The daily demands of ensuring a successful project range from sampling sand to be sure it's the correct consistency to repairing more than forty large potholes blocking the way to Moore's Beach so work can continue. And there is the major challenge - the effect of climate change on the Delaware Bayshore.
As we continue to cover the restoration of the beaches, we look to the people who are making this happen.
- Steve Hefner of the Coastal Research Center at Richard Stockton College shows the logic behind where the sand goes.
- Peter Bosak, Superintendent, Cape May County Mosquito Control Commission, talks about removing 40 tons of material before the sand can be dumped.
- And there is more than the miracle of beach restoration happening - nature is on a tight schedule, the horseshoe crabs will be here soon, so the government agencies and the nonprofits working together had to move fast: Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society, talks about the prep work and the one-and-a-half-month miracle.
- Wildlife biologist Larry Niles closes out the video with an overview of what's happening next as everyone works to avoid a disaster, racing against nature's deadline while simultaneously working with nature and relying on tides to level and aerate the new sand.
On March 18, the first truckloads of sand were dumped onto Kimball's Beach in Cape May County as part of an ambitious project to rebuild some the Delaware Bay beaches in New Jersey damaged by Super Storm Sandy. In this short video, wildlife biologist Larry Niles shows the damage to the beach and explains how it will be replenished.
Horseshoe crabs use the beaches to spawn and lay their eggs. The eggs provide a food source for thousands of migrating shore birds such as the Red Knot on their way to the Arctic. Both the horseshoe crab and Red Knot populations have suffered a significant decline in recent years.
This project is funded by major grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the NJ Recovery Fund (a consortium of private foundations administered by the Community Foundation of NJ), as well as additional funding from the NJ Natural Lands Trust and the NJ Corporate Wetlands Partnership.
In addition to removing rubble and restoring the beaches, the project includes hiring of seasonal docents to help manage traffic and provide educational outreach to visitors to these beaches; the creation of an artificial oyster reef to help protect the restored beaches and create jobs for local bay men; a documentary of the project; and an innovative outreach program to encourage understanding of the economic value of preserving these species.
The organizations behind the work: American Littoral Society; the Conserve Wildlife Foundation; the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust; the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife; the NJ Endangered and Non-Game Species Program; the US Fish & Wildlife Service; Middle Township; Richard Stockton College; the NJ Audubon Society; Greener New Jersey Productions; Delaware Riverkeeper Network; and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.
Listen to the awe in the voices in this video as each individual relates holding a Red Knot or other shorebird in his or her hands. This past spring, funders and volunteers gathered in Middle Township, Cape May County, NJ, on the Delaware Bay to band Red Knots and other migrating shorebirds and to celebrate the successful completion of the restoration of the bay beaches before the horseshoe crabs arrived to lay their eggs.
Margaret Waldock of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation sums up the spirit of the day " . . . these tiny little birds that you hold in your hands, and you realize that they are flying from the tip of South America up to the Arctic, and this is their one stopover . . . ".
AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT
Restoring the Delaware Bay beaches destroyed by Superstorm Sandy was an ambitious project. And it was completed without a moment to spare.
Horseshoe crabs use the beaches to spawn and lay their eggs. The eggs provide a food source for thousands of migrating shore birds such as the Red Knot on their way to the Arctic. Both the horseshoe crab and the Red Knot populations have suffered a significant decline in recent years.
This super-human project could not have happened without the dedicated workers and visionary funders who recognized its critical importance, understood the challenges and were willing to take the risk. Hear it straight from the funders what's it like to participate in this project, see the results first hand and hold "these tiny little birds" in their hands.
Andrew Bowman of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation felt the importance of this project deeply, "you rarely, if ever, have a situation that the project could literally save a species from going extinct."
Major grants were provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the NJ Recovery Fund (a consortium of private foundations administered by the Community Foundation of NJ), as well as additional funding from the NJ Natural Lands Trust and the NJ Corporate Wetlands Partnership.
Through the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, GNJP and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network are documenting the work in short and long videos, which can be viewed here. The producer is Ed Rodgers with videographer Frank Foley.