on Nov 14, 2011
Sustainable Jersey has formed a Task Force to help municipalities anticipate and prepare for the
impacts of climate change and other natural disasters. More information, including our initial
guidance documents, is available on our website here.
Going forward the Task Force is working on a slate of actions that will lead communities
through a vulnerability and preparedness self assessment, and a set of steps to mitigate these
potential threats. The first new Sustainable Jersey “Climate Adaptation Actions” will include an
on-line planning tool and self assessment checklist for coastal and inland flooding. We anticipate
releasing the final version of the Action in early 2013. In the future we anticipate adding other
impacts such as heat, public health, and drought.
New Jersey has already begun to experience the initial effects of a changing climate, including
increasing temperatures, variations in precipitation and a rising sea; and it is expected that these
impacts will become more pronounced over the next several decades. Each of these impacts has
the potential to threaten the public health of New Jersey residents, as well as the ecology and
economy of State. Municipalities and local governments are often the first line of defense in
dealing with these impacts. Recognizing that municipalities and local governments will need
appropriate information, tools and resources to effectively address these impacts; Sustainable
Jersey formed a Climate Adaptation Task Force (CATF) to develop ways for towns to earn
“Adaptation” points toward meeting their certification goals.
Adapting to a changing climate encompasses a broad range of issues, including seemingly
disparate issues such as public health, downtown revitalization projects, and flood insurance
rates. The CATF has brainstormed on many of these issues already, and determined that some
initial education of communities about climate adaptation was a necessary first step in insuring
that all the communities had a baseline understanding of the expected changes to New Jersey’s
climate system and the challenges those changes present to New Jersey communities. Two
documents developed by the CATF, and recently posted on Sustainable Jersey’s webpage (in the
Resources/Publications section -see link above) strive to provide that critical information. One
provides a glossary of terms as they are commonly used in the climate vernacular, while the other gives a state and local perspective on changes already happening to New Jersey climate
system, as well as projections of future changes.
The Climate Adaptation Task Force is Co-Chaired by Christine Schell of the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection and Randy Solomon of The College of New Jersey
(and Sustainable Jersey). We would like to thank the Delaware Valley Regional Planning
Commission, The State Climatologist David Robinson, The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine
Research and Reserve, The Barnegat Bay Partnership, the NJDEP Coastal Management Office,
and the rest of the task force, for their tremendous contributions to the ongoing work.
For full press release, click here.