Secretary Jewell moves to increase storm resiliency on Sandy anniversary
Today marks the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall across the Eastern Seaboard. Many communities are still devastated. Many families remain without homes.
On this relatively calm and beautiful autumn morning one year later, my colleague Debbie Sease and I headed to the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve in Virginia, to hear Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announce some solutions to increase our resiliency to future storms.
Secretary Jewell launched a $100 million Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program to restore habitats and increase the resiliency of communities to storms. Joined by Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia, the Secretary laid out a process that will begin to answer President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.
“By stabilizing marshes and beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the resilience 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,” said Jewell. "In cooperation with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this competitive grant program will fund innovative projects by States, local communities, tribes, non-profit organizations and other partners to rebuild, restore, and research these natural areas along the Atlantic Coast.”
In addition to the newly rolled out $100 million Grant Program, today we joined the Secretary to celebrate $162 million in federal funding for forty-five projects announced last week to “restore wetlands and beaches, rebuild shorelines and research the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surges.” Dyke Marsh will receive $25 million for wetland restoration to increase resiliency to storms. And they will use some of that money to engage youth and returning veterans in the process – AWESOME!
“Dyke Marsh is the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in the Washington metropolitan area, providing rich wildlife habitat, outdoor recreational opportunities, and critical flood protection for the neighboring community,” said Jewell. “With each major storm, we see more and more destabilization and erosion, which threatens both the local community it helps protect and the outdoor recreation it supports. This funding will allow the National Park Service and its partners to reconstruct the marsh and make it more resilient when big storms roll in.”
Following this morning’s announcement, Secretary Jewell joined a group of students for an outdoor learning opportunity along the dock. Jewell understands as well as anyone that there’s no better way for young people to learn about natural ecosystems and the real world impacts of climate disruption, than by getting outdoors and participating in restoration efforts.
I was honored to be a part of today’s announcement and look forward to supporting the Secretary’s vision to engage young people outdoors – whether for recreation, education or as stewards of our lands and communities.