July 17, 2015

Cardin, Mikulski Laud $9 Million in Federal Funding to Construct Living Shorelines, Increase Resiliency to Storms on Smith Island

BALTIMORE - U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbra A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has awarded $9 million in funding to build 20,950 feet of living shorelines at Fog Point in the Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge on Smith Island, Md.

 

“The Chesapeake Bay is Maryland’s greatest natural treasure. In order to preserve the bay and all it contributes to the region, we must employ a multitude of techniques, including the creation of more living shorelines,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “During Super Storm Sandy, we saw the difference that living shorelines versus anemic ones can have in preventing storm surge and other damage. These federal funds are critically important to restoring bay ecosystems and protecting Smith Island’s future.”

 

“Super Storm Sandy was one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the United States and had a measurable impact on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the surrounding rivers and wetlands that act as natural storm buffers. These rivers and wetlands now need to be rehabilitated to help protect Marylanders during future storm events,” Senator Mikulski said. “The Chesapeake Bay is an integral part of who we are as Marylanders - our heritage, our economy and our culture. These funds in the federal checkbook will help Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge recover from the devastation of Sandy and help promote a healthy environment that will promote resiliency to future storms.”

 

The construction of living shorelines will stabilize a highly vulnerable shoreline at Martin National Wildlife Refuge and directly protect over 1,200 acres of quality tidal high marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation and clam beds. The project will directly contribute to the Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative with federal accountability enacted by Executive Order 13508. This living shoreline will also enhance the natural defenses of saltwater habitats important to the island's soft crab fishery, a natural resource which the local residents of Smith Island depend on for their livelihoods.

 

The addition of living shorelines along the Glenn Martin National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest concentrations of wintering waterfowl in the Chesapeake Bay, will decrease erosion and the boost the resiliency of refuge estuarine habitats and the local economy to storm events.

 

 The funding for the project is a portion of the $102 million in federal emergency funding allocated to the Service following Hurricane Sandy to complete projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create open connections to rivers and streams for fish passage, and reduce the risk of flooding from future storms.

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