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Cape Cod National Seashore Receives Funding for Hurricane Sandy Restoration and Research Projects

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Date: October 29, 2013
Contact: Jason Taylor, 508-957-0737

In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects that will better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms, by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines, and researching the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts. Cape Cod National Seashore was selected as one of four coastal parks (Assateague Island, Cape Cod, Fire Island, and Gateway) in the NPS Northeast Region to participate in a $2.4 million, three-year coastal inventory and mapping project, Submerged Marine Habitat Mapping: A foundation for enhancing resilience to coastal storms and other climate change drivers.

Coastal national parks of the Northeast Region have extensive marine and estuarine resources within park boundaries that extend into the Atlantic Ocean and protected bays. Submerged marine habitats encompass over 35% of Cape Cod National Seashore, yet our knowledge of submerged marine habitat structure, species composition, and changes that are occurring in response to major storms, other climate drivers (e.g., ocean warming), and human-induced stressors, remains limited. The project will produce maps and inventories of submerged marine areas that depict bathymetry, sediment type, geomorphology, ecological habitats, and archeological resources. Mapping at each of the four parks, via acoustic survey methods deployed from small boats, will be standardized and resources classified using the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS). Project goals include: 1) collection of field data (acoustic and reference data) and generation of maps and inventory databases; 2) completion of technical reports describing project methods, map products and inventory data, identification of critical, unique, threatened and other categories of marine resources, and discussion of specific ecosystem resilience strategies to consider; and 3) routine use of the information for design and implementation of resilience strategies.These efforts are to be conducted in collaboration with North Atlantic and/or Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit partner institutions that have extensive experience in marine habitat mapping and inventory. It is planned that separate investigator teams will be associated with each park unit, with each team employing the same methods.Stakeholder groups (e.g., local conservation organizations, state/local agencies, etc.) will be engaged throughout the proposed project to share data, avoid duplication of effort, share expertise, and aid in identification of marine resilience strategies.

Superintendent George Price said "this is an exciting opportunity to work with partners and other coastal parks in the Northeast Region to learn more about our submerged marine resources. Not only will this project help us develop coordinated marine resilience strategies, but will also contribute foundational data to existing projects that are working to understand coastal change dynamics within the seashore."

The announced restoration and research funding provides $113 million for 25 on-the-ground projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create habitat connectivity, improve flood resilience and undertake other efforts to protect nearby areas from future storms. An additional $45 million is being invested in assessments, modeling, coastal barrier mapping, and other projects to provide Federal, state, and local land managers and decision makers the information and tools they need to improve resiliency and prepare for future storms.

A Technical Review Panel of ten experts from eight Interior bureaus and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration evaluated all 94 submitted projects totaling a requested $541 million. Using a framework developed by Interior's Strategic Sciences Group, the panel scored each project within the Sandy impact area based on the ability to strengthen Federal assets and build coastal resilience to withstand future storms. Projects were selected based on their ability to provide measurable restoration outcomes and resilience benefits or useful data or management tools in a short timeframe. A priority was given to projects that will employ youth and veterans.

A list of all 45 approved projects can be found at HERE.

Jewell also announced that the Department would issue a Request for Proposals on October 29 for an additional $100 million in grant funding under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program announced in August. States, local communities, non-profit organizations and other partners can compete for funding for innovative projects under the program, which is being administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.Information on the competition can be found at http://www.doi.gov/hurricanesandy.

 

Did You Know?

Wellfleet kettle ponds

Although the kettle ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore are within 2.5 km of the ocean and have been subjected to thousands of years of salt spray, they remain low in dissolved salts. Ponds are flushed out by inflowing and outflowing groundwater, which prevents salts from accumulating.