USFWS Highlighted Projects of 2016

Last edited 09/05/2019
Contact Information

Darci Palmquist, or 413-253-8280

Completion of $38 Million Coastal Restoration Project at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

One of the largest and most complex coastal restoration efforts on the East Coast, the Prime Hook project used state-of-the-art science to restore 4,000 acres of coastal marsh and rebuild one mile of existing dunes and barrier beach to improve the coastline’s natural defenses against future storms and sea-level rise. The innovative project is serving as a model for coastal resiliency around the country, and already there are signs of success – including the return of record numbers of horseshoe crabs and migratory birds, as well as indications that the restored beaches, dunes and marshes will hold up under storms and heavy rains.  

Secretary Jewell Tours Hughesville Dam Removal in New Jersey

In September, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell toured the Hughesville Dam removal on the Musconetcong River. The removal of the 150-foot dam is part of a larger collaborative effort to restore the 42-mile Musconetcong – a designated “Wild and Scenic River” – to a free-flowing state. Hughesville is the fifth dam to be removed, helping to open up fish passage while improving safety and flooding risks for the local community. The dam was successfully removed in late fall, and project staff and partners are now working on site restoration and monitoring of fish and water quality.  

Creation of Two Living Shorelines on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

The Chesapeake Bay is subject to some of the highest rates of sea-level rise in the United States. To help reduce erosion and protect coastal habitats, USFWS constructed two living shorelines in Maryland. The 21,000-foot living shoreline along Fog Point at Glenn L. Martin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) will help to slow shoreline erosion and protect vital tidal wetlands, as well as protect the communities of Smith Island from storms and sea-level rise. The 4,000-foot living shoreline along Hail Cove at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge will protect 400 acres of high-quality tidal marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) along a vulnerable stretch of shoreline that is subject to highly erosive winds and waves. Work at Hail Cove will continue next year to plant marsh grasses on site.

Removal of Two Dams in Connecticut to Reduce Flood Risk to Nearby Communities

Local community members and politicians mobilized to bring attention to the flood risks of the Pond Lily Dam in New Haven, CT. Dam removal – funded under FWS Hurricane Sandy restoration efforts – opens up 2.6 miles of the West River, improving passage for migratory fish and reducing flood risk for the nearby community. In April 2016, volunteers planted native vegetation at the dam site to help stabilize the riverbanks and create an urban nature park for the community. Not far away, removal of the Hyde Pond Dam on the Whitford Brook in Mystic opens up 4.1 miles of stream to migratory fish and helps reduce the risk of flooding to the surrounding community. In May 2016, volunteers planted native vegetation at the dam site along the banks of the Whitford, which is now flowing freely for the first time in 350 years. 

The People Helping to Build a Stronger Coast

Resiliency and restoration work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy isn’t possible without the help and dedication of USFWS staff, partner organizations, government partners, community members and volunteers who are dedicated to making their communities #StrongAfterSandy. People like FWS staff Matt Whitbeck and Miles Simmons, who are working at the front lines of climate change in the Chesapeake Bay;  the partner organizations and community volunteers in New Haven, CT, who helped restore the site of the Pond Lily Dam; and the dozens of student volunteers who helped build oyster reefs from Virginia to New Jersey that will filter water and buffer the shore from wave energy. 

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