Sandy debris removal in New Jersey paves way for marsh restoration

Last edited 09/05/2019
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Contact: Margie Brenner (USFWS),, (413) 992-8132

A $13 million debris and tree removal project at E. B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey cleaned up more than 32,000 acres of saltmarsh and coastal habitat at locations near or within the refuge boundaries. Restoration of wildlife habitat will follow the debris removal.

In June 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed a $13 million debris and tree removal project, cleaning up over 32,000 acres of saltmarsh and coastal habitat in areas such as Brick, Stafford, Eagleswood, Tuckerton, Lacey, Galloway and Barnegat, as well as other locations within the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge boundaries. The project removed 1,900 tons of debris from 22 miles of coastline and employed more than 100 workers.  By restoring and enhancing salt marshes as critical natural defenses, communities along 60 miles of coastal New Jersey are provided with increased storm protection. In addition, over 1,500 tires have been removed from the refuge, reducing pockets of mosquito-breeding habitat in the future.

Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig said removing the debris allows coastal areas to recover, providing healthier habitat for native wildlife while acting as a buffer against future storms. E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of sensitive wetlands, marshes, and coastal habitats along the New Jersey shore. It is one of the most important habitats for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds east of the Mississippi River. This project clears the way for the next step of building a more resilient coast, with marsh enhancement projects scheduled to begin in winter 2015.


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