Wetlands Institute Faces Critical Challenges to Wetland Habitats
Climate Change, Rising Sea Levels, Loss of Biodiversity and Wetlands
Stone Harbor, NJ, – As a regional leader in wetlands conservation for almost 50 years, The Wetlands Institute located outside of Stone Harbor, NJ, remains at the forefront of vital wetlands research and education as it faces crucial conservation challenges to marine life and healthy wetlands. Situated on 6,000 acres of habitat for migratory birds and horseshoe crabs, the Institute is at the epicenter of the most complex and critical challenges facing the region: climate change, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity and wetlands habitat. To address these pressing challenges, the Institute has initiated an intensive education campaign to encourage public support for wetland and habitat conservation.
“These challenges can no longer be ignored,” said Institute Executive Director Lenore Tedesco. “Today, the threats to wetlands have never been greater with climate change and rising sea levels already impacting wetlands. The struggle to address these seminal issues and engage the public in understanding and mitigating these impacts is significant and The Wetlands Institute is responding to these needs.”
The Institute took on these pressing issues by restructuring the research and conservation department, recruiting several key scientists, and initiating several new conservation and education programs. After Hurricane Sandy, the Institute constructed an elevated walkway over the marsh to enhance education opportunities and expanded monitoring programs that include detailed marsh elevation measurement stations to understand the impacts of rising sea level on local coastal resiliency. The Institute works with multi-partner teams to test experimental techniques in marsh restoration and habitat enhancement to stabilize natural areas and help stressed and declining animal populations.
Wetlands Institute personnel raise these important issues and solutions to the public through various programs and media. As they work to rebalance ecosystems and animal populations suffering from both natural and man-made stresses, they explore new methods to restore wetlands and barrier island habitats to maintain resilient coasts. They help diamondback terrapin populations cope with habitat loss and pressures from island development and roadways. Project teams rescue and return spawning horseshoe crabs to Delaware Bay waters and hatch horseshoe crab eggs to help stabilize their populations and accelerate population recovery.
To further raise these issues with the public, the Institute produced a new short documentary video featuring the important work of the Institute as it faces these challenges, and this past October, Institute Executive Director Lenore Tedesco took the message to the global TED network by giving a TEDxCapeMay talk entitled “See Climate Change.”