Various agencies and organizations that view island restoration as critical to ensuring the resilience of both the natural habitats and developed communities of New Jersey’s bays formed the NJ Bay Islands Initiative (NJBII) in 2020. The group is taking a regional and coordinated approach to island restoration. Its long-term goal is to manage bay islands as a system and pursue a variety of habitat enhancement and restoration projects to address multiple needs.

Island Assessments

In 2020, field teams from the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP) and the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge used the Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetlands Rapid Assessment Method to determine current conditions on 52 Barnegat Bay islands from Bay Head to Little Egg Harbor. The data was integrated into an island decision-support tool, which will help restoration practitioners identify islands in the bay that would benefit from restoration or protection projects. For more information about the assessments and the NJBII, contact Virginia Rettig, Forsythe Refuge Manager, at

Decision-Support Tool

With grant funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy, the Stockton University Coastal Research Center developed a tool to support decision-making about island restoration projects. The tool will enable the NJBII working group to weigh different parameters to align funding opportunities with potential restoration projects, and also provide an opportunity to strengthen collaboration among partners (e.g., using sediment from channel maintenance to optimize available funding).

To learn more, visit the NJBII’s website.