In the 1920s, a dam was constructed within Westecunk Creek in Eagleswood Township along Silver Lake Road to impound water for local cranberry bog development. The barrier hindered the passage of year-round resident and migratory diadromous fish (those that move between fresh and salt water at different points in their life) during low flow conditions. With funding from Hurricane Sandy recovery (Disaster Relief Appropriations Act – H.R. 152), the structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

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was removed.

The 23-foot-long barrier was a concrete spillway that impeded natural hydrology in low water situations. Additionally, it was an attractive nuisance and unsafe. The completed project allowed for tidal flow to occur in 13km upstream of the structure once again. Species that benefitted from the restoration of the site included federal trust species such as alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), and American eel (Anguilla rostrata). Adjacent upland areas were restored with native vegetation.

All vegetation was removed to clear the site and allow access for large equipment. The concrete walls were demolished and used onsite to fill a sluice channel. Fill material was used to cover the entire site, and vegetation such as Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and forbs was planted. Construction started in December 2015 and was completed in April 2016 when the final plantings occurred. Monitoring of fish passage occurred through a cooperative agreement with the Barnegat Bay Partnership. Some fish use was recorded immediately.

Project Budget:

Item
Funding Source
Amount

Staff Time

Hurricane Sandy Resilience $152,639
Contract for project Hurricane Sandy Resilience $245,000
Total   $397,639

 

Before Construction

 

 

 

After Construction

 

Species

Programs

The Fish and Aquatic Conservation program leads aquatic conservation efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are committed to tackling the nation’s highest priority aquatic conservation and recreational challenges to conserve, restore, and enhance fisheries for future generations.

Facilities

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 48,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats. More than 82 percent of Forsythe refuge is wetlands, of which 78 percent is salt marsh, interspersed with shallow coves and bays. The refuge’s location in one of the Atlantic Flyway’...