A #StrongAfterSandy Featured Community: Middle Township, NJ


Long after the waves receded, the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy remains on the shores of Delaware Bay. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is
actively working to restore beach habitat as well as increasing the Delaware Bay’s resilience to prepare for future storms. The Department of the Interior
received $737 million for recovery in the wake of Hurricane
Sandy. Of that amount, the Service received $102 million for the restoration of coastal marshes, wetlands and shorelines – as well as to
improve habitat connectivity, and flood resilience, to protect these
areas from future storms. The Service allocated $1.65 million to restore beaches along the New Jersey
Shore the Delaware Bay. One community benefiting from these investments is Middle Township, New Jersey
near Cape May. Well, I think it all comes back to economics whether it’s for the protection
of the homes or it’s access to these resources or just publicizing the work is being
done – The more we can do to get the word out, the more
people gonna come to see it, and we just and we just need to manage in a way that’s beneficial to our economy,
that doesn’t harm the assets that we have here in the long
term So in October of 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit, and it hit a lot of places throughout the Northeast. And in particular this beach that we’re
standing on right now was hit pretty hard. It caused a
substantial erosion. A lot of the areas just behind me really was eroded all the way back to
where that phragmites or where that dune line. And it basically took all the sand away. As part of a Hurricane Sandy resiliency
projects we ended up coming up with a a project to put sand back on the beach. It involved about 45,000 tons of sand. As well as removing about 800 tons of debris. And this sand is critical for horseshoe crab spawning, and if you don’t have it, horseshoe crabs, one, won’t be able to
reproduce; they don’t have any sand to to dig into. And in the end, if you don’t have any
horseshoe crabs laying eggs then there’s nothing for the shorebirds to feed on. These long distance birds have to go so
long 6-7 days flying straight. And so Delaware Bay is perfect for that. They can really build up fat fast. The birds and the crabs are still at low levels, but the good news is that I think the red knot population increased
by a couple thousand this year these beaches are increasing
productivity, and productivity is ultimately expressing itself in more adults. – Like most of Cape May County, our industry is tourism. Over 50 percent of our town is dedicated open space. so it’s a huge part of our town and the future of our town And we definitely took that into consideration – it’s sort of like the horseshoe crabs and the red knots are tourists that come to our
area. I mean, we know when they’re gonna come and we know what they’re gonna do. And we better be ready for them. So if we don’t have these beaches in the condition that they need to have them, they’re not gonna come
back either. And that would be a huge lost to the environment as well as to us from a
tourism aspect. Our investments in these sites and other
wildlife sites are basically just as important any investments we
make in infrastructure or any other industry in town, because this is what people come here
see.

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