Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Sandy’

Restoration Work Continues Along New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore, New Oyster Reef Built at Moores Beach

Saturday, April 9th, 2016
Second Annual “Shell-a-Bration” brings volunteers to strengthen coast’s resiliency and habitat

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

MooresBeachOysterReef1

Today, conservation organizations leading the efforts to restore New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches today organized the Second Annual “Shell-a-Bration” oyster reef building volunteer event.

 

Dedicated volunteers braved the elements and worked alongside American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to establish a near-shore whelk shell bar at Moores Beach in Maurice River Township along New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore. The shell bar was built to prevent sand loss from wind-driven waves. An approximately 200-foot oyster reef was constructed offshore to test whether the reef bars help reduce beach erosion and create calmer water for spawning horseshoe crabs.

 

“The Second Annual Shell-a-Bration truly celebrates the ecology, community, and culture of the Delaware Bayshore,” stated Captain Al Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Program Director, American Littoral Society. “It reinforces the connectivity between the natural and human-built bayshore communities through reef building and celebrates the significance of the Bay’s resources through restoration.”

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“There are many strategies to defend our Delaware Bayshore, but one of the best and most productive are these oyster reefs,” stated Dr. Larry Niles, a biologist with American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. “They not only replicate a lost but important habitat on Delaware Bay — reefs once covered much of the bayshore — but they provide just enough protection to make a difference in how long our beaches persist against the unrelenting forces of nature. In a way, we are fighting nature with nature.”

 

Shorebirds, like the federally listed Red Knot, depend on an uninterrupted supply of horseshoe crab eggs when they stopover in Delaware Bay during their migration. In recent years, countless horseshoe crab eggs have been lost because of the devastating storms that swept away the beaches they depend on.

MooresBeachOysterReef2

The new oyster reef will attenuate waves but still allow for horseshoe crab breeding. In existing areas where crabs can breed without interruption, like creek mouths protected by sand shoals or rock jetties, egg densities can exceed ten times the egg densities on unprotected beaches.

 

“New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore hosts an annual wildlife spectacle of global significance – the time-honored migration of Red Knots to reach the eggs of these ancient horseshoe crabs,” said David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Executive Director. “Red Knots fly to New Jersey’s Delaware Bay from as far away as Tierra del Fuego in South America to feed on horseshoe crab eggs. Volunteer projects like the Shell-a-bration help connect the people of New Jersey with these endangered shorebirds and the largest population of horseshoe crabs in the world.”

 

Last year, over 130 volunteers and veterans built the South Reeds Beach oyster at the First Annual Shell-a-Bration. Veterans Day on the Bay 2015 dedicated the South Reeds Beach oyster reef to all veterans and highlighted veteran involvement in the effort to restore New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore. Event attendees honored their own military veterans by inscribing that special person’s name on a shell and placing that shell on “Veterans Reef.” Guests also helped study the wildlife living in this new reef with hands-on, interactive marine science activities like seining, trapping, trawling, and species identification.

Our "assembly line" of volunteers all working together to build the reef.

Our “assembly line” of volunteers all working together to build the reef.

Veterans Reef and the Moores Beach Oyster Reef are two of the many projects that American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation are working on to restore the ecology and economy of the Delaware Bayshore.

 

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and the New Jersey Recovery Fund to remove 8,000 tons of debris and added 45,000 tons of sand to the beaches just before the annual spring arrival of the red knot in 2013.

 

Additional work after 2012 restored another mile of shoreline, including two new beaches of poor quality even before Sandy. To date, the groups have placed 85,000 cubic yards of sand and restored seven beaches along New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore. In early 2016, groups began another phase of restoration work at Cook’s Beach and Kimble’s Beach in anticipation of the return of the horseshoe crabs and red knots in May.

 

The projects are being funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through their Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Grants Program, and are being developed in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

 

Learn More:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Oyster Reef in Delaware Bay Dedicated to New Jersey Veterans

Thursday, November 12th, 2015
“Veterans Day on the Bay” brings families, volunteers and veterans to South Reeds Beach on New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore

by: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

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Conservation organizations leading the efforts to restore New Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches today organized “Veterans Day on the Bay,” a celebration to dedicate the oyster reef at South Reeds Beach in honor of military veterans’ service to our country.

