Marking Upcoming Second Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Secretary Jewell Tours Coastal Resiliency Projects in New Jersey

Partnerships restore and strengthen beaches and tidal marshes that provide fish and wildlife habitat, storm protection, economic opportunities

Last edited 09/29/2021

CAPE MAY, NJ – On the cusp of the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today toured restoration projects at Reed's Beach and Cape May National Wildlife Refuge to repair and strengthen beaches and tidal marsh habitat in New Jersey and the Delaware Bay as part of the Obama Administration's efforts to improve coastal resiliency on the Atlantic Coast.

“Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call about the vulnerability of coastal communities and their economies to dangerous storms,” said Jewell. “With extreme weather events expected to become more frequent and more intense due to climate change, it's critical that we continue to make strategic investments in our natural resources, like these restoration efforts in New Jersey that build community and economic resilience up and down the Atlantic coast.”

Jewell toured a completed $1.65 million project at Reed's Beach to restore 1.5 miles of shoreline undertaken in partnership with the American Littoral Society. The project included removal of more than 800 tons of debris and placement of more than 45,000 tons of locally mined sand. Reed's Beach is a critically important stopover area for shorebirds, including red knots that migrate from South America to the Arctic each spring and use the beaches of Delaware Bay to feed on horseshoe crab eggs for the energy needed to complete their journey.

Jewell also toured salt marshes at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge that will be restored under a $1.9 million agreement between the Service and the American Littoral Society. The project is part of a $15 million investment to restore coastal salt marshes in New Jersey. In addition to flood control benefits, salt marshes are vital wildlife habitat serving as a nursery for 75 percent of commercially harvested fish.

Coastal areas also are vital to the region's economy. According to a 2006 report by the Center for Regional and Business Research at Atlantic Cape Community College, eco-tourism generates over $522 million annually in Cape May County.

“Wildlife refuges in the region serve as natural buffers to protect nearby communities but they also provide important economic opportunities,” said Jewell. “From birding to boating, investments to restore these natural areas in Cape May will pay big dividends to the local economy.”

Overall, the Department of the Interior is investing $787 million on recovery and resiliency projects up and down the Atlantic Coast in the aftermath of Sandy. The funding will help protect coastal communities and their economies from the next super storm and the long-term impacts of climate change.

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