Post-Hurricane Sandy Transportation Resilience Study of NY, NJ, and CT
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) commissioned the Post Hurricane Sandy Transportation Resilience Study in NY, NJ, and CT (Post-Sandy Study) to assess the impacts of October 2012's Hurricane Sandy, and other recent storms on the transportation system within the greater New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut metropolitan region. This research study sought to better understand the vulnerability of the system to the impacts of extreme weather events and the possible future impacts of climate, and identified adaptation strategies to increase the resilience of the transportation system. This research project was carried out in support of 23 U.S.C. § 503(b)(3)(B)(viii), which directs the U.S. Department of Transportation "to carry out research and development activities to study vulnerabilities of the transportation system to extreme events and methods to reduce those vulnerabilities."
The Post-Sandy Study project team compiled information on past damage and disruption from Hurricane Sandy and three other recent storms, and then assessed future vulnerability and risk to the transportation system in the region at three scales: regional, subarea, and facility level. The results of the project will help transportation agencies in the study area to advance more detailed vulnerability and risk assessments, as well as identify and evaluate potential adaptation strategies that could be applied to similar facilities in the region.
This research benefited from a broad array of input from regional stakeholders and experts. In addition to the project consultant team, FHWA would like to thank the following agencies:
- Connecticut Department of Transportation
- Federal Transit Administration
- Greater Bridgeport and Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (part of the Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments)
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- New York State Department of Transportation
- New Jersey Department of Transportation
- New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
- NJ TRANSIT
- North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
- Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
- South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (part of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments)
The Post-Sandy Study research publication is intended for use by FHWA personnel and the staff of other DOT modal administrations, state Departments of Transportation, and other state, regional, and local government agencies working on resilience efforts in the Post-Sandy Study region and beyond.
Acting Director, Office of Natural Environment
Federal Highway Administration
CIRCA Sea Level Rise Projections for Connecticut
CIRCA has released local projections of sea level rise for Connecticut's coast using local tide gauge data and the current best available science. Based on the projections, CIRCA recommends that Connecticut municipalities plan for 0.5 meters (1 ft 8 inches) of sea level rise by 2050 and that sea levels are likely to continue to rise after that date. A public meeting will be held on October 19 to present the science behind the projections.
CIRCA Awards Four Municipal Resilience Grants
Author and contact: Katie Lund, CIRCA Project Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CIRCA's Municipal Resilience Grant Program (MRGP) awards municipal governments and councils of government for initiatives that advance resilience, including the creation of conceptual design, construction of structures, or the design of practices and policies that increase their resilience to climate change and severe weather. These projects develop knowledge that is transferable to multiple locations in Connecticut. The following four projects were awarded in the latest round of MRGP Grants and will be completed by December 2018. To date, the CIRCA MRGP has launched 17 projects across the state of Connecticut.
Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG) received an award for a "Beardsley Zoo Green Infrastructure Project", which is a highly visible green infrastructure retrofit project at the zoo located along the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport. This collaborative project between MetroCOG, the Beardsley Zoo, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound will build on regional resilience planning efforts and the successful completion of a green infrastructure demonstration project at the Zoo in spring 2016. Through the installation of 2,000 square feet of porous pavement and up to 2,000 square feet of bioretention gardens, over 1,000,000 gallons of stormwater runoff will be captured and filtered annually from an acre of existing parking area. Interpretive signage, targeted outreach, volunteer engagement opportunities, and workshops will help to educate public who visit the Zoo each year about stormwater runoff and flood resiliency.
City of New Haven was awarded for a project entitled, "Assessing Impacts of Tides and Precipitation on Downtown Storm Sewer System Through Use of Real-Time Depth and Flow Monitoring." The city experiences frequent flooding at several locations crucial to the functioning of the City and regional transportation systems during high intensity, short duration rainfall events, which are exacerbated during high tide events. Until now, the City's lacked a long-term data gathering component to provide information on the performance of the City's stormwater infrastructure in widely varying conditions. This CIRCA funded project will create a low-cost "smart city" stormwater sensor network to provide a detailed record of the interaction of rainfall, tides, green stormwater infrastructure, and sewer conveyance systems on the hydrology of New Haven's urban core.