 

“We want to dedicate this work to our nation’s armed forces veterans to give them well deserved recognition for their service to all Americans,” stated Dr. Larry Niles, a biologist with American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey who has studied federally-listed Red Knots for three decades. “We also hope to give them an intimate experience of successful wildlife conservation to spark their interest and encourage them and their families to take part in future work.”

 

Veterans Day on the Bay dedicated the South Reeds Beach oyster reef to all veterans and highlighted veteran involvement in the effort to restore New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore. Event attendees honored their own military veterans by inscribing that special person’s name on a shell and placing that shell on “Veterans Reef.” Guests also helped study the wildlife living in this new reef with hands-on, interactive marine science activities like seining, trapping, trawling, and species identification.

 

“Delaware Bay has been so vital to this community for generations, and through this project we hope to strengthen the connections that young and old feel to this incredible natural resource that is home to wildlife of global importance,” said David Wheeler, Executive Director for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. “The living construction of Veterans Reef is a small but meaningful embodiment of all that our military veterans have done in building a strong American defense to give us security and protect the many freedoms we hold dear.”

 

Volunteers and veterans worked alongside American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to establish a near-shore oyster reef at South Reeds Beach in Cape May Court House on the Delaware Bayshore in April 2015. The reef was built to prevent sand loss from wind-driven waves. Conservation groups will continue to monitor whether the reef bars help reduce beach erosion and create calmer water for spawning horseshoe crabs.

 

The South Reeds Beach Oyster Reef is one of the many projects that American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation are working on to restore the ecology and economy of the Delaware Bayshore.

 

“We are rebuilding habitats along Delaware Bay in order to strengthen the ecology, communities and economy of that area. Grants for the project enabled hiring several military veterans, and they continue to play a valuable role in the work. It is in recognition of the service veterans provide to their country and communities, that we are dedicating the reef at Reeds Beach to them,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director for American Littoral Society.

 

“Congratulations to the American Littoral Society, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, and the veterans who helped build this oyster reef,” said Amanda Bassow, Northeastern Regional Director for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which helped fund the project in partnership with the Department of Interior. “This project will help Reeds Beach be more resilient to the impact of future storms, while also providing important habitat in Delaware Bay.”

 

Shorebirds, like the federally listed Red Knot, depend on an uninterrupted supply of horseshoe crab eggs when they stopover in Delaware Bay during their migration. In recent years, countless horseshoe crab eggs have been lost because of the devastating storms that swept away the beach habitat they depend on.

 

“Restoring beach habitat on the Delaware Bay benefits Red Knots because it provides important feeding habitat for a bird threatened with extinction. The restored beach and oyster reef also protects the local community by providing increased resilience to future storms. Projects like these that help fish and wildlife, in addition to supporting local communities, are a priority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” explained Eric Schrading, Field Supervisor for the New Jersey Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

The new oyster reef will attenuate waves but still allow for horseshoe crab breeding. In existing areas where crabs can breed without interruption, egg densities can exceed ten times the egg densities on unprotected beaches.

 

Projects like the South Reeds Beach oyster reef are being funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through their Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Grants Program, and are being developed in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

 

Learn More:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Over 130 Volunteers “Shell-a-Brated” Delaware Bay

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Oyster Reef Build on South Reeds Beach a Huge Success

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Photo by: Lindsay McNamara

Photo by: Lindsay McNamara

Over 130 volunteers and veterans worked alongside Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and American Littoral Society to establish a near-shore whelk shell bar at South Reeds Beach in Cape May Court House on the Delaware Bayshore on Saturday, April 4, 2015. The shell bar was built to prevent sand loss from wind-driven waves. During the “Shell-a-Bration,” an approximately 200-foot oyster reef was constructed offshore to test whether the reef bars help reduce beach erosion and create calmer water for spawning horseshoe crabs.

 

“We are rebuilding the habitats of Delaware Bay to strengthen its ecology, its communities and its economy. This reef approach will be a key technique which we will try to expand around the Bayshore,” stated Tim Dillingham, American Littoral Society Executive Director.

 

The South Reeds Beach Oyster Reef is one of the many projects that American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation are working on to restore the ecology and economy of the Delaware Bayshore, thanks to generous funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

 

“The project focuses on creating resiliency in Delaware Bay beaches while improving their usefulness to horseshoe crabs. We have a great challenge: how do we create a reef to protect against damaging Bay storms without stopping horseshoe crabs from getting ashore to breed,” said Dr. Larry Niles, a biologist who leads the beach restoration efforts for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and American Littoral Society, and has studied Red Knots for three decades. “This project is an experiment to help us do both,” he added.

