Delaware Bay beach restoration improves economy and resiliency for communities and wildlife

Restoring Fortescue Beach for horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, part of a $4.75 million project funded through the Department of Interior’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Credit: LJ Niles Associates, LLC
10/21/2015
Last edited 10/25/2017

Contact: Rob Blumenthal (NFWF), Rob.Blumenthal@NFWF.org, (202) 595-2457

A $4.75 million project to restore six Delaware Bay beaches in New Jersey improves communities’ economies and storm resiliency and enhances habitat for horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds.    


In June 2014 the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) awarded $4.75 million to the American Littoral Society to restore six Delaware Bayshore wetland and beach sites in New Jersey’s Cape May and Cumberland Counties. The restored sites include Gandy’s/Money Island Beach, Roadway Beach, East Point Lighthouse Beach, Moores Beach/Thompson’s Beach, Reeds Beach, Pierces Point, South Reeds Beach, Cooks Beach, and North Pierces Point Beach.    

Overall, the project will restore 5.7 miles of beach, create 20 jobs, improve community resiliency and improve public beach access and their associated tourism economies. The American Littoral Society will also pilot a process to sustainably maintain navigation channels that are important to commercial and recreational fishermen, while also providing source materials for beach and marsh restoration. Ecologically, the wetland and beach restoration efforts will benefit horseshoe crab spawning grounds, and the shorebirds that depend on the horseshoe crab eggs. 

In April the American Littoral Society held a volunteer and veteran “Shell-a-Bration” event where bags of oyster shells were placed along the shoreline to reduce erosion and create a fish nursery. Recently, nine veteran interns used their oyster and fish monitoring training and discovered that fish, oysters and other wildlife are thriving on the new oyster reefs. One of the veterans is so enthusiastic that he wants to create eco-tours to share his new knowledge with the public. The American Littoral Society is in the planning stage to have another “Shell-a-Bration” event in November that honors their veteran interns and provides a project update. Preliminary data also shows that the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds have been thriving on the newly restored beaches.

Funding for this project is provided through the Department of Interior’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

More information:

American Littoral Society blog
http://www.restorenjbayshore.org/blog

Videos: 
American Littoral Society - 16,000 red knots flock to Egg Island, south of Fortescue Beach
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNW19P_g7P8 

American Littoral Society’s “Shell-a-Bration” event to build an experimental oyster reef event 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9R1JDlCiwc

The ocean redistributing American Littoral Society’s newly placed sand on Fortescue Beach
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YQdVyqJ5HM 

American Littoral Society – How to restore a beach
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWbWe8RBMck 

American Littoral Society – How to push out a restored beach’s high tide line
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PW_lv9nBBg 

American Littoral Society – How to remove debris from a beach
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXDZG_LHzow