In advance of next week’s one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined Interior and local officials at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. There, Secretary Jewell announced that $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects that will better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms. This will be achieved by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches; rebuilding shorelines; and researching the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts. More information can be found at http://www.fws.gov/hurricane/sandy.
Two of these projects will take place on National Wildlife Refuges in the Chesapeake Bay. Martin National Wildlife Refuge in Somerset County, Maryland will receive $9 million to construct nearly 21,000 feet of shoreline protection on the refuge. This project will stabilize the rapidly eroding western shore of the refuge. The second project will take place on Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Kent County, Maryland. This refuge will receive $1.5 million to construct approximately 4,000 feet of shoreline protection on the southern end of the refuge on the shores of the Chester River.
Both projects will use a “living shoreline” design to dissipate wave energy and slow shoreline erosion, increasing the resiliency of refuge tidal habitats to storm events. These projects will protect thousands of acres of tidal wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation, sustaining the benefits they provide in the form of commercial and recreational fisheries, waterfowl habitat, and improved water quality.
“We are very excited about the protection these projects will provide the refuges,” says Matt Whitbeck, wildlife biologist for the refuges. “These marshes are relatively high in elevation, meaning they should resist sea level rise for a considerable time. Shoreline erosion is the biggest and most immediate threat. By stabilizing the shoreline and improving resiliency to coastal storms, these wetlands will continue to provide benefits into the foreseeable future.”
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. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.