NJ Audubon received a grant through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program to restore and enhance beaches at Stone Harbor Point, Cape May. We are partnering with L. J. Niles and Associates, the Wetlands Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Richard Stockton College of NJ Coastal Research Center, and the Borough of Stone Harbor to increase available quality habitat for migratory and beach nesting birds, and coastal resiliency for the Borough and its residents.
Stone Harbor Point provides a protective barrier to the Borough of Stone Harbor from damaging coastal storms and sea level rise. Sand from re-nourishment activities north of the Point provides a continual resupply of sand to the area through southerly longshore drift. This ensures a long-term supply of sand for restoration. Through local sand harvesting (ie. no dredging or trucking in sand) we will build elevation and improve habitat quality for coastal birds, and reduce coastal flooding. Because materials are present locally, the cost for sand acquisition and transport will be greatly reduced and sustainable.
Habitat construction – photo by Larry Niles
Habitat construction – photo by Nellie Tsipoura
Through monitoring we will document any biological impacts of sand harvesting on intertidal invertebrate communities to determine if this method is an ecologically sound approach for protected wildlife areas. We will also monitor use of the site by migratory shorebirds (Red Knot, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, American Oystercatcher, etc.) and beach nesting birds (Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Black Skimmers, Least Terns). Furthermore, we will conduct outreach programs to decrease human disturbance at the site and predator control to ensure improved nesting success.
Dunlin foraging in escavated area – photo by Larry Niles
The NFWF Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program is supporting projects that will assess, restore, enhance or create wetlands, beaches and other natural systems to help better protect communities and to mitigate the impacts of future storms and naturally occurring events on fish and wildlife species and habitats. The program received 375 applications requesting over $563 million. Of these, 54 were funded for a total of $102.75 million. We are happy to be recipients of this competitive grant.For updates on the project, visit the NJ Audubon website