Delaware now has $19.8 million to restore Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge after years of damage from coastal storms, including Superstorm Sandy.
U.S. Senator Tom Carper and U.S. Representative John Carney, both D-Del, made the announcement Thursday, after the Dept. of Interior announced $162 million would be invested towards restoring and protecting Atlantic coast communities from future storms.
The $19.8 million is in addition to federal dollars allocated in May to address dune breaches.
“There is $20 million already allocated that will help fix the coastal breaches that have contributed to repeated flooding of Prime Hook Road and the community,” Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del, said. “This new $20 million will allow for the marsh restoration that will restore valuable habitats and reduce flooding impacts.”
Large dune breaches and severe flooding have converted Prime Hook’s manmade freshwater marsh system into an open water system, negatively impacting migratory birds and other wildlife reliant on marshes and wetlands.
“I helped to lead an all hands on deck effort to secure funding to not only help Delawareans recover from these impacts, but to rebuild smarter to help protect our coastal communities against future storms,” Sen. Carper said.
“This investment is an important part of creating a sustainable solution for the refuge, and those in the community whose lives are disrupted any time a storm hits the coastline,” Congressman Carney said. “I am hopeful that this project will better protect the refuge from future storms and restore it as the ecologically diverse habitat that is so important for our state.”
State Senator Gary Simpson’s district includes Prime Hook and the communities surrounding it.
“It is just exciting news to know that now we have a little cushion,” the Senate Minority Leader said. “Not only can we fix the breaches, but we can start the restoration of the marsh… so we think it will alleviate a lot of the flooding problems that have affected those communities for the last four or five years.”
In addition to the money set aside for Prime Hook, Delaware is also set to receive money for assessments, coastal barrier mapping and other projects to better inform leaders on all levels about the tools needed to improve resiliency.