New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Nets Federal Funding to Develop Urban Coastal Flood Plan
(Sandy Hook, NJ) ... The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) is one of four programs selected to receive federal funding for a special NOAA Sea Grant initiative supporting community climate adaptation. The 2013 Community Climate Adaptation Initiative was developed by the NOAA National Sea Grant program to support projects that will help prepare for current and predicted impacts of climate variability and change on America's coastal communities. Priority was placed on projects that best identified and addressed the vulnerabilities a coastal community may face adapting to climate change and would produce demonstrable outcomes by the end of the project period. The projects also had to involve active partnership with local (county or municipal) leadership, and include cooperation with relevant state, NOAA, and other Federal agencies, or other appropriate organizations.
According to Dr. Joshua Brown, Program Officer for NOAA Sea Grant, “The winning projects represent a diverse array of regions and challenges, and highlight the power of communities working together to address far reaching challenges, partnering with universities and government to ensure the best science available is used to inform public decisions. Only four out of twenty-six proposals were selected and will share the $500,000 grant pool.“
New Jersey Sea Grant’s project includes a collaboration between coastal flooding scientists and Jersey City planners to develop and test several options for adapting the region’s urban coasts to flooding and sea level rise. Jersey City is the second most populated city in New Jersey with 43% of its land within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100 year flood zones. The project will lay out a plan to leverage existing storm surge modeling to quantify the performance of a set of protective measures for Jersey City, including a variety of grey and green options such as storm surge barriers, deployable barriers, and wetlands.
Dr. Jon Miller, Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology and Coastal Processes Specialist for NJSGC, pointed out that “Hurricane Sandy was a painful reminder that coastal storms are among the world’s most costly and deadly disasters, capable of causing tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in damages and destroying entire neighborhoods. Increased damage from storm surge flooding is one of the most certain impacts of climate change, with the potential for intensified storms coming on top of rising sea levels.”
“Dr. Philip Orton, research scientist at Stevens will lead the modeling effort which will generate flood zone maps that account for future sea level rise and storm climatology changes including map animations of how floodwaters enter Jersey Cityto help understand how the pathways can be blocked; a set of coastal adaptation options, and assessment of their performance with future climate change; outreach workshops for regional stakeholders and an adaptation planning and evaluation framework. The framework can be utilized for many other U.S. coastal regions – anywhere that hydrodynamic models are already being used to simulate storm surges or map flood zones, Miller added.”
The other three projects selected for funding were: Reducing Flooding Vulnerability of Chicago Critical Facilities,Illinois Indiana Sea Grant ;Implementing Comprehensive Community Planning in St. Mary’s, GA and Hyde County, NC - Georgia Sea Grant and North Carolina Sea Grant; and Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment for Coastal Communities-University of California Sea Grant. You can learn more about these projects on the new National Sea Grant website which will go live on September 1st athttp://seagrant.noaa.gov/News/SeaGrantAnnouncements/TabId/275/ArtMID/731/ArticleID/47/NOAA-Sea-Grant-Funding-Supports-Community-Climate-Adaptation-.aspx
The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey’s marine and coastal environment. NJSGC meets its mission through its innovative research, education and outreach programs. For more information, visit NJSGC on the web at njseagrant.org or on social media at facebook.com/NJSeaGrant and twitter.com/NJSeaGrant.