RESILIENT NORTHEASTERN NJ ACTION PLAN RELEASED FOR COMMENT, A CRITICAL STEP IN BUILDING RESILIENT COMMUNITIES IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Resilient Northeastern NJ seeks community input on the draft Action Plan for an impactful, long-term climate adaptation strategy.
Ten years ago, Hurricane Sandy cost an estimated $30 billion across all of New Jersey. With rising sea level, a storm with a similar track and intensity to Sandy could bring similar losses to just the cities of Jersey City, Newark, Hoboken, and Bayonne, combined. This estimate is one of the outcomes of the Resilient Northeastern NJ program, a regional coalition made up of leaders from the four cities, Hudson County, Ironbound Community Corporation, and HOPES Community Action Partnership, with support from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and a team of technical experts.
Since Spring of 2021, the Resilient Northeastern NJ team has been engaging communities to develop a regional Action Plan to build off ongoing work and chart a more resilient future. This plan considers hazards caused or exacerbated by climate change, making sure the most vulnerable residents are an integral part of the decision making.
Community members steered the planning process and are now encouraged to provide feedback on the draft Action Plan for a 30-day comment period that ends October 23. The draft Action Plan is available at www.resilient.nj.gov/nenj. Resilient Northeastern NJ is accepting feedback via the feedback form (tinyurl.com/NENJ-action-plan-feedback), email at ResilientNENJ@dep.nj.gov, voice message at 201-275-0861, and social media (@resilientNENJ on Facebook and Twitter and @resilient_nenj on Instagram).
In addition to coastal storm surge, the diverse region of over 700,000 people is threatened by stormwater flooding and an array of other climate-related challenges like extreme heat, poor air quality, and contamination. As the planet warms with climate change, it will hold more moisture. Flooding from a heavy rain event could cost up to $5.9 billion based on Resilient Northeastern NJ estimates using new models developed by NJDEP. Climate change is also expected to bring higher frequency and intensity of heat waves to the region, which in turn can exacerbate hazards from air pollutants such as ozone.
Although considerable strides have been made to address these challenges, significant additional resources and funds are needed across the region over the coming decades. The draft Action Plan recommends a variety of projects, policy changes, and programs to address the unique challenges of the region while empowering and involving community members and youth. The plan’s themes of ease, protect, connect, thrive, and regenerate acknowledge the density of the region and its value to the broader economy, as well as the need to honor the expertise of and prioritize the most at-risk people.
Through the planning process, Resilient Northeastern NJ has already begun to take critical next steps, such as preparing several successful funding applications, coordinating with state and local policy-makers to update and streamline policies, and creating youth and other engagement materials that are available on the program’s website. Resilient Northeastern NJ will release a final Action Plan in October, and community members are encouraged to stay involved and continue to monitor the program’s website at www.resilient.nj.gov/nenj.
About Resilient Northeastern NJ
Resilient Northeastern NJ is a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection, Jersey City, Newark, Hoboken, Bayonne, Hudson County, Ironbound Community Corporation, and HOPES CAP. The partnership aims to provide a clear roadmap for ensuring long-term social, environmental, and economic vitality by increasing climate resilience. Resilient Northeastern NJ is a collaborative effort between partners and the people who live, work, and play in the region designed to ensure equitable and impactful outcomes. Additional information about the partnership and project can be found at www.resilient.nj.gov/nenj.