Turning to Nature to Address Coastal Erosion

The Takeaway: NOAA grant used for Nature Conservancy initiative.

After Superstorm Sandy, people started rethinking how coastal resources are managed. Using a NOAA grant, The Nature Conservancy launched the New Jersey Resilient Coastlines Initiative, with a focus on nature-based solutions for erosion and flooding.

Various organizations and experts came together to solidify smart policies and obtain the tools, training, and information needed to make the region more resilient. The Restoration Explorer tool was developed to help communities find the right nature-based solutions (living shorelines, restored oyster reefs and beaches, and other approaches). Another positive development: the community resource guide explores potential and existing living shoreline projects within 19 coastal communities. A “future habitat” application was also created to help people visualize areas of salt marsh most likely to succumb to sea level rise by 2050, which is useful to know when prioritizing marsh restoration and enhancement efforts.

More than one community member said they would have moved forward with a bulkhead, which is usually easier and quicker to design and permit in New Jersey, were it not for this project. Demonstrating the impact of a living shoreline, and providing communities with helpful information, is making nature-based solutions more likely. (2017)

Partners: American Littoral Society, Barnegat Bay Partnership, NOAA, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology, The Nature Conservancy