Northwest Hills Council of Governments (NHCOG) received an award for its project, "Enhancing Rural Resiliency: A Vision and Toolkit for Adaptation in the Northwest Hills." NHCOG and regional partners will use CIRCA's support to craft a vision for A Resilient Northwest Hills and produce a web-hosted climate change adaptation toolkit for municipalities. The NHCOG's Municipal Resilience Grant project is consistent with their 2017 regional Plan of Conservation and Development, which identifies climate change-related policies and specifically lists preparing, "a climate change adaptation plan including a web-based toolkit" as a strategy to help achieve the goal. While this project achieves several regional objectives, it will also be highly transferable to other towns in Connecticut.
City of Stamford was awarded a CIRCA grant for its "Resilience Opportunity Assessment" for a pilot project to review the potential vulnerability to climate change hazards at the Stamford Government Center and Stamford High School. Government Center is where the majority of City operations are housed the school is one of several locations serving as a public emergency shelter during blackouts and storms. The City is partnering with New Ecology, Inc., a Hartford-based non-profit that has developed a resilience assessment process for identifying hazards (including flooding, erosion, drought, extreme heat and cold, storms, fires, etc.) and implementation priorities (including but not limited to: elevating mechanical and electrical equipment, flood proofing buildings, flood barriers, perimeter drains, backflow preventers, portable water storage, etc.). This pilot assessment will not only provide an opportunity to advance resiliency in specific municipal buildings, but is also an opportunity to improve how the entire City functions and recovers from possible disaster.
To see descriptions of all 17 CIRCA Municipal Resilience Grant projects visit our webpage.
CRS for Community Resilience Four-Part Webinar Series: Nature Based Solutions, Higher Flood Management Standards and FEMA's Community Rating System
Are you interested in reducing flood insurance premiums while enhancing your community's resilience? Then this webinar series is for you.
The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a federal incentive program that provides flood insurance policyholders with discounts on their premiums in exchange for their community taking actions to reduce flood risk. This free webinar series will specifically highlight how communities may achieve success in the green elements of the program.
This four-part webinar series is your opportunity to learn more about nature-based solutions for community resilience, hear success stories from around the country, ask questions, and share input. CRS experts will share their experience and knowledge about tools, regulations and the process for building community resilience through the CRS.
Individual registration is required for each session. All sessions will run from 2:00 - 3:30PM EST.
Webinar #1: October 30,
The CRS Green Guide and Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains
Webinar #2: November 6,
Building CRS Capacity: Success Stories at the Local and State Level
Webinar #3: November 13,
CRS Open Space Preservation (Activity 420)Tools, Guidance and Success Stories
Webinar #4: November 27,
CRS Stormwater Management (Activity 450) and Urban Flood Management Best Practices
Continuing Education: 1 CEC for each webinar for CFMs who participate in the entire event.
Free, but registration is required. Seating is limited, register early.
All webinar presentations and materials will be made available through the
CRS for Community Resilience website.
By the end of this webinar series, participants will be able to:
Identify natural and beneficial functions of floodplains and how they increase community resilience;
Explain how to use the CRS Green Guide and other tools to improve their community's scores in CRS with elements that enhance community resilience;
Describe best practices for achieving success in the CRS program; and
Recognize actions that are credited through specific elements of the CRS program.
Not familiar with FEMA's CRS program? No problem, view the presentation from the"Introduction to the CRS" webinar
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CIRCA Session at CACIWC 2017: Tools and Guidance for Nature-based Community Climate Resilience in Connecticut
More about the November 18, 2017 CACIWC Annual Meeting and how to register
CIRCA Director of Community Engagement, Dr. Rebecca French will be presenting a session in Track C. Climate Adaptation and Water Management.
C1. "Tools and Guidance for Nature-based Community Climate Resilience in Connecticut"
Rebecca A. French, PhD, Director of Community Engagement; Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption (CIRCA) University of Connecticut, Avery Point Campus
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption (CIRCA) is a partnership of UConn and the CT DEEP. The mission of the Institute is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change on the natural, built, and human environment. The CIRCA team of UConn faculty and staff conducts research to generate actionable science to inform community decisions. The Institute also provides grants to local governments and organizations to accelerate the adoption of resilience strategies in Connecticut's communities. In this workshop, Dr. French will share the best practices and tools emerging from the Institute's funded projects that are available to communities with a focus on the use of nature-based approaches, including living shorelines and green infrastructure. Nature-based approaches mimic natural ecosystems, but are also engineered to provide a desired service. For example, living shorelines enhance coastal ecosystems, but are also designed to decrease erosion. Green infrastructure approaches, such as rain gardens and bioswales, may be used to capture and manage stormwater, while also providing habitat.
