Salt marsh restoration

Salt marsh restoration

Project Goals

Project Goals:

Beach nourishment and restoration:

In any waterfront community, a strong, substantial beachfront is vital. In an effort to restore much of the waterfront of the Shinnecock Bay shoreline on the Shinnecock Indian Nation Reserve, CCE Suffolk will be bringing in sand to fill over 3,000 feet of shoreline that has been degraded as a result of Hurricane Sandy and decades of erosion. This will restore shoreline resiliency and protect the shoreline and upland habitats.

American Oyster:

The American Oyster plays a vital role in the ecology of the Shinnecock Bay, helping to maintain the health of the bay and providing a food source for many living things. As a result of Hurricane Sandy and decades of erosion, the American Oyster has experienced drastic habitat alterations. In an effort to increase oyster habitat and in turn foster oyster populations, the Shinnecock Indian Nation and CCE Suffolk will be constructing small reefs built from shell, concrete, and stone on the west side of the reservation where shoreline has been impacted by erosion. These reefs will be used as substrate for the placement of oysters. These reefs will not only act as habitat for aggregating oysters, but will also serve to alleviate wave impacts and provide habitat for other invertebrates and finfish. Restoring the oyster abundance in this area will also create a good economic opportunity for the community.

Eelgrass meadow restoration:

Marine grass meadows serve important ecosystem functions in the lifecycle of many fish species by providing hunting, foraging, and nursery grounds. These meadows also help anchor sand and sediment, which helps protect fragile shorelines from erosion and storm damage. As part of restoration efforts, the Shinnecock Indian Nation and CCE Suffolk will be planting two acres of new eelgrass plantings along the reservation shoreline. This will help protect shorelines and upland habitat from future storms and erosion.

Salt marsh plantings:

Another vital part of the marine ecosystem is the salt marsh, also known as tidal wetlands. This habitat is vital in that it provides a buffer between shorelines and bays and helps filter out pollutants in the water. This habitat is critical for fish, shellfish, and birds. The dominant species in this tidal zone is Spartina alterniflora. This species of grass is vulnerable to changes in elevation from sea level rise and populations can be damaged from erosion. As part of restoration efforts, the Shinnecock Indian Nation and CCE Suffolk will be planting and extending the current salt marsh area.

Restore upland plant community:

Another vital part of the shoreline habitat is upland vegetation. As part of restoration efforts, the Shinnecock Indian Nation and CCE Suffolk will be planting a variety of flooding tolerant native tree, shrub, and grass species through propagation of local plants. These plantings will occur in areas where storm damage has caused the loss of vegetative cover. This will strengthen the Shinnecock Bay shoreline and help protect against damage from future storms.

Restore tidal flow to existing marshes:

Two marshes on the west side of the Reservation are in need of restoration and management. As a result of sand deposition from storm action, the marshes receive only periodic tidal flow. In turn there has been a loss of vegetation and an increase in habitat conducive to mosquito breeding. In an effort to restore tidal flow to these marshes, the Shinnecock Indian Nation and CCE Suffolk will restore the tidal channels to the bay. This will allow for the proper rise and fall of the tide, will help restore native plant species and will allow native killifish to thrive and naturally control mosquito larvae.

- See more at: http://ccesuffolk.org/marine/habitat/coastal-habitat-restoration-project-shinnecock-indian-reservation#sthash.nmoqUKFb.dpuf

Contact

Christopher H. Pickerell
Marine Program Director
cp26@cornell.edu
631-852-8660

Last updated May 5, 2017