PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Vast stretches of the iconic tall grasses that dot the Atlantic coast were destroyed during Superstorm Sandy, removing a vital protective buffer for the region's shoreline.

Now, the New England Wild Flower Society and its partners will collect the seeds of those native plants to replant them and reinforce coastal areas.

The Society says the $2.3 million project will help make these habitats more resilient to future storms. For inland states, the seeds will be used in river projects.

The two-year project is the first large-scale, coordinated seed banking effort in the Eastern United States.

The Society and its partners will be collecting at wildlife refuges in New England, as well as in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.

(Story by: Amy Anthony, The Associated Press)