Investing in a more resilient future

Work at one of the restored beaches, Kimbles Beach. A wheel loader fills the rubber-tracked dump truck. Credit: Eric Schrading/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This week marks the second anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The plan outlines specific goals to help states, cities, and towns build stronger communities and infrastructure; protect critical sectors of our economy as well as our natural resources; and use sound science to better understand and manage climate impacts. Investments in Hurricane Sandy recovery, in particular, exemplify how the plan’s goals are translated to action on the ground to make communities more resilient to increasingly intense future storms predicted with a changing climate.

At Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the Disaster Relief Recovery Act of 2013 funded coastal marsh restoration that helps build resilience to the 4,000-acre  tidal marsh and beach barrier system that protects nearby communities in Milton and Milford, Delaware. In this photos, heavy equipment sprays a thin layer of sediment along the marsh grasses, building the foundation for a more resilient coastline.

Restoring marsh hydrology at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware, part of a $38 million marsh restoration project funded through the Department of the Interior by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. Credit: David Eisenhauer/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is leading 31 resilience projects awarded $102 million through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act in 2013 in response to Hurricane Sandy, to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create open connections to rivers and streams for fish passage, and reduce the risk of flooding from future storms. These projects from Virginia to Maine are planned or underway to be completed in the next several years, and will help build a stronger Atlantic Coast that protect our coastal communities and sustain people and wildlife. Many of these resilience projects also engage youth and veterans and create local jobs which support the economy while strengthening our natural resources, fulfilling several other Climate Action Plan goals.

The photo mosaic below provides some examples of this work — from Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge marsh and beach restoration, which began this  month and will restore approximately 4,000 acres of back-barrier tidal marsh along the Delaware Bay, providing wildlife habitat and enhanced storm protection for nearby residents — to a New Jersey beach restoration project completed last spring that restored five beaches on Cape May’s inner shoreline, enhancing natural defenses that protect habitat for federally listed species such as the rufa red knot and buffer against storm surge for surrounding communities.

More information about Hurricane Sandy-funded recovery and resilience projects

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