Through Executive Order No. 89 (pdf), a Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy was directed to be developed by September 1, 2020 to promote the long-term mitigation, adaptation, and resilience of New Jersey’s economy, communities, infrastructure, and natural resources throughout the State.
The Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy shall include recommendations for actions the State should take to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, including but not limited to the following measures:
As part of the CCRS, the DEP is directed to develop the Coastal Resilience Plan (CRP) that addresses the issues specific to New Jersey's coastal zone. The CRP is the first step for the DEP to evaluate how its policies and programs allow for local, regional and state response to climate change within the coastal zone to ensure future generations of New Jerseyans are protected from the risks of climate change and flooding.
The plan will guide policies, regulations, resource allocation and funding in the coastal zone to: reduce the impacts of coastal hazards; increase resilience for structures, infrastructure systems, environmental resources, and coastal communities; address the needs of socially vulnerable populations; and attract equitable and sustainable investment.
In 2018 DEP hosted a two-day Summit to discuss resilience and other related issues facing our coastal communities. Information on the presentations and agenda can be found on the Coastal Resilience Summit webpage.
New Jersey has more than 1,800 miles of coastline from the New York border to the head of tide along the Delaware River. The coastal zone covers 3,218 square miles and comprises 239 communities. It includes all areas covered under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act, the Waterfront Development Area and the New Jersey Meadowlands District.
Approximately 53 percent of New Jersey’s total population resides in the coastal zone, with thousands more visiting cities, towns, beaches, parks and other popular locations every day. The coastal zone features thousands of attractive destinations; indeed, New Jersey’s tourism industry is a multi-billion-dollar economic engine, and various other sectors rely on waterfront access as well. The communities in this region are diverse and encompass characteristics of all New Jersey communities from large urbanized cities adjacent to New York City, to shore towns, to tiny hamlets surrounded by undeveloped land.
This rich, diverse area faces significant threats and challenges in the face of a changing climate and rising seas. Areas within the coastal zone are already vulnerable to inundation from tides, coastal storms and rain events. Although there have been various studies to identify the vulnerability of several communities or specific resources within the coastal zone, no study has comprehensively evaluated the potential impacts of sea-level rise and future coastal storm events on the coastal zone.
DEP will develop a Coastal Resilience Plan and tools to move New Jersey forward in preparing for sea-level rise and coastal storms. The plan will evaluate policies, programs, and regulations that must be modified or created to reduce risk, increase coordination across and within agencies, improve awareness and support local municipalities in achieving adaptation. It will identify existing and new strategies that will reduce physical, economic, and social risk to flood events, enhance state and local capabilities, and encourage innovative solutions to the complex challenges of rising sea levels. The plan will not prescribe projects for every reach of the shoreline but is intended as a first step to put New Jersey on a path to resilience.