By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The clock is running on a beach restoration project that’s for the birds, and more.

Hurricane Sandy battered Atlantic coast beaches, but the flip side of the storm, south of the eye where wind howled from the west, chewed up those on the New Jersey shore of the Delaware Bay.

Larry Niles of the American Littoral Society says the storm surge pushed existing sand into marshes, leaving too little for the annual horseshoe crab mating marathon.

“So if we just let things go, we’re going to lose the marshes which is going to destroy the productivity of the Bay, seafood, all of that, sport fishing, but if we lose the marshes then the storm surges are going to wash over the people who live on the inner coastline.”

This project, costing less than two million dollars, is repairing about 1 and a half miles of bay beach.

It is the first of 31 in the pipeline for the US Fish and Wildlife Service with a total price tag of $102 million, restoring beaches, dunes and barrier islands for storm protection and wildlife, the benefits radiating to residents nearby.

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