The first phase of marsh restoration is expected to cost between $3.5 and $11.5 million, according to a report issued by the contractor responsible for fixing the dune breaches and restoring the salt water marsh.
Breaches in the dunes at Fowler Beach have caused the marsh at Prime Hook to convert into open water. That transition has caused flooding of local roads, communities and farmland. Atkins Global has been selected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to repair the breach and restore the marsh.
After examining the area, Atkins issued its first analysis of the breach and outlook for repair this week. As part of the first phase of the fix, Atkins expects to need between 275,000 and 725,000 cubic yards of sand. There are still several different alternatives within that first phase that includes closing all the breaches, and even leaving some of the breaches open, or building a jetty to stabilize one of the breaches.
A study of hydrological models is the next step in the planning process. That’s designed to help Fish and Wildlife get a scientific understanding of how the water flows in and out of the marshes. In a post on the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge website, officials say that information will “serve as the foundation for our plan to restore the marshes.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to begin the marsh restoration next year.