Finding resilience in the face of disaster
On the Delaware Bay, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge provides critical stopover sites for migratory birds and is a habitat for many species of fish and wildlife. The Refuge has been hit hard with disasters over the past decade—due to Hurricane Sandy, it recently underwent even more dramatic changes. To protect the habitat from future storms, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service asked us to help.
Our job was to evaluate the physical impact of Hurricane Sandy and recommend an estimate of sand volume needed to build a protective beach barrier system. We determined the sand volume by conducting a topographic and hydrographic survey of the Refuge, and then developed a hydrodynamic and salinity model. The results were used in conjunction with our coastal engineering analysis to recommend an alternative for modifying and managing the Refuge under the new environmental regime post-Sandy. The result? Approximately 1.1 million cubic yards of sand from an offshore borrow area needed to be placed along the shoreline, and a 40-foot-wide dune, 150-foot beach berm and back-bay marsh platform needed to be constructed.
Through our work in the Refuge, we’ve established vital systems that will give this critical habitat the strength it needs to endure, adapt, and thrive in the face of future storms.
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