The Tidal Marsh and Barrier Beach Restoration Project at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, located east of Milton, Delaware, is the recipient of a 2019 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources in the “Federal Government” category.
The award was established in 2016 to recognize outstanding and innovative projects “that are advancing the resilience of our nation’s valuable fish, wildlife, and plant resources in a changing climate.” The Prime Hook project is acknowledged for its “exemplary leadership in reducing climate-related threats and promoting adaptation.”
The award was presented on September 23 at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Annual Meeting in St. Paul, Minn.
The project relied on hydrodynamic modeling to guide restoration planning.
The team dredged more than 20 miles of tidal channels, mostly following historic drainage patterns. The dredged material was sprayed onto the adjacent area, providing on-site disposal and giving marsh elevation a boost in those areas.
Nearly 60 acres in the back barrier were planted with marsh grass plugs.
In addition, seeds collected through the Seeds of Success program, representing a mix of 17 species suited to varying conditions, were spread from an airplane onto large portions of the mudflats in the marsh interior to give revegetation a boost.
State and academic partners helped provide data collection on everything from vegetation and birds to marsh elevation, sediment concentration in water and nutrients.
Prime Hook restoration project partners include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Delaware Department of Natural Resources, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Delaware and Delaware Department of Transportation.