Stone Harbor Point provides a protective barrier to the Borough of Stone Harbor from damaging coastal storms and sea level rise. Sand from re-nourishment activities north of the Point provides a continual resupply of sand to the area through southerly longshore drift. This ensures a long-term supply of sand for restoration. Through local sand harvesting (ie. no dredging or trucking in sand) we will build elevation and improve habitat quality for coastal birds, and reduce coastal flooding. Because materials are present locally, the cost for sand acquisition and transport will be greatly reduced and sustainable.
NJ Audubon received a grant through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program to restore and enhance beaches at Stone Harbor Point, Cape May. We are partnering with L. J. Niles and Associates, the Wetlands Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Richard Stockton College of NJ Coastal Research Center, and the Borough of Stone Harbor to increase available quality habitat for migratory and beach nesting birds, and coastal resiliency for the Borough and its residents.
The first year of the project was 2015. Work was completed on March 12, 2015. The project resulted in two areas of elevated habitat that will decrease flooding risks for nests of beach nesting birds and roosting habitat for shorebirds. It also created an elevated peninsula on the bay side, separated from the Point with a runnel. Finally, a resiliency dune will protect the community from flooding from the south. The additional restoration was needed in 2016 to repair damage from storms, especially winter storm Jonas that on January 23-24, 2016 brought high tides and wind swept water to the Point.
Through monitoring we will document any biological impacts of sand harvesting on intertidal invertebrate communities to determine if this method is an ecologically sound approach for protected wildlife areas. We will also monitor use of the site by migratory shorebirds (Red Knot, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, American Oystercatcher, etc.) and beach nesting birds (Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Black Skimmers, Least Terns). Furthermore, we will conduct outreach programs to decrease human disturbance at the site and predator control to ensure improved nesting success.