Mother Nature Knows Best: How Superstorm Sandy Changed Sunken Meadow Creek
ABSTRACT: In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy washed out a 60-year-old berm that restricted tidal flow to Sunken Meadow Creek, restoring tidal flow to the stagnant channel. A plan to remove the berm had previously been identified as a high priority for the region and the design was nearing completion when the storm hit. Pre-monitoring surveys had been collected since 2008 in preparation for the project, providing a baseline of data we could compare to changes in the creek after tidal flow was restored. We have observed many changes in the creek after the storm, including increased salinity upstream, erosion along stream banks, reduction in amount and vigor of Phragmites, and changes to the flora and fauna observed using the creek channel.
Ariana Newell is the Regional Natural Resource Biologist for the Long Island and New York City regions of NYS Parks. She works on a variety of habitat restoration, endangered species protection, and invasive species projects within her regions. She received a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Marshall University and Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from SUNY Cobleskill.