April 1, 2013
We’ve seen the devastating impact Hurricane Sandy has had on countless New Jerseyans, their homes, and their communities. But just what impact did the storm have on our state’s natural environment? What wildlife was impacted the most? And what is the likelihood that different habitat will return? We put those questions and more to leaders in New Jersey’s environmental community. Here’s some of what they had to say:
Michael Catania, President of Conservation Resources
CRI is working with a number of other NGOs and public agencies to quickly restore these beaches by clearing rubble and in some cases replenishing sand so that adequate nesting area for horseshoe crabs will be available. This may involve the use of volunteers as well as contractors, and a concerted effort is already underway to prioritize the beaches in need of restoration and to coordinate the efforts with a number of organizations and agencies.”
Jeff Tittel, Director of the Sierra Club in New Jersey
Going forward, we have a chance to correct mistakes of the past and do it better and smarter. That means protecting dunes and natural features, building further back from the water’s edge, and using green buildings and energy efficiency. Protecting the environment means we’re protecting people and property from flooding.
As we restore the shore, we’ll actually make better habitat for some species. Our concern in some of the Bayshore beaches is whether the horseshoe crab will come there in spring and have a place to lay eggs.”
Mike Anderson, Director of the Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary
A lot of the trees that came down were weak and had cavities occupied by woodpeckers and other species. It’s possible we will see a dearth of nest sites or roosting sites. We might see a dip in the population of these birds for the next couple of years, but then it will likely increase dramatically because the same storm will have created new cavity sites in other trees.”
Eric Stiles, President & CEO of New Jersey Audubon
Another key example is targeting areas that might be flood-prone. They might not be developed now, but they are critical for flood control or when you have a storm surge. They might also be nurseries for fish or critical stop-overs for migrating birds.
In order for a green infrastructure to exist, we need areas for water recharge, areas for flood control, water for fish, parks for people to enjoy the outdoors. As we go about redeveloping the coast, part of that is investing property in the green infrastructure.”
Anthony Mauro, Chairman of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance
We are hoping that federal funding for fisheries and habitat damage, along with federal funding for rebuilding the landscape, can also be used for much needed environmental impact studies, especially in the area of saltwater since the state, recreational anglers and commercial fishermen have been negligent in keeping funding levels in line with federal reporting requirements and sensible fisheries management. New Jersey has fallen so far behind that it will take years to change momentum – and this is before the devastation caused by Sandy.
Some of the species we are concerned about include waterfowl, sea bass, summer flounder, and tautog.”
“The impact on a particular species in the Mid Atlantic [would be] temporary due to the conditions caused by the storm. We know that the disturbance from the storm can reach the sea floor at least as deep as 100 feet and suspend sediments into the water column.”
To learn how to help protect New Jersey’s natural environment in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, contact CFNJ at 973-267-5533.