 

Shorebirds, like the federally listed Red Knot, depend on an uninterrupted supply of horseshoe crab eggs when they stopover in Delaware Bay during their migration. In recent years, countless horseshoe crab eggs have been lost because of the devastating storms that swept away the beaches they depend on.

 

“The time-honored migration of Red Knots to reach the eggs of these ancient horseshoe crabs is a wildlife spectacle of global significance right here in Delaware Bay,” explained David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Executive Director. “Red Knots come to New Jersey’s Delaware Bay from as far away as the southernmost tip of South America to feed on horseshoe crab eggs. It is vital that we promote coastal resiliency projects like this one to support the largest population of horseshoe crabs in the world, and the human communities of the Delaware Bayshore alike.”

 

The new oyster reef will attenuate waves but still allow for horseshoe crab breeding. In existing areas where crabs can breed without interruption, like creek mouths protected by sand shoals or rock jetties, egg densities can exceed ten times the egg densities on unprotected beaches.

 

The projects are being funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) through their Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Grants Program, and are being developed in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

 

“The Delaware Bayshore is a perfect location to demonstrate how communities benefit from their connection to a healthy natural resource base – for fishing, boating, wildlife watching and tourism,” said David O’Neill, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Vice President of Conservation Programs. “The economies of Bayshore towns have historically been intertwined with the bay. And with the NFWF Hurricane Sandy grant, American Littoral Society and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey are already restoring shorelines to make Bayshore natural resources and communities more resilient for the future.”

 

Event guests enjoyed a barbecue and oysters, and family-friendly activities like a “Green Eggs in the Sand” Easter Egg Hunt. In addition, local leaders and biologists spoke to the attendees about the oyster reef project at a mid-day “Whelk-come.”

 

Learn more:

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Coordinator for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Photo(s) from the field

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
Volunteers help to “re-plant” leaning osprey platform

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

This past week I was joined by a large group of volunteers to remove and re-plant a leaning osprey tower in Point Pleasant. It all began after Superstorm Sandy barreled through the area a little over a year ago…

This nest, along with many others, were uprooted from where they were originally installed. Many homes in the area were flooded by the storm surge associated with the storm (and many were still rebuilding when we were there). Any and all debris that was created ended up being pushed to the high areas of the marsh and in turn, people’s yards. This platform ended up in a homeowners backyard. Fortunately the platform was not lost and was thankfully re-installed by a bulkheading company who was working on the homeowners house. This was great news for the ospreys! Their nest had been returned to the saltmarsh and was, in turn, used again by them this past summer. They raised one nestling on the platform.

Things a-drift…a strong Nor’easter ended up pushing over the platform, which caused it to lean…significantly. However, the ospreys adapted and added nesting material to make sure their only nestling would not fall out. At the same time we made plans to re-plant the platform in a section of marsh with more soil, so the platform would have a firm foundation and support. A crew of strong and able volunteers met up with me to help fix the problem. They pulled out the platform and then we transported it to the new location. There we dug a new hole (around 2-3′ deep) and they easily dropped the short (around 12′ high) platform into the hole. These volunteers did a great job, and I was happy to see that many of them lived in the local area. It’s great to see locals getting involved in their local environment and I know that they’ll continue to watch over the nest if anything should happen to it in the future. I’m planning on working with the local community association (who owns the land) to install a couple more platforms for ospreys. There’s little suitable nesting habitat for ospreys up on N. Barnegat Bay and in the past we’ve had problems with birds nesting on houses, so this will only help reduce those occurrences.

Not exactly stable...

Not exactly stable…

Not much dry land either...

Not much dry land either…

Down she goes...

Down she goes…

All better!

All better!

The race is on!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Ospreys are back and in need of nesting platforms

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

As you may know, ospreys are returning to New Jersey from their wintering grounds in the tropics. Most North American ospreys winter in N. South America, with large concentrations in Columbia. Our “jersey birds” are unaware that our coast was devastated by a huge post-tropical storm in late October last year. Some might be coming home to nests that were damaged or lost to Superstorm Sandy. We’re working diligently to replace or repair any and all platforms that were damaged by the storm. Last week we replaced the first nesting platform in Ocean City. We were lucky to have met a local filmmaker who put together this short film.