Millions go to NJ wetlands, shorelines

New Jersey wetlands and shorelines will get millions of dollars worth of restoration as part of $102 million in coastal resilience grants announced Monday by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The money is funding 13 projects in New Jersey -- the state with the most projects in this round of funding.

The grants will bolster Cape May County beaches, Delaware Bay shorelines where horseshoe crabs spawn, wetlands in Great Egg Harbor and Little Egg Harbor and beaches at Stone Harbor Point, an area used by migrating shorebirds.

The Stone Harbor Point project is getting $1.28 million and will be a collaboration among New Jeresy Audubon, Niles and Associates, the Wetlands Institute, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Stockton College and the Borough of Stone Harbor.

Stone Harbor Point provides a protective barrier to the Borough of Stone Harbor from damaging coastal storms and sea level rise, according to a New Jersey Audubon press release, which also noted that the Point is used by more than birds. Residents and visitors go there to fish, take photos, walk, jog .. and watch the birds.

David Mizrahi, Vice-president for Research and Monitoring, New Jersey Audubon explained, "In coastal regions, wildlife and people often must share the land. This project will demonstrate how efforts to improve habitat for wildlife populations also can provide benefits to human populations at the same time."

The other projects, as described by the Department of the Interior, include:

Preventing Erosion and Restoring Hydrology in the Pine Barrens:New Jersey Conservation Foundatio. Grant and matching funds: $386,340. Restore hydrology and prevent erosion in the Pine Barrens in Burlington County and Ocean County, New Jersey. Project will improve stream and wetland resiliency, while protecting important habitat.

Increasing Seven Mile Island's Beach Resiliency: New Jersey Audubon Society. Grant and matching funds: $1,333,424. Increase Seven Mile Island's beach resiliency in Cape May County, New Jersey. Project will improve habitat, protect communities, and contribute to a long term resiliency strategy.

Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Grant and matching funds: $4,334,888. Develop, design, and deliver green infrastructure techniques that add ecological value and enhance community resiliency. Project will benefit New Jersey coastal communities.

Reusing Dredged Material to Restore Salt Marshes and Protect Communities: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Grand and matching funds: $8,202,320. Reuse dredged materials to restore 90 acres of salt marsh for Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Fortescue. Enhanced salt marsh will provide wildlife habitat and reduce flooding and erosion impacts on nearby communities.

Creating a Resilient Delaware Bay Shoreline in Cape May and Cumberland Counties: American Littoral Society; Grant and matching funds: $5,604,468. Restore 50 acres of Delaware Bay's wetlands and six miles of beach in Cape May and Cumberland Counties, New Jersey. Project will improve horseshoe crab spawning, provide shorebird stopover area, and improve ecological and economic community resilience.

Restoring Hundreds of Wetland Acres in Great Egg Harbor Bay: City of Ocean City. Grant and matching funds: $3,906,775. Restore hundreds of wetland acres in Great Egg Harbor Bay. Project will enhance and raise damaged wetlands to mitigate future storm impacts and provide healthier habitats.

Replenishing Little Egg Harbor's Marshes and Wetlands: Little Egg Harbor Township. Grant and matching funds: $2,221,500. Replenish and restore Little Egg Harbor's marshes and wetlands Will create a stronger shoreline buffer, provide healthier habitat, and open seven miles of stream.