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Feds announce Atlantic Coast restoration projects

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects that will better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines and researching the effects and modeling the mitigation of storm-surge effects.

“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. “By stabilizing marshes and beaches, restoring wetlands and improving the resiliency 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.”

Jewell made the announcement in conjunction with the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, where refuge lands provide outdoor recreation opportunities for more than 250,000 visitors each year who support $8 million in economic activity. The refuge is also one of the most important habitats for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds east of the Mississippi River.

An additional $45 million is being invested in assessments, modeling, coastal barrier mapping and other projects to provide federal, state and local land managers and decision makers with the information and tools they need to improve resiliency and prepare for future storms.

The 45 approved projects cover coastal areas from Maine to North Carolina.

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