Featured Projects

Bahia Grande Restoration

Bahia Grande before flooding (left), Bahia Grande after flooding (right) Photos: NOAA

Restore this once vibrant body of water, which is a major estuary that will serve as a fish and shrimp hatchery, provide habitat for plants, fish, wildlife and birds, and furnish recreational and research opportunities.

LOCATION: Bahia Grande is an 11,000 acre, barren basin within the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, which is located off the Gulf of Mexico, near the city of Brownsville, at the southernmost tip of Texas.

PARTNERS: TX CWRP; U.S. FWS; NOAA-Fisheries; NOAA-Community Based Restoration Program; Ducks Unlimited; Ocean Trust; Gulf of Mexico Program; Gulf Ecological Management Sites Program; and TX Coastal Program.

BACKGROUND: The Bahia Grande was drained during the 1930’s during the expansion of the Brownsville Ship Channel. It once served as an important nursery for a wide variety of fish, shellfish, wildlife and waterfowl in the South Texas coastal region. Prior to its draining, Bahia Grande had been used as a fishing ground and source of salt by indigenous people and early settlers.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has purchased Bahia Grande. They propose to construct channels that will allow Bahia Grande to be re-flooded. The channels will take advantage of the normal tidal regime in the area and permit adequate tidal exchange of salt water to maximize water circulation as well as allow migration of marine organisms into and out of the basin. Plantings of native seagrasses and black mangrove will accelerate the restoration of the wetland plant community.

BENEFITS: The basins will fill with water once again to become productive bays providing habitat for many species of fish, shrimp, crabs, shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl. As a result, the Bahia Grande will become important nursery grounds for recreationally and commercially important aquatic species such as shrimp, crabs, and finfish which are important to both consumptive and non-consumptive users

FUNDING: The Texas CWRP is contributing $100,000 in cash and in-kind services to this project.


Lonsdale Marsh Environmental Restoration

Existing condition of Lonsdale Marsh Drive-In Movie Theatre (left), a computer-generated view post-restoration (right). Rendering by DuBois and King, Inc. of Randolph, VT.

PURPOSE:To restore 20+ acres of the dilapidated Lonsdale Drive-In to wetland and riparian habitat.

LOCATION:The Lonsdale Drive-In is located along the Blackstone River, a designated American Heritage River, in Lincoln, RI. The site is within the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and is located near the Valley Falls Marshes, one of the most highly valued freshwater wetlands in Rhode Island.

PARTNERS:RI CWRP; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; NOAA/NMPS; U.S. EPA; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England District; RIDEM; RI Natural Heritage Program; University of Rhode Island; and RI Habitat Restoration Team.

BACKGROUND:The Lonsdale site is a broad floodplain terrace that was developed as an outdoor drive-in movie theater in the early 1950s. Approximately 20.4 acres of the 36.8 acre site were paved to construct the drive-in. The drive-in was closed in the 1980s and has been unused since. The State of Rhode Island purchased the site in 1998 with the intention of restoring wetland and riparian habitat

BENEFITS:The restoration plan calls for construction of a 7-acre wetland and restoration of 13.4 acres of upland riparian habitat. The constructed wetlands will include 3.6 acres of emergent and open water habitat and 3.4 acres of scrub/shrub and forested wetland.

The site will have considerable recreational and educational value. Facilities to be constructed include hiking trails, an educational kiosk, and possible a wildlife observation platform. An interstate bike trail, constructed by RIDEM, will pass along the western edge of the site.

FUNDING:The RI CWRP is contributing $30,000 to the project. The total project cost is approximately $2,700,000.

AWARDS:2005 Coastal America Partnership Award

Batsto River Fishway Restoration

Batsto River Spillway (Dam) (left), installed fishway (right).

PURPOSE: To restore access to spawning and rearing habitat for migratory fish on the Batsto River.

LOCATION: The Batsto River is a tributary to the Mullica River Located in Burlington County, New Jersey. The project is located approximately 30 miles from Atlantic City and 40 miles from Trenton, New Jersey. The project is located at Batsto Village State Historic Park, which is focused on preserving the historical accuracy of a 19th century New Jersey community.

PARTNERS: NJ CWRP; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. EPA; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District; and NJ DEP.

BACKGROUND: Historic dams at the project site have prevented fish passage for over 200 years. Many anadromous fish spawning runs located throughout the Mid-Atlantic States, including New Jersey, have been lost through the construction of dams that are impassable to such species as alewife and blueback herring.

The goal of the project will be accomplished through the installation of a permanent fishway on the Batsto River to allow migratory fish to proceed unimpeded around a spillway (dam) to historic spawning and foraging areas upstream.

BENEFITS: The installation of the fishway at Batsto Lake will provide access to approximately eight miles of river to migratory fish. Allowing fish passage upstream of Batsto Lake dam will benefit the entire freshwater ecology of the New Jersey Pinelands. In addition, the project will also benefit the economy of the Pinelands, which Batsto Village is a major attraction for thousands of visitors each year.

Additionally, recreational fishing opportunities for the public will increase with future “herring runs. The recreational fishery for striped bass will benefit from the increase in the aquatic biodiversity and forage fish. The number of fish species and birds upstream of the dam will rise due to the overall improvement in the health of the Batsto River riparian system with a return to the natural aquatic food webs. The Batsto Village provides an excellent venue for environmental education concerning migratory fish passage and the importance of New Jersey's rivers

FUNDING: The New Jersey CWRP contributed $50,000 to this project.

AWARDS: The New Jersey CWRP received the 2005 Coastal America Partnership Award for its work on the Batso River Fishway.