Funding will help Fortescue Beach, located in Downe Township, NJ, to be better prepared for future extreme weather events
Work to restore Fortescue Beach began in 2015.
Downe Township, NJ, September 16, 2020 – Today, the American Littoral Society announced that it has received a $500,000 grant to improve horseshoe crab and shorebird habitat at South Jersey’s Fortescue Beach, while also making the shore more resistant to coastal storms and sea level rise.
The grant comes from the Resilient Communities Program, a collaboration between Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) that aims to help communities better prepare for and respond to climate-related natural disasters by investing in green infrastructure. The Resilient Communities grant unlocks an additional $522,440 in matching funds from external sources for a total conservation impact of $1,022,440.
The project will improve the resiliency of 0.34 linear miles (5.8 acres) of important horseshoe crab spawning and red knot foraging beach habitat in Downe Township, NJ by creating up to 1,200 linear feet of hybrid living reef breakwaters that will minimize sand loss during winter storms. The project will engage eight local partners, 250 volunteers and reach 2,500 people through our existing outreach programs, which include horseshoe crab tagging and re-sighting.
“Our work to restore and protect beaches along the Delaware Bay has been ongoing since the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society. “We are honored to have our past efforts endorsed through this grant, which will help us to not only improve places critical for the life cycles of both crabs and migratory shore birds, but also enhance coastal flooding protection for area residences and contribute to the local economy through employment and eco-tourism.”
“We continue to see and experience the devastating effects of extreme weather and a changing climate on the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “By enhancing and strengthening native ecosystems and building capacity at the local level, we can help minimize the impact of climate-related natural disasters on our customers and communities. We are proud to be working with NFWF on this important national program.”
The Littoral Society grant was among 11 Resilient Communities Program grants awarded this year, totaling $3.6 million and generating an additional $4.5 million in matching contributions for nonprofit organizations and tribes across the U.S. to help communities address and mitigate the impact of impact of natural disasters and a changing climate. In addition to Littoral Society, New Jersey’s Pinelands Alliance also scored one of the competitive awards. By investing in green infrastructure and providing conservation and resilience training for community leaders, the funded projects aim to enhance the protections naturally provided by healthy ecosystems.
To date, the Resilient Communities Program has supported 37 projects in Puerto Rico and U.S. states with $12.6 million in program funding distributed and $30 million in federal and local matching funds. These projects are restoring and protecting more than 175,000 acres of land and engaging 136,000 people in conservation and capacity building. The 2020 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 230 applications.
“This program continues to demonstrate how local communities can use the benefits of natural ecosystems to provide for a more resilient future for our nation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The 11 grants we announce today in partnership with Wells Fargo will work to build resilience locally, to help communities meet future challenges through natural systems and resources, and will benefit habitats for birds, fish and other wildlife.”
Leaders in coastal conservation since 1961, the American Littoral Society promotes the study and conservation of marine life and habitat, protects the coast from harm, and empowers others to do the same. Click here to learn more about the Littoral Society.
About Resilient Communities
In 2017, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation created the Resilient Communities program to boost community capacity to prepare for impacts associated with coastal sea level rise, water quantity and quality issues and extended wildfire seasons. The program empowers communities to advance and employ natural features like urban tree canopies, wetlands, healthy upstream watersheds, resilient shorelines and forests that provide natural protections against extreme weather events. The Resilient Communities program also prioritizes inclusion and aiding historically underserved, low- and moderate-income communities.
A detailed listing of the 2020 grants made through the Resilient Communities program is available here.