By Cleve Bryan
CAPE MAY COURTHOUSE, NJ (CBS) – A year-and-a-half after Superstorm Sandy, scars remain along the Delaware Bay.
As some homeowners wait for relief, several damaged beaches are now being restored.
A thousand truckloads of sand are being used to rebuild five of those beaches along the Delaware Bay shore. This is the first of 31 projects under the U.S. Department of the Interior in a $100 million effort to restore natural habitats damaged by Sandy.
“The Delaware Bay is so important for the ecosystem and for eco-tourism,” says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Heidi Hanlon.
Each year, visitors watch thousands of shore birds stop along the bay. They feed on horseshoe crab eggs – no beach, no eggs.
“When Sandy wiped out all that habitat, we were certain it was going to be a catastrophic loss of shore birds, because they’re depending on these eggs to build up weight to go on to the Arctic and breed,” explains Larry Niles, a wildlife biologist.
Construction officials say the project is a three-week-long job. They want to make sure they’re done by April 15th, because starting in May, all the horseshoe crabs will be arriving.
And the beaches matter to people, too. They protect the marshes, which in turn protect the mainland.
All along the bay are communities, and they’re some of the poorest in the state, so rebuilding these beaches helps them build an economy.
Ken Raker and his wife live only a mile from the restored area, Kimbles Beach.
“There wasn’t much beach at all, and there was a lot of debris,” he recalls. “It’s nice now.”
Soon, there will be more beach for people to enjoy.