CIRCA Workshop: Connecticut Living Shorelines: Projects into Practice Workshop
Monday, November 20, 2017
Registration begins at 9:00 AM
Program runs 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
UConn, Avery Point Campus, Marine Sciences Building, Room 103
1080 Shennecossett Rd. Groton, CT 06340
Please register for this free workshop by November 10, 2017 since space is limited to 60
Sea-level rise and storms are increasing erosion and inundation of coastal wetlands across New England and threaten property and valuable natural resources. The term "living shoreline" refers to a shoreline stabilization approach that protects or enhances natural shoreline habitats through the use of vegetation or the mixed use of hard structural and restorative natural materials. Examples include the use of natural fiber, marsh and native vegetation plantings, and large sand envelopes or specific stone placement. Historic practices of hard revetments and seawalls have limited effectiveness and may exacerbate erosion, destroy intertidal habitat, and alter sediment transport patterns. Living shorelines are designed to protect property and prevent erosion while improving habitat, water quality, and ecological condition in a way that appears natural and is consistent with the character of coastal communities and uses of the shore.*
UCONN's Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) invite you to attend a free workshop on putting living shorelines projects into practice. This workshop will provide an update about the state of living shorelines in Connecticut, highlight existing projects and research, and overview related permitting processes. Design concepts for both a larger, municipal site and a smaller, residential/land trust site will be explained. These two sites will then be used to run through a mock permit review exercise in small breakout groups with guidance from DEEP environmental analysts. The workshop is designed to provide opportunities to network with fellow practitioners while sharing lessons learned.
Who Should Attend: This workshop targets consultants, project designers, landscape architects, restoration ecologists and engineers in Connecticut. Space at the workshop is limited to facilitate a robust conversation around the workshop topics.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Solicitation Now Open Through Dec. 19, 2017
Open: Oct. 31, 2017
Dec. 19, 2017
EPA is calling for small businesses to apply for Phase I awards up to $100,000 to demonstrate proof of concept in the following topic areas: air quality, manufacturing, clean and safe water, land revitalization, homeland security, and building construction materials. See the full solicitation posted on FedConnect to learn more about these topic areas, view specific subtopics for each area, and access instructions on how to apply.
EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation from idea conception to commercialization. EPA's SBIR funding boosts local economies by creating jobs and promoting collaborations among communities and small businesses. This funding also supports technologies aimed at creating cleaner manufacturing materials and better infrastructure in communities. Successful Phase I companies are eligible to apply for Phase II funding, which awards up to $300,000 for two years with a commercialization option of up to $100,000, to further develop and commercialize their technologies.
All applications must be submitted through
CIRCA in the News
Back to News Clips
October 19, 2017- Connecticut Planning for Future with Changing Climate
In Connecticut, "50 by 50" does not refer to the state's renewable energy goals by the half-century mark, but to the projected rise in sea level: 50 centimeters by 2050.
Speaking Tuesday at the Connecticut Power & Energy Society's Future of Energy Conference, Robert Klee, commissioner of the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), pointed out that the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation had just briefed his staff the previous day on estimates for localized sea level rise.
"That's a fundamental change in the way we need to plan for infrastructure along the coast," Klee said.
But Klee touted the state's grid-scale clean energy procurements and low- and zero-emission renewable energy credit programs - as well as the work of the Connecticut Green Bank - in helping develop a sustainable energy framework.
"You can't drive around Connecticut anymore without seeing rooftop solar somewhere, on homes, on businesses - and that's a real achievement," Klee said. "And microgrids were kind of a sleeper hit. I go to microgrid conferences, and folks in other states are always amazed that we have six that are operational. Most other states are still [at the stage of] drawing boards or concept."
October 19, 2017- Long Island Sound Flood Risks Rising With Higher Sea Levels
Sea levels in Long Island Sound are now expected to rise by 20 inches by 2050, according to a new study, and experts warn that it is likely to create increased storm flooding for many communities along Connecticut's shoreline.
