Jersey City ‘Sandy’ Related Research Project Receives $210,000 in Federal & Regional Grants

Grant to  Help Prepare Coastal Communities for Climate Change; Funding Includes $100,000 from NOAA

JERSEY CITY SEAL LOGO JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced today the City of Jersey City has been selected by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to receive a $100,000 grant to fund a groundbreaking project that will identify flood-risk pathways into Jersey City as well as potential mitigation strategies with the Stevens Institute of Technology and the NJ Sea Grant Consortium called “Collaborative Climate Adaptation Planning for Urban Coastal Flooding.”

In addition to the NOAA grant, the City of Jersey City also received funding from Together North Jersey for $110,000 to supplement the work of the NOAA grant with visualizations and data collection for a cost-benefit analysis.  The NOAA grant is one of four given out nationally and total funding for the project is $210,000.

“Hurricane Sandy proved how damaging and costly coastal storms can be, with the capability of causing tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in damages and destroying entire neighborhoods,” said Mayor Fulop.  “We are pleased NOAA selected Jersey City in partnership with the Stevens Institute of Technology to conduct this important study which will have long-range impacts not only on Jersey City but also on coastal communities throughout the region.”

As the second-most populated city in New Jersey with 43 percent of its land within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100 year flood zones, Jersey City has taken the initiative of collaborating with coastal flooding scientists to lay out a plan to leverage existing storm surge modeling to quantify the performance of a set of protective measures including a variety of grey and green options such as storm surge barriers, deployable barriers, and wetlands.

According to NOAA, priority was placed on those projects that best identified and addressed vulnerabilities a coastal community may face adapting to climate change and that would produce demonstrable results by the end of the project period.

The overall goal of the project is to improve Jersey City’s capacity to adapt to coastal flooding from storms and climate change.  The diverse and experienced project team assembled to carry out this set of objectives includes physical oceanographers, coastal flooding specialists, city planners, a sustainability expert, and scientists with broad experience in communicating flood risks to the general public.

The primary scientific objectives include:

To provide basic information on flooding for JC planners – flood zone maps for the 2050s decade with climate change and map animations showing flood water pathways

Work with a team of Jersey City partners to develop a set of realistic coastal adaption options that prevent or reduce future flooding from storm surges and sea level rise

Utilize storm surge modeling to evaluate each coastal adaptation, as well as how sea level rise and climate change will affect performance

Transfer our knowledge more broadly around our region – write a report, publish the research in a peer-reviewed journal, and have a regional stakeholder meeting

Preliminary findings from the study are expected to be released in April or May of 2014.

Additionally, a Jersey City Resiliency Task Force, comprised of various departments and agencies, will be trained by U.S. Green Building Council-New Jersey Chapter to be able to assist in this process.

The JC Resiliency Task Force will work with Dr. Philip Orton, research scientist at Stevens, who will lead the modeling effort which will generate flood zone maps that