CENTREVILLE — In conjunction with this week’s one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a total of $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.
The investments are consistent with President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Strategy Report and the Administration’s commitment laid out in the Climate Action Plan to build resilience by restoring natural features along shorelines to help better protect communities from future storms. The Department of the Interior has already invested $480 million in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts since the storm hit last October.
“What we witnessed during Hurricane Sandy was that our public lands and other natural areas are often the best defense against Mother Nature,” Jewell said. “By stabilizing marshes and beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the resiliency of coastal areas, we not only create opportunities for people to connect with nature and support jobs through increased outdoor recreation, but we can also provide an effective buffer that protects local communities from powerful storm surges and devastating floods when a storm like Sandy hits.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will lead projects to restore marshes and beaches, improve aquatic connectivity in rivers and streams, and provide the science needed to make sound conservation decisions now and in the future. One of these projects is the removal of the Centreville Dam on Gravel Run in Centreville and the Bloede Dam on the Patapsco River in Catonsville.
The dam removals, which will be completed in cooperation with several partners including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Rivers, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will restore natural sediment transport and river function. Local downstream infrastructure will no longer be at risk of catastrophic dam failure and upstream property will be protected from flooding. In addition, fish like river herring and American eel will be able to access 11 miles of stream habitat.
Removal of the Centreville Dam provides unimpeded passage for river herring and American eel to two miles of spawning habitat in Gravel Run. Natural river function will be restored when impounded sediment is removed and streamside (riparian) vegetation is restored. A local municipal building, evacuated several times in floods, will be protected from future flooding.
Removal of the Bloede Dam restores herring, American eel and American shad access to 9 miles of upstream, historic spawning habitat. Two of four dams on this river have already been removed. Removal restores river function, reduces threat of flood, and protects another sewer pipe.
The two projects combined provide a socioeconomic benefit estimated at $5.5M.