Storms have punished the New Jersey coastline for decades. Notable events in recent memories include Ida in 2009, Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012. Hurricane Sandy was the fifth most costly Atlantic hurricane in history with over $60 billion in damages. Sea level rise, powerful and more frequent storms and intense precipitation events are projected to become worse over time. This changing climate landscape has created a sense of urgency for coastal communities to become more resilient to future events.
One of the results of these concerns is the Resilient NJ program – a $10 million initiative by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to promote risk assessment, planning and implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities in the state of New Jersey for future storms and other extreme weather events.
As part of the program, Pennoni’s planning and urban design group is teamed with a multidisciplinary group of planners, engineers, climate scientists and engagement specialists on the Resilient Long Beach Island (LBI) project. Working alongside local leadership, businesses, residents and property owners, the team is helping to document future potential impacts and to identify a shared vision for a resilient barrier island.
The first stages of this are engaging local leadership and community residents through interactive exercises that illustrate design and land use responses to anticipated storms and flooding. Options range from low impact to transformative and these exercises allow the community to indicate preferred approaches based on their comfort with risk, level of concern and relative costs.
The team is using the gathered information to prepare a detailed action plan. This includes the implementation of designed projects and regulatory changes that will address current and future climate impacts across the Long Beach Island. While exact impacts are unknown, team climate specialists are using predictive modeling to better understand how communities will be impacted. Using both climate data and stakeholder feedback, the team is developing a series of planning recommendations that will help the community plan for a better future.
Recommendations will be completed in 2022. For more information, please reach out to Senior Planner Mark Keener, AIA, AICP, PP, RA or Principal Planner Bob Melvin, AICP, PP at BMelvin@Pennoni.com.