U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and Rep. John Carney, both D-Del., announced Oct. 24 that $19.8 million in federal funding will be used to mitigate future storm damage and restore the marsh system at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge that has been significantly damaged in recent years by coastal storms, including Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced that $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects to protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms. The funding will be put toward restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, while also researching and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts.
The funding will be allocated from appropriations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is in addition to $20 million allocated in May to address dune breaches. The restoration will be done in accordance with the refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan.
Due to large dune breaches and severe flooding, the manmade freshwater marsh system at Prime Hook has converted to an open water system that no longer provides the same quality of habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife reliant on marshes and wetlands.
In addition to the Prime Hook investment, Delaware will also receive funding for assessments, modeling, coastal barrier mapping and other projects to better inform federal, state and local decision makers on the tools they need to improve resiliency and prepare for future storms.