MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — A line of cellphone cameras and digital camcorders greeted the first few dump trucks to deliver piles of sand Monday morning to a narrow and eroded stretch of Kimballs Beach on the Delaware Bay.
The event wasn't the most photogenic, but the sand was the final step in a frenetic effort to restore a portion of what Hurricane Sandy washed away so horseshoe crabs have a place to lay eggs this spring.
The prehistoric crabs provide a critical food link for migratory shorebirds, including the red knot, that use the Delaware Bay as a rest stop on their way to summer breeding grounds in the Arctic.
For the scientists and conservation advocates involved with the effort, the sand deliveries were nothing short of miraculous. The project began in late January, with regulators all but laughing at the proposal because the work needs to be complete by April, said wildlife biologist and shorebird expert Larry Niles. Project leaders needed to obtain a half dozen permits and consult not just with federal and state agencies, but get written permission from landowners, notify shellfish lessees and even wait for the grant check to clear.
The check cleared Monday, said Bill Shadel, habitat restoration program director with the American Littoral Society, which was one of the leaders of the effort. "We were all doing work not knowing if the funding would happen or, if it did, would it come in time," he said.
Niles said the speed of the effort — about six weeks from proposal to the first truckload of sand arriving — was unprecedented in his 30-year career.
Read the full story at the Press of Atlantic City>>
National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.