wildlife conservation on this beloved barrier island between Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Read more

Officials and partners begin planning future of Rhode Island rivers

Service biologists are helping the Rhode Island River Restoration Workgroup review and develop a white paper that will focus on restoring the ecological health of Rhode Island's rivers. The guide will include priorities and recommendations for funding, regulation, planning and policy, and legislation.

Hydropower relicensing to incorporate wildlife needs

Service biologists recently met with state and federal fishery managers, state 401 agencies, fish researchers from USGS-Conte Lab and non-government organizations on the five upcoming hydropower relicenses on the Connecticut River. The projects collectively impact more then 175 river miles, and the group intends to study needs related to project impacts on fish resources.

Image of nutria
Credit: USFWS

First invasive nutria population since 2002 confirmed in Delaware

Following on a lead from an alert fur buyer, biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture's APHIS Wildlife Services confirmed the presence of a nutria population on a pond near Marydel, in west-central Delaware. Maryland's nutria population was established when nutria escaped or were intentionally released from fur farms in the 1940s. The nutria's destructive feeding habits have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of acres of marsh to erosion throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

Read more
More about nutria

Image of Chicamacomico River wetlands
A grant for $986,604 will conserve Chicamacomico River wetlands in Maryland. Credit: USFWS

$6.8 million in grants will conserve the Northeast coast

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that nearly $6.8 million in grants will support seven projects to conserve and restore coastal wetlands in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. Across America, the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program will this year award $20.5 million in grants, matched by almost $21 million from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups.

Learn more

Partners dedicate center at the New Jersey State Aquarium

The Coastal America Partnership dedicated a new Ecosystem Learning Center at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J, on November 15. The Service contributed items from the Federal Repository in Colorado.

Before and after photos of Pleasant River
Credit: USFWS

Service continues to bring fish back to Maine's waters

The Service's Gulf of Maine Coastal Program and Maine Field Office worked with the Appalachian Mountain Club and NRCS to remove three damaged and undersized culverts on tributaries of the Pleasant River in the Penobscot River watershed. The project supports Keeping Maine's Forests' efforts to work with the forest products industry to restore connection among water bodies for passage of aquatic wildlife.

Health, recreation and fish passage return to Rhode Island river

Government officials, partners and the public recently celebrated the removal of the obsolete Pawtuxet Falls Dam in Pawtuxet Village, R.I. In August, 2011, Pawtuxet River waters freely entered the Narragansett Bay for the first time in 300 years, restoring passage for native migratory fish. More than a dozen partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provided funding, technical assistance and volunteer work.

Watch the news video
Read the project blog

Photo of roseate tern
Roseate tern on Great Gull Island.
Credit: Sarah Nystrom

Great Gull Island, a fort for the birds

Great Gull Island, at the far eastern end of Long Island Sound, supports the largest nesting groups of the common tern, considered threatened by the State of New York, and the roseate tern, listed as endangered both by the state and federally.

Read more
See photos

Photo of Long Beach West after restoration
An area of Long Beach West after restoration, which included the removal of 37 cottages, 25 outbuildings, four docks and other debris.
Credit: USFWS

Connecticut beach restoration receives 2011 Department of the Interior award

The federal, state and local partners that led the 35-acre restoration of Stratford's Long Beach West have been awarded a 2011 Environmental Achievement Award. Restoration of this site included removal of 37 unoccupied cottages and hazardous materials to help restore this barrier beach for passive recreation and habitat for species including piping plovers and least terns.

Read about the award
Learn more about Long Beach West restoration

Photo of coast in Blue Hill, Maine
Blue Hill, Maine, is an example of the state's remarkable coastal habitat.
Credit: Chesapeake Bay Field Office/USFWS

Landowner group blog highlights Coastal Program

The national Private Landowner Network has featured the Gulf of Maine Coastal Program in its blog, Keep Working Lands Working. The blog emphasizes the role of the program in connecting key players to help restore federal, state and private lands through technical assistance, data, funding and other means.

Read the blog post

Dam removal in Rhode Island receives state conservation award

The Environment Council of Rhode Island honored the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association and the federal, state, municipal, tribal and private partners in May for the first dam removal on the Pawcatuck River and the second dam removal in the state. The removal of the Lower Shannock Falls Dam has restored passage to historical habitat for fish including American shad, American eel, alewife and blueback herring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided funds, technical assistance and American shad for stocking through the Fisheries, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Coastal and Engineering programs.

Learn more about the award

Project restoring Cape May, N.J., receives national award

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was honored, along with other federal, state and local agencies, in April for its work on habitat for the federally protected piping plover at the renowned Cape May Meadows in New Jersey. The groups received the Coastal America Award from Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy on behalf of President Barack Obama.

Learn more about the award
Read the Cape May County Herald or the Press of Atlantic City articles

Service will help restore fish passage in Connecticut

The Southern New England - New York Bight Coastal Program is working with partners to remove a 100-year-old dam and restore passage for herring, American eels and other fish in Anguilla Brook in Pawcatuck, Conn. A fish ladder will be built over another dam downstream to further help.

Read a news article about the project

Girl Scout volunteer helps with terrapin hatchling on Poplar Island
Girl Scout volunteer helps with terrapin hatchling on Poplar Island.
Credit: Chesapeake Bay Field Office/USFWS

Local Boy and Girl Scouts help restore Poplar Island

The Chesapeake Bay Field Office is working with local Scout troops to build tree swallow boxes for the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration site at Poplar Island. Poplar Island is one of the largest island habitat restoration sites in the world and critical for nesting colonial water birds. The site will contribute 1,500 acres of critical habitat to the Chesapeake Bay.

Long Beach West project featured in Connecticut

The Sound Outlook, the newsletter of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, featured the Long Beach West beach restoration project in its February issue. The Southern New England-New York Bight Coastal Program recently finished demolition of abandoned cottages and started restoration efforts including invasive species removal and beach grass planting.

Read the story

Last updated: May 22, 2013