A number of our affiliates are involved in a project funded through New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium to study the socio-economic impacts of climate change on the New Jersey coast. Blending economic geography. sea-level-rise modeling, geographic visualization, and outreach to municipalities, this project will culminate in a set of tools available to all of New Jersey's coastal communities.
Title: Economic Vulnerability to Climate Change on the Jersey Shore: Promoting Adaptation, Resilience and Sustainability in Coastal New Jersey
Principal Investigator: Robin Leichenko
Check back on this page for previews of the sea-level rise viewer developed by Rick Lathrop and the staff of the Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis (CRSSA). This tool will be augmented with economic vulnerability data collected by Robin Leichenko and Melanie McDermott. It will be piloted in two case-study communities together with a resiliency planning tool. Lisa Auermuller of the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and Sea Grant extension agents wil lead this outreach activity.
The economic costs of climate change impacts and adaptation are of growing concern for coastal communities in New Jersey. While prior studies have estimated the aggregate economic costs of sea-level rise as the result of climate change, there is only limited knowledge of the broader suite of economic vulnerabilities associated with climate change impacts in coastal communities, as well as the costs associated with a range of adaptation options. Within New Jersey, pressing questions for coastal communities include the economic value of the assets and businesses at risk from sea level rise and coastal storms, as well as options for adaptation, and costs associated with various strategies. Answers to these questions are critical to promote sustainable coastal development and to ensure that coastal communities are prepared for sea level rise and other climate-related hazards.
This project, which received initial funding support from the Barnegat Bay Partnership, is investigating economic vulnerability to climate change in coastal New Jersey, options for adaptation, and mechanisms for incorporating vulnerability and adaptation data into community-level plans. The research focuses on the six-county region that encompasses central and southern coastal New Jersey including areas of Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Burlington counties, and will include case studies of two communities in Ocean County. The broader scientific goals of the project are to contribute to understanding of economic vulnerability to climate change in coastal communities and to identify adaptation options that will enhance local economic resilience to climate change. These goals will be achieved via development of community economic vulnerability profiles, stakeholder-based assessment of key climate impacts and adaptation options, and cost-benefit assessment of these options.
User Involvement and Benefits of the Project: The key benefit of the project is to enhance the capacity of coastal communities to prepare for and adapt to climate change. This benefit will be achieved through extension activities including development of decision-support tools, resilience training sessions, and a workshop that will aid coastal decision makers in taking action to promote adaptation. Representatives from municipal, county, and state officials and non-profit environmental and economic development organizations within New Jersey will be involved in the research and extension components of the study. Coastal decision makers at the state, county and municipal levels will work with the project team to identify key economic vulnerabilities and adaptation options for coastal communities across the six county study region. Two coastal communities will be involved in the resilience training sessions.