Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program
M/V Presidente Rivera Fuel Oil Spill
United States of America
Affected DOI Resources:
Pea Patch Island is a small, low-lying island located near the entrance of the Delaware River. It emerged as a sandbar in the mid 1700s and had been developed as a coastal defense fortification by the early 1800s. A seawall and dikes were built on the island and the current Fort Delaware was constructed between 1848 and 1860. Ownership of the island was transferred to the State of Delaware when the fort was decommissioned in 1944 and Fort Delaware State Park opened to the public in 1951. A portion of the island was also used as a dredge disposal site, creating high areas that became vegetated with shrubs and trees. Since the early 1970s, Pea Patch Island has supported the largest heron rookery along the East Coast of the United States north of Florida. Ten species of colonial-nesting herons, egrets, and ibises rear their young on the island each year.
This restoration project included the herbicide treatment of approximately 57-acres of wetlands dominated by common reed (Phragmites) along the southeastern portion of the island. Over 95% of the Phragmites in the treated area were eliminated with no evidence of recurring invasions. The shoreline was also stabilized around the rookery to reduce erosion.
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Fish and Wildlife Service
The common reed (Phragmites) is a perennial grass that outcompetes native wetland plants by forming dense colonies., Credit: Steve Luell, USFWS
New Jersey Ecological Services Field Office
4 East Jimmie Leeds Road, Suite 4, Galloway, NJ 08205 | (609) 383-3938 | http://www.fws.gov/northeast/njfieldoffice/