$162M Announced For Atlantic Coast Storm Defenses

GALLOWAY, N.J. (AP) — A year after Superstorm Sandy, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced $162 million in funding Thursday for 45 storm-protection projects from North Carolina to New England.

The money will help restore marshes and wetlands and rebuild shorelines to reduce the impact of storms like Sandy, which caused an estimated $65 billion in damage and was the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind Katrina.

Jewell made the announcement during a visit to the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway, near where the hurricane’s center came ashore Oct. 29, 2012. The natural buffer helped protect some communities from severe flooding.

The projects that will get funding are consistent with the recommendations of a presidential task force charged with developing a strategy for rebuilding areas damaged by Sandy, Jewell said.

“What we witnessed during Hurricane Sandy was that our public lands and other natural areas are often the best defense against Mother Nature,” Jewell said in a statement before her visit.

The government is providing $15 million for salt marsh restoration along the New Jersey coast, including at Forsythe. It also allocated $4 million to help storm-proof the federal government’s Ohmsett oil spill research and test facility in Middletown.

Other restoration funding includes $25 million for the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve south of Alexandria, Va., $20 million for a salt marsh ecosystem at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware, and $11 million for salt marshes at three locations on Long Island in New York.

In Massachusetts, more than $10 million is being provided for the Muddy Creek Wetland, Parkers Tidal and Round Hill Salt Marsh restoration projects.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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