I recently read an article on Asbury Park Press about how piping plover numbers were down even though superstorm Sandy actually created more plover habitat in New Jersey. I heard a similar message last Thursday at the Jamaica Bay Symposium from Hanem Abouelezz, a biologist with the National Park Service in reference to Rockaway Beach.
According to the article, some post-Sandy dune replenishment projects destroyed plover habitat. The story highlights the tension that can sometimes exist between storm protection and habitat protection.
Can we resolve this tension when designing resilient coastal communities? Yes.
Biohabitats recently participated in the FAR ROC (For a Resilient Rockaway) Design Competition on a team led by Ennead Architects. Centered on ecology, our design was crafted around the idea of a dunescape. Our design, which garnered an award for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design, was actually influenced by observations made by Biohabitats staff earlier this summer while monitoring bird and plant species of concern–including the piping plover–duration beach re-nourishment activities along the New Jersey coast.
So when it came time to craft our dunescape concept for the FAR ROC competition, we kept those plovers in mind, designing unvegetated and sparsely vegetated areas on the beach side, with a rocky/shell sand area.
Habitat needs are never simple, but I believe that a balance between storm protection and habitat protection can be met.
Further ReadingMeet Suzanne Greene, our new Proposal Coordinator
Restoring Nature’s Green Infrastructure: Streams, Wetlands, and Floodplains
Regenerative Real Estate: Ecosystem-based approaches with Keith Bowers
Biodiversity and the Farm of the Future
Living on the Edge: National Best Practices in Coastal Resilience
More From This AuthorThe stark reality of post-apocalyptic film locations
Thoughts on Biomimicry
A Look at the Degree of Conservation Along the Colorado River: a guest blog post by freelance writer Meika Jensen
Repercussions of a repealed stormwater fee in Baltimore County
COP10: Could biodiversity offsets be the answer?