Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

New Report Outlines Coastal Resilience Strategies

Contact: David Kutner  (dkutneratnjfuturedotorg)  , Planning Manager, 609-393-0008 ext. 105
  
Recommendations include steps communities and the state can take
to protect against future storms and sea-level rise.

 

TRENTON, Dec. 13, 2017 — New Jersey Future today released a report outlining strategies coastal communities can take to respond to the impacts of rising seas and increased flooding. The report is a product of the Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Communities project, funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Office of Coastal and Land Use Planning.

The local strategies outlined in the report fall into five major categories:

  • Enacting more resilient building codes and standards;
  • Refocusing development;
  • Protecting and restoring marshes and wetlands;
  • Disclosing hazards;
  • Re-aligning capital investment priorities.

“The strategies outlined in our report should be viewed by coastal communities as a menu of options. Municipal officials can select those that will have the biggest impact on their preparedness for the risks associated with sea-level rise,” said New Jersey Future Planning Manager David Kutner, who led the project. “Not only will these strategies make people and property safer, they will help provide communities that implement them with a more secure economic future, less prone to the repetitive damage and loss that accompanies severe storms and flooding.”

The report also describes actions the state should take to support communities that want to implement risk reduction strategies, including:

  • Adopting uniform, forward-looking projections of sea-level rise as the state’s standard to inform decisions about projects and programs that receive state funding and to guide state, county and community-level risk analysis and hazard mitigation planning;
  • Creating a long-term, coast-wide adaption plan to serve as a framework for county and municipal mitigation and adaptation planning;
  • Revising the state’s Municipal Land Use Law to require resilience as part of community master plans;
  • Aligning state programs and incentives so they encourage municipal resilience efforts;
  • Developing sustainable funding sources to promote adaptation and finance land-use changes, and to help communities implement these measures over time.

“This report emphasizes that the state can be instrumental in providing guidance and assistance to communities to help them evaluate future risk so they can take coordinated, focused action to minimize or avoid vulnerability to sea-level rise,” said Leah Yasenchak Ph.D. PP AICP, the owner of BRS, a partner in the project.

“Using the best available scientifically-informed and supported climate change metrics as the criteria to determine where coastal development should occur will help to break the unsustainable cycle of ‘build-flood-rebuild’ that has characterized recovery along New Jersey’s shore,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach. “This will be a critical focus for the next governor as he weighs the most economically and environmentally responsible role the state can play to protect and preserve our coastal communities.”

“The report stresses that leadership at the state level is absolutely required to facilitate municipal risk-based adaptation and mitigation planning,” added Geoffrey M. Goll P.E., the president and principal engineer at Princeton Hydro, another partner in the project. “This will, in turn, allow local officials time for rational deliberation to weigh options and choose those most suited to their community’s needs”

The goal of the project was to evaluate the state’s current rules for designating development centers along the coast and how the boundaries of such centers should be redefined based on future projections of coastal flood risk and sea-level rise.

The report is available for download on New Jersey Future’s website.

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About New Jersey Future
Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment and infrastructure investments to foster vibrant cities and towns, protect natural lands and waterways, enhance transportation choices, provide access to safe, affordable and aging-friendly neighborhoods and fuel a strong economy. The organization does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on technical assistance. New Jersey Future serves as the backbone staff for the Jersey Water Works collaborative.

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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