September 10, 2013
Earlier this year, the Community Foundation of New Jersey made a grant through its Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund to Conserve Wildlife, a nonprofit organization that sought to restore critical habitat along New Jersey’s beaches. Our staff even visited the areas being restored by the group and got a firsthand look at their important work. As the summer now draws to a close and shorebirds head for the warmer climate, it looks like the group’s hard work paid off. Here’s a snippet from the group’s most recent update:
The Problem: Last October, Superstorm Sandy batered the Delaware Bayshore. The storm raised the prospect of a catostrophic failure of horeshoe crab breeding and a further erosion of the Bay’s migratory shorebird population. Indeed, we learned this past December that 70% of New Jersey’s horseshoe crab habitat had been wiped away by the fierce winds of Sandy. The future for those crabs and the endangered shorebirds looked bleak.
The Solution: Our only alternative was daunting: the first-ever restoration of horseshoe crab habitat, along over a mile of Delaware Bay beachfront, in less than four months. In short, it was the trifecta: a conservation challenge with a high price tag, an imminent deadline, and few precedents.
The Results: We not only restored Sandy-ravished beaches, we actually improved them! Horseshoe crabs bred in surprisingly high densities this spring. Good numbers of shorebirds arrived in New Jersey from their wintering areas in South America, and left for the Canadian Arctic in excellent condition. Red knots, the endangered shorebird species most reliant on horseshoe crab eggs, used our newly restored beaches far more than any others. And the human residents of the Delaware Bayshore can now enjoy these improved beaches for recreation and to attract tourists to help their economic recovery.
To learn more about Conserve Wildlife, visit their website by clicking here. To support critical habitat or Sandy recovery efforts in your community, call us at 973-267-5533.