Working with nature to engineer a more resilient Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge marsh restoration - dredge work to drain flooded marsh.
10/20/2015
Last edited 10/21/2015

Contact: Margie Brenner (USFWS), Margie_Brenner@fws.gov, (413) 992-8132

A $38 million marsh restoration project to build storm and sea-level rise resilience into the natural landscape is under way at Delaware’s Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The project is repairing breached marshes and reconstructing severely damaged shoreline, including critical dune restoration, to sustain wildlife and protect local communities.


Construction of a $38 million marsh restoration project is currently working to build storm and sea-level rise resilience into the natural landscape at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Milton, Delaware. The project is repairing breached marshes and reconstructing severely damaged shoreline, including critical dune restoration. Approximately 4,000 acres of back-barrier tidal marsh are being restored, which will enhance and support a long stretch of barrier beach along the Delaware Bay. Efforts will carve out miles of marsh drainage channels through October, then pump in 1.1 million cubic yards of sand along 7,000 linear feet of shoreline and fill the deep cuts formed during Hurricane Sandy and other storms. The dunes and restored beach area will be planted with beach grasses and shrubs to hold the sand in place.

Al Rizzo, project leader for the Coastal Delaware National Wildlife Refuge Complex, says restored marshes at the refuge will provide a more resilient coast against future storms and create additional habitat for birds, including American oystercatchers and federally listed species such as rufa red knots and piping plovers. Along with the restoration of coastal wildlife habitat, the project provides the added benefit of enhanced storm protection for nearby residents. Work is expected to be complete by April 2016.

 

More information: (opens Hurricane Sandy Recovery website)
http://www.fws.gov/hurricane/sandy/projects/PrimeHook.html

Photo gallery: (opens Flickr website)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsnortheast/albums/72157657956290018

Videos: (opens YouTube website)
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge salt marsh restoration from an airboat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7mNWz_cfeg&list=PLZb5DyVcCk95pH-zhsTMICM1Z9ffXQAIz&index=13

Flying over Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBwiwWMgi9M&list=PLZb5DyVcCk95pH-zhsTMICM1Z9ffXQAIz&index=9