Connecticut's unique combination of location, weather and geography means it will experience "more sea level rise than other areas," James O'Donnell, executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation, said Thursday.
O'Donnell, the author of the new study, is taking a cautious approach to predictions that greenhouse gases and global warming will produce more frequent and more intense storms. "The evidence for storm changes is weak," he said.
"Storms that are not that bad will cause worse flooding in the future than they do now."- James O'Donnell, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation.
But the predicted rise in sea levels in the Sound are likely to result in increased flooding in some shoreline communities even from moderate storms, according to O'Donnell. "Storms that are not that bad will cause worse flooding in the future than they do now," he said.
The overall result of the continuing rise in sea levels will be "numerous and wide-ranging consequences" for the state, O'Donnell warned. "The implications are vast," he said, and the political and economic impacts "are complicated."
O'Donnell said the risk of flooding could increase by a factor of four or even by a factor of eight in some areas, he said. The kind of damage caused from what used to be considered a once-in-100-years storm could occur far more frequently, he said.
The new study of sea level trends in the Sound and their potential impact along Connecticut's shoreline was released Thursday at a conference at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus. O'Donnell's report is an update of sea level rise estimates for the Sound made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2012, with more specific data on the impact on Connecticut.
Back to News Clips
October 19, 2017- Zoo Breaks Ground On New Green Infrastructure Projects
The second stage of an ongoing green infrastructure project began this week at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, designed to filter stormwater before it reaches the nearby Pequonnock River, and ultimately, Long Island Sound. Runoff from rainwater can wash pollutants into the river, including oil and chemicals from automobiles, bacteria, and other debris and sediment, potentially harming aquatic life. By installing two new rain gardens and more permeable pavers in the parking lot, the intent is to allow stormwater to migrate through the soil and be biologically treated.
The project is a partnership between Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo and Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE)/Save the Sound. The project was launched in April 2016 with the installation of one rain garden and a small segment of porous walkway. This second phase will increase the amount of stormwater that can be captured from the parking lot and allowed to percolate in the soil before releasing clean water into the Pequonnock River. The rain gardens' and walkways prominent locations also serve as a learning laboratory and public education site for Zoo guests.
"We have rain gardens all around the Zoo grounds," said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. "Those gardens also become habitats, which we like. The gardens and permeable pavers are part of our focus on environmental conservation, caring about anything that affects plant, animal and human life."
On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Save the Sound co-hosted a green stormwater infrastructure workshop with the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) at the Zoo as part of the new construction phase. Participants learned the fundamentals of green stormwater infrastructure from NOFA accredited professional Trevor Smith, and gained hands-on experience.
Phase Two of the Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo project is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Futures Fund, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, Jeniam Foundation, and Newman's Own Foundation.
Local & State News Clips
October 25, 2017- It's Just Another Dam Show!
In 1955, Connecticut experienced
that killed more than eighty people. Two back-to-back hurricanes - Connie and Diane - dropped over two feet of rain across Connecticut. The rains overwhelmed the Naugatuck, Farmington, and Quinebaug Rivers and their tributaries too quickly for many to escape its wrath. After the flood, Connecticut enacted flood control measures that led to several
While many of
still play a vital role for things like flood control and
most of our over 4,000 dams are a remnant of Connecticut's industrial past. Most were made of stone and earth before modern engineering methods were used; at least 277 of them are in a state of disrepair considered by the state to pose a high hazard if they break.
With today's weather patterns, its not such a stretch for us to believe we could be in the path of another Irene, Sandy or maybe a Connie.
National News Clips
October 25, 2017- N.J. Commission Shows How "Neighborly" Planning Works
Jersey City, New Jersey, sucker punched in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy, announced in 2014 a $2 billion "coastal defense plan" that would extend the city's coastline into the water with 200 feet of infill (a la Manhattan's Battery Park City) - and then seal it off with a 2-mile-long sea wall.
It was the kind of large-scale restructuring of the Earth's surface that you'd want to coordinate with your neighbors. Yet there was Hoboken, right next door, drawing up fortification plans of its own. Called "Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge," Hoboken's $230 million concept consisted of sponge-like parks, flood walls, pumps and underground cisterns - a different strategy altogether.
