Beaches along the Atlantic Coast provide critical nesting and stopover habitat for millions of shorebirds, waterbirds and other migratory birds. NFWF has made significant invest-ments to restore populations of key species here, such as American oystercatcher, red knot and piping plover. Assessing the impact Sandy has had is imperative in understanding the current situation, planning remedial actions and providing sound guidance for habitat restoration that may be needed to ensure the long-term survival of these species.
Anadromous fish species, including river herring and shad, are important parts of the ecosystem in rivers from Connecticut to southern New Jersey and beyond. NFWF has supported projects to remove obstructions and improve passage for these species so the fish can reach their spawning and rearing habitats. The storm surge and runoff associated with Hurricane Sandy likely caused damage to these efforts and may have created additional obstructions. An assessment of the damage will help us understand what corrective actions may be needed to ensure successful migration in 2013.
Low-lying wetlands and marshes provide important habitat for numerous bird, fish and shellfish species. They also provide a natural, cost-effective buffer for many coastal communities. NFWF projects are restoring tidal marshes in New York’s Jamaica Bay and along the coastline of Long Island Sound. Understanding how these marshes withstood Sandy’s powerful storm surge will help us prioritize future restoration needs and determine how to enhance their functioning.
Runoff from Hurricane Sandy is laden with sediment, contaminants and debris. All pose a significant threat to the health of oyster reefs and shellfish beds along the Atlantic Coast. These underwater habitats provide shelter for many fish species, help improve water quality and protect our shorelines. Remedial action is likely needed to ensure that recent investments in restoring these important habitats can be sustained.