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The goal of the project was to restore approximately 16 acres of upland deciduous forest and 6 acres of estuarine emergent wetland within the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary in Stone Harbor, Cape May County, New Jersey.

Tidal flow into the 6-acre wetland was via a 16-inch-diameter perched pipe. This hydrologic connection is likely limiting tidal flow and nutrient exchange in the subject wetland. This limitation may have also been increasing the potential colonization of the wetlands by common reed. In order to improve the hydrologic connection of this estuarine wetland and minimize invasive species the Borough replaced the existing pipe with an appropriately sized pipe (e.g., 36-inch-diameter pipe) to maximize tidal exchange within the footprint of the existing estuarine wetland. In addition, the replacement of this pipe included lowering the invert elevation of the pipe to increase the potential tidal flow to a greater range of tidal conditions (i.e., including mid to low tide range). As a management measure, the Borough installed a water-control structure on the upstream end of the pipe to allow a variety of water level management, including throttling the tidal flow into the wetland, temporarily impounding water in the wetlands, and maintaining one-way flow into or out of the wetland.

The upland restoration project would include managing and improving vertical diversity within the upland deciduous forest. In 2008 Heron Overlook was finished providing the first opportunity for visitors to be inside the Sanctuary in 60 years. During the summer of 2008 the berm was replaced that separates the fresh water meadow and the salt water meadow, creating Meadow View. In February 2009 the pipe replacement took place, Holly Path was completed and clogged tributaries were opened. Finally in June of 2009 the Sanctuary Volunteers and Friends welcomed local residents and summer visitors to a fully restored Sanctuary.


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