The view from above – an aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy recovery and resiliency sites: Day 4
The first locations we looked at today were along the Maryland coast, more specifically in the Nanticoke River and the Pocomoke Sound.
The Nanticoke River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, making it a vital avenue for species that support the region’s fishing industry. The river’s tidal marshes are being inundated with non-native phragmites, choking the river and degrading habitat for species – including American black duck. Treating the invasives will restore the natural hydrology of impacted wetlands. This will help support continued public hunting and fishing opportunities, and an emerging nature tourism industry in the town of Vienna. The invasive removal will also stem inland migration of marshes and keep water levels down during future storm surge, protecting nearby towns of such as Crisfield.
After flying over the sound, it was time to head further south to Virginia and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
Yesterday we looked at a living shoreline project at Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge, today we saw two more sites at Chincoteague where biologists are looking to construct 3,650 feet of living shoreline. Behind the living shoreline, two acres of oyster reefs will provide increased sediment uptake, nutrient removal, and water filtration – cultivating a healthier, more storm-resistant habitat. Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, its shorelines and its primary access road to the mainland; the enhanced shoreline will protect the main road through the refuge, safeguarding access in the event of future storm events.