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Scotch Bonnet Island Marsh Elevation Enhancement Project, Cape May NJ

Project Purpose:

The project will beneficially use clean dredged material from the NJIWW to stabilize a failing marsh platform and reverse marsh acreage loss. The project is located in the Cape May Wetlands Wildlife Management Area adjacent to The Wetlands Institute. Funding is sought to supplement the project with materials to add education and outreach components to the project.

Brief Description:

The USACE is designing and permitting a beneficial use project to restore up to 11 acres of marsh in an area that has experienced more than 30% marsh loss since 1941, and is projected to lose an additional 30% of acreage by 2050 under the state’s sea level rise projections. The ecological goals are to increase marsh platform resiliency by raising marsh elevation into low marsh elevation ranges using 2023 marsh elevation/vegetation relationships resulting from extensive research already completed by TWI scientists and partners. The project permitting, design and construction is funded by the USACE through its navigation program. TWI scientists will be conducting monitoring and assessments of the site before and following dredge material placement in an effort to continue to gain valuable knowledge about marsh and wildlife response to these types of marsh restoration projects.

The project site will be directly visible from The Wetlands Institute and provides an excellent opportunity to add education and outreach components to the project. Our education and visitor services are well developed reaching more than 29,000 visitors and students annually providing an excellent venue to deliver science-based information to the public about marsh loss, climate change, and marsh restoration projects. This especially critical for beneficial use projects that are visually disturbing immediately following placement until marsh vegetation recovery begins.

We seek to add UAV multispectral imagery of the project site prior to and following material placement and use these visually distinctive materials to support educational outreach materials. We will add interpretive signage on the Institute’s Salt Marsh Trail, directly across from the placement area using support from NJCWRP.

Resource Values/Project Outputs:

Resource value is the restoration of up to 11 acres of tidal marsh as well as education and outreach to help NJ achieve a higher level of acceptance for beneficial use projects.


USACE Maintenance Dredging and Material Placement is estimated to be in excess of $1.2m. Total TWI Portion of Assessment and Monitoring Project separate from USACE contribution is $60,107; Budget request from NJCWRP $14, 946; TWI match $45,161

Schedule: Initiation of project in month/year - a timetable for completion of x years/months Project planning, site selection and design work are completed, multispectral UAV imagery being requested will be scheduled for August 2023 and August 2024. Education/outreach materials will be created ahead of placement (fall 2023) and updated and revised following placement (winter 2023) and throughout the evolution of the site as conditions change.

Permit Status:

USACE is permit applicant and federal consistency review is in process; NJDEP permits are anticipated to be approved 6/10/2023. Special use permits for flights are already secured.

List of Partners:

USACE – Philadelphia District; NJDEP; University of Pennsylvania

What is requested from the CWRP/Contribution:

We seek support of $14,946 to support UAV flights and site signage. TWI will match $45,161 in direct funds for site assessment and evaluation work for wildlife and marsh response that will be a key component in education and outreach materials. We are also committed to maintaining educational material and upgrading it throughout the duration of the project evolution which we anticipate to be up to 5 years.

Point of Contact: 

Lenore P. Tedesco, Executive Director
The Wetland Institute


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