The disconnect wasn't just inefficient, it was dangerous. "You cannot do this in a town-by-town approach," warned the director of the Sierra Club New Jersey. "One town's wall will be the next town's bigger flood." And yet, five years after Sandy made landfall in Brigantine, New Jersey, the region's fragmented flood-proofing strategies have no organizing force working to align them. This glaring omission is highlighted in a report issued last week by the Regional Plan Association (RPA), which calls for a Regional Coastal Commission (RCC) to sync up sea-level-rise mitigation across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The proposal envisions the RCC as a clearinghouse ensuring that individual strategies enhance the overall flood-proofing goals of the region as a whole. It would do this by creating common standards, coordinating local initiatives, prioritizing funding, and bringing into line the various policies of different municipalities and states. In essence, it would work the way water does: by flowing across boundaries and borders to form a cohesive body irrespective of city limits.
Amazingly, nothing even close to this currently exists. The RPA's report puts it bluntly: "There is neither a plan nor a budget for adaptation in the region." But a quick glance around should make that obvious. Some 10,000 area homes will be inundated as early as the 2030s, as will 21 percent of public housing units by 2050. There's a galaxy of unrelated initiatives, proposals and task forces tackling these problems in isolation, yet zero overarching plan to deal with it in a unified manner. Mark Lubell, who authored a report on a similar lack of climate change coordination in the San Francisco Bay Area, summed it up as a sense that "everybody's involved, but nobody is in charge."
October 25, 2017- Rising Seas Are Flooding Virginia's Naval Base, and There's No Plan to Fix It
NORFOLK, Virginia-The one-story brick firehouse at Naval Station Norfolk sits pinched between a tidal inlet and Willoughby Bay. The station houses the first responders to any emergency at the neighboring airfield. Yet when a big storm hits or the tides surge, the land surrounding it floods. Even on a sunny day this spring, with the tide out, the field beside the firehouse was filled with water.
"It's not supposed to be a pond," said Joe Bouchard, a retired captain and former base commander. "It is now."
Naval Station Norfolk, home to the Atlantic Fleet, floods not just in heavy rains or during hurricanes. It floods when the sun is shining, too, if the tide is high or the winds are right. It floods all the time.
"It is an impediment to the base accomplishing its mission," Bouchard said.
Once or twice a month, seawater subsumes steam lines that run along the bottom of the piers where the fleet's ships are moored. It bubbles up through storm drains and closes roads. "It can actually shut down operations, or make it very difficult for people to get around," Bouchard said.
Climate change poses an immediate threat to Norfolk. The seas are rising at twice the global average here, due to ocean currents and geology. Yet while the region is home to the densest collection of military facilities in the nation, the Pentagon has barely begun the hard work of adaptation. A detailed study in 2014 by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center identified about 1.5 feet of sea level rise as a "tipping point" for the base that would dramatically increase the risk of serious damage to infrastructure. But there is no plan to address this level of rise, which scientists expect within a few decades.
The city of Norfolk, which surrounds the base, is also under siege. Sections of the main road that leads to the base become impassable several times a year. Some residents check tide charts before leaving for work or parking their cars for the night.
October 22, 2017- Still Waiting for FEMA in Texas and Florida After Hurricanes
HOUSTON - Outside Rachel Roberts's house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."
It is a Halloween reminder that, for many, getting help to recover from Hurricane Harvey remains a long, uncertain journey.
"It's very frustrating," said Ms. Roberts, 44, who put together the display after waiting three weeks for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send someone to look at her flood-damaged home in southwest Houston. "I think it's beautiful how much we've all come together, and that's wonderful, but I think there's a lot of mess-ups, too."
Outside the White House this month, President Trump boasted about the federal relief efforts. "In Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus," he said. FEMA officials say that they are successfully dealing with enormous challenges posed by an onslaught of closely spaced disasters, unlike anything the agency has seen in years. But on the ground, flooded residents and local officials have a far more critical view.
According to interviews with dozens of storm victims, one of the busiest hurricane seasons in years has overwhelmed federal disaster officials. As a result, the government's response in the two biggest affected states - Texas and Florida - has been scattershot: effective in dealing with immediate needs, but unreliable and at times inadequate in handling the aftermath, as thousands of people face unusually long delays in getting basic disaster assistance.
