Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, located near Rock Hall, is a key stopover area for migratory waterfowl. Within the refuge boundary is an important stretch of water known as Hail Cove, which is home to more than 108 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) beds that are vital to supporting aquatic wildlife and the foraging needs of migratory waterfowl.
Aerial surveys conducted over the past 10 years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff revealed the gradual narrowing of a thin piece of land that separated Hail Creek from the Chester River. This land was the Creek’s only remaining protection from the Chester River.
The Hail Cove Living Shoreline Project was completed in 2009 and consists of an 800-foot long living shoreline created along the narrow isthmus between Hail Cove and Hail Creek. Two headland breakwaters with sand were placed within the structures to provide additional shallow water habitat protection at the entrance to the cove. An initial 1000 feet of reef (Arc of Stone) were seeded with 20 bushels of oysters grown by CES with support from the Friends of Eastern Neck. The Arc of Stone’s oysters serve as a pilot study of shallow water oyster survival in 3 feet mean low water. In less than two years, the Arc of Stone and the headland structures are beginning to transform into a functioning reef habitat with surviving oysters and native bent mussels that provide forage and refuge for striped bass, blue crabs, American eels and wintering waterfowl.
Read more about the Hail Cove project in this publication by US Fish and Wildlife Service. (PDF, page 8)
CES Earns Coastal America Partnership Award
On April 21, 2010, CES was awarded for its contributions to the Hail Cove Living Shoreline Project. Coastal America is a group of federal agencies, state and local governments, and private organizations established in 1992 to protect, preserve, and restore thee nation’s coastal resources. Its annual awards recognize efforts to meet these goals. Read more about the award in the Star Democrat.