Tag Archives: Sally Jewell

Video: Time-Lapse of Hughesville Dam Removal

Update summer 2017: American shad have already returned to the Musconetcong River after the removal of Hughesville Dam! State wildlife biologist Pat Hamilton shared this “thrilling” news with NPR reporters – read the story – and then watch the video below of the dam coming down. 

Dim the lights, turn up the music and help us celebrate the take-down of Hughesville Dam on the Musconetcong River in New Jersey! The entire dam removal took nearly three months, but you can watch the sped-up version here.

Removal of the 150-foot-long and 18-foot-tall dam in Pohatcong, NJ, is a major success for all who love and care about the mighty Musconetcong. A designated “National Wild and Scenic” river, the Musky flows for 42 miles through the state and is a popular place for fishing, boating and swimming. Hughesville is the fifth dam to be removed as part of a larger partner-based effort to restore the Musky to a free-flowing state.

Removal of the dam is projected to provide $2.5 million in economic benefits – including increased access for sportfishing – and reduce flood risk to nearby communities. The project was supported by many partners and funded largely by the USFWS through the Department of the Interior (DOI) under the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

In September 2016, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell toured the project, calling it a “model for collaborative conservation,” and joined a roundtable discussion about dam removals.  Since completion of the dam removal, volunteers with the Musconetcong Watershed Association have helped restore the site by planting trees along the river banks to serve as a buffer and help keep the water clean.

Congrats to all the people and partners involved in making this project a success!

Hughesville Dam removal event

USFWS staff, partners and community members pose with Sally Jewell at the Hughesville Dam removal event on Sept. 8, 2016. Credit: USFWS

monitoring tides at Prime Hook Delaware

Four Years After Hurricane Sandy

This week marks the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, an event that lives on in the minds and hearts of many of us who call the East Coast home.

In the wake of Sandy’s destruction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received $167 million in federal funding to strengthen natural defenses and protect communities and wildlife along the Atlantic Coast from future storms.

Four years later, here’s a by-the-numbers look at what we’ve done to build a stronger coast as of October 2016:

  • 3,500 tons of hurricane debris removed from refuges;
  • 5 badly eroded beaches restored on Delaware Bay;
  • 7 refuges installed with solar and back-up power;
  • 20 refuges repaired for visitor and staff safety;
  • 6 dams removed to improve river flow and reduce flood risk;
  • 4,000 acres of invasive species treated;
  • 30,000 feet of living shoreline developed;
  • 1000s of native plants planted to restore wetlands, rivers and marshes;
  • 4 breaches fixed, 9,000 feet of shoreline restored, 500,000 plugs of beach grass planted, 1,000 acres of marsh seeded, and 25 miles of channels dredged at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge – one of the largest coastal restoration projects on the East Coast.

Some highlights of our 2016 work:

Removal of the 150-foot-long Hughesville Dam on the Musconetcong River in New Jersey to restore fish passage and reduce flooding risks for the local community – a project that caught the eye of Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who toured the site in September.

Sally Jewell at Hughesville

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visits Hughesville Dam removal in New Jersey. Pictured with Beth Styler Barry (left) and Eric Schrading (right). Credit: USFWS

 

Completion of a 21,000-foot living shoreline  at Glenn L. Martin National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland’s Eastern Shore to protect tidal wetlands that support a crab fishery essential to Smith Islanders – and that help buffer this island community from storms and sea-level rise.

living shoreline work

At work creating the living shoreline at Fog Point in Glenn L. Martin NWR on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Credit: USFWS

 

Removal of the Pond Lily Dam in New Haven, CT, where local community members and politicians mobilized to bring attention to the flood risks of this dam. 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.

volunteer planting day at Pond Lily dam

Volunteers planting native vegetation along the river banks following removal of Pond Lily dam in New Haven, CT. Credit: USFWS

 

Completion of a $38 million marsh and beach restoration and resilience project at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. The work is already showing signs of success — including helping to absorb impacts of storms and heavy rains to attracting record numbers of wildlife such as horseshoe crabs and migratory birds.

beach grass plantings Prime Hook

Recently planted beach grass at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Citizen Racecar

 

Engagement of dozens of student volunteers to help build oyster reefs – along Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia – that will filter water and buffer the shore from wave energy.

East Windsor Middle School students and families helped build oyster reefs

East Windsor Middle School students and families helped build oyster reefs at Gandy’s Beach, NJ. Credit: Project PORTS

 

The staff, community and partners collaborating with us across the region from Virginia to Maine, people 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.

When coming up with habitat management solutions, it is vital to think of a holistic approach. Credit: Steve Droter

“We spent a lot of time thinking about what management actions we can employ that will increase the resiliency of the salt-marsh community to sea-level rise, to storm impacts and how can we do that in a way that really maximizes the benefit to the wildlife that depend on it,” says Whitbeck. Credit: Steve Droter

 

Science tells us that the future will include more intense hurricanes and storms like Sandy, causing more damage to coastal ecosystems and communities. In fact, a recent study predicts disastrous floods like those seen during Hurricane Sandy may hit New York City 17 times more often in the next century.

With anticipated rising sea levels, more frequent and intense storms, shifting seasons and higher temperatures, we need to continue to work together to better understand and adapt to changing conditions. Strong natural defenses will help all of us better weather future storms.

A Blue Whale-sized Milestone

Cleanup workers at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Southern New Jersey have been busy of late, hauling garbage out of the marshes that line a 22-mile stretch of coastline near Atlantic City. The debris was dumped there when Hurricane Sandy made landfall at the refuge’s doorstep, sweeping up all manner of jetsam from the densely populated surrounding area and depositing it, as it were, on the front porch.

Debris scattered by Hurricane Sandy across the coastal marshes at E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (Credit Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)

Debris scattered by Hurricane Sandy across the coastal marshes at E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (Credit Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)

Crews have been working through brutally cold days this winter to complete the cleanup in Brick Township. When the cleanup ends,the Service will begin restoring the marshes, making them a stronger front line protecting coastal communities during future storms.

The Service oversees work being done to remove debris from fragile marsh areas.  (Credit Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)

The Service oversees work being done to remove debris from fragile marsh areas. (Credit Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)

As of early March, about 200 tons of debris—roughly the equivalent of a blue whale in sheer mass—have been removed, including boats, docks, remains of buildings, barrels, drums and fuel tanks, some of which contained contaminants.

“Lands protected as a part of Forsythe Refuge buffered inland areas from the full brunt of Hurricane Sandy…we will clean and restore this vibrant and resilient stretch of coast to sustain wildlife and protect the people of New Jersey in the future,” said Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig.

Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig gives Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell a tour of the marsh at Forsythe. (Credit Keith Shannon/USFWS)

Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig gives Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell a tour of the marsh at Forsythe. (Credit Keith Shannon/USFWS)

Click here to read about how and where the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is working to restore natural areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy. You can also view photos of cleanup projects here.

The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats which are actively managed for migratory birds.