FEMA has taken weeks to inspect damaged homes and apartments, delaying flood victims' attempts to rebuild their lives and properties. People who call the agency's help line at 1-800-621-FEMA have waited on hold for two, three or four hours before they even speak to a FEMA representative.
Nearly two months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25, and six weeks after Hurricane Irma hit Florida on Sept. 10, residents are still waiting for FEMA payments, still fuming after the agency denied their applications for assistance and still trying to resolve glitches and disputes that have slowed and complicated their ability to receive federal aid.
Brian and Monica Smith, whose home in the northern Houston suburb of Kingwood had two feet of water inside after Harvey, said they had received more help from their church, their neighbors and their relatives than from FEMA. A $500 payment from FEMA to help them with their immediate needs was delayed by three weeks. And they waited 34 days for the agency to inspect the damage to their home, pushing back repairs.
"You feel abandoned," Mr. Smith, 42, said. "You feel like it came and went, and everybody's focused on the storm in Florida and now in Puerto Rico.''
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October 20, 2017- Victims Share Lessons Learned Five Years After Sandy, But Is State Listening?
When the winds howled and the floodwaters rose as superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, it was unknown at the time just how difficult the recovery would be for many of those who were caught in the storm's path.
But now, as the five-year anniversary of Sandy's late-October 2012 landfall nears, a new report and the results of a comprehensive survey of storm victims provide a firsthand look at their challenges, shedding light on their experiences with insurance companies, building contractors, various government recovery programs, and even efforts to "claw back" some of the much-debated Sandy aid.
The survey results indicate more than 50 percent of Sandy victims who were polled said they have faced serious financial hardships, with some getting worse within just the last two years. A full 70 percent of the respondents also reported new physical ailments, mental-health problems, or existing conditions that have worsened. And more than 20 percent of the storm's survivors are still not back in their homes,
according to the report
The report and the survey were compiled by the New Jersey Resource Project, a group founded by storm survivors in October 2014. The group is also making a series of recommendations as it marks the storm's five-year anniversary, including calling for more assistance for storm victims, more help from the government to police fraudulent contractors, and an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program. Taking note of the recent hurricanes that have ravaged places like Puerto Rico and Texas, the report calls for more preparation work in New Jersey to ensure that the state is ready for future extreme weather and flooding events.
October 18, 2017- Will Climate Change Revive An Old Idea: A Regional Coastal Commission?
Could climate change lead the state to embrace an idea it shunned more than three decades ago: creation of a coastal commission?
The prospect of establishing a strong regional entity to plan and adapt to the chronic flooding and rising sea levels expected to leave much of the Jersey coast vulnerable was floated yesterday at wide-ranging conference on the Shore of the Future at the War Memorial in Trenton.
The event, the first of a series of conferences planned by New Jersey Future, found planners, conservationists, and policymakers generally agreeing that the issues posed by a changing climate far outstrip the ability of local communities to cope with and be resilient to extreme storms to come.
Former Gov. Thomas Kean initially proposed a coastal commission back in his second term in the 1980s, but it died in the Legislature, and other attempts to revive it have gotten nowhere - even after Hurricane Sandy devastated wide swaths of the coast. Kean revived the idea in an op-ed co-authored with Peter Kasabach, executive director of New Jersey Future, in the Star-Ledger this past Sunday.
With a new governor taking office in January and a sense of urgency added by a spate of destructive hurricanes this summer in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, the idea that only a regional commission can prepare for and take the steps to mitigate the impact of future storms and global warming seems to be gaining currency.
"It's time for something,'' said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society. "I don't think there's any question a regional approach is needed. That means fundamentally renegotiating our relationship with water.''
"What's really quite clear is the issues are far too big, far outstrip the ability of one or even a group of municipalities to handle. The state needs to step up,'' said David Kutner, planning manager for New Jersey Future. "It is a role New Jersey has been absent from - I daresay - for the past eight years.''
The Resilience Roundup highlights
CIRCA's presence in the news, provides links to recent local/state/national news articles related to resilience and adaptation, and announces upcoming events and seminars.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's (CIRCA) mission is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment. The institute is located at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus and includes faculty from across the university. CIRCA is a partnership between UConn and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).