$100 Million in New Resilience and Restoration Investments to Strengthen Communities in Areas Damaged by Hurricane Sandy
The Nature Conservancy will work on nine projects to promote long-term coastal resiliency
Arlington, VA | June 16, 2014
The Nature Conservancy applauded today’s announcement by the Department of the Interior of more than $100 million in competitive matching grants for restoration in communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the grants will fund 54 projects along the Atlantic Coast.
“Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call about the primary role healthy natural systems play in helping communities weather storms and floods,” said Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Healthy habitats like dunes, beaches, marshes and forests also provide important benefits every day—not just when waters are rising. They improve water quality, provide important nursery grounds for fisheries and generally enhance the quality of life for the people who live near them.”
“A recent study at Cape May Point State Park and the Conservancy’s Cape May Meadows Preserve in New Jersey estimated that the healthy restored dunes, wetlands and beaches there will provide more than $9 million in total benefits from avoided flooding to homes in Cape May Point over the next 50 years,” added Tercek. “The day-to-day benefits of these healthy habitats are even more valuable to the local economy. Cape May is a birding hot spot and these two natural areas account for the better part of the $313 million spent by birders there every year.”
The Department of the Interior awards included two Conservancy-led projects, as well as seven others in which the Conservancy is a partner.
Projects led by The Nature Conservancy:
- New York: Ausable Watershed Flood Mitigation and Fish Passage Restoration ($808,454)
- Virginia: Green Infrastructure in Accomack and Northampton Counties ($1,755,131)
Projects in which The Nature Conservancy is a partner:
- Connecticut: Creating a Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut ($700,000)
- Delaware: Restoring Delaware Bay’s Wetlands and Beaches in Mispillion Harbor Reserve and Milford Neck Conservation Area ($6,187,683)
- Massachusetts: Enhancing Nine Communities, Ecosystems, and Infrastructure Resiliency by Removing Ten Fish Barriers ($7,006,788)
- Massachusetts: Reusing Dredged Rock to Protect the Boston Harbor Shoreline ($400,050)
- New Jersey: Reusing Dredged Material to Restore Salt Marshes and Protect Communities ($8,202,320)
- New York: Strengthening Sunken Meadow State Park’s Resiliency ($2,557,500)
- New York: Wetland Restoration in Suffolk County ($1,998,740)
“The results of our study of the Lower Cape May restoration reinforce the fact that investing in nature pays off,” said Barbara Brummer, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey. “We are pleased to continue working as a partner on important coastal projects like the salt marsh restoration funded by the Department of the Interior.”
The Nature Conservancy has also developed online decision support tools that help coastal communities, municipal and conservation planners and government agencies identify risks from rising sea levels and other climate impacts. These tools inform local decision makers as they develop plans to guide risk reduction strategies to better protect their communities against these growing risks.
“Our changing climate is increasing the odds for more extreme and erratic weather. These weather events bring with them the potential for unprecedented loss of lives, property and businesses,” continued Tercek. “We need a smart portfolio of infrastructure options—one that includes a mix of built and natural defenses to natural disasters. Natural defenses such as oyster reefs, coral reefs, sand dunes, mangroves, flood plains, and forests as well as ‘built’ defenses such as breakwaters, levees and seawalls all contribute to reducing our risks. They all need to be part of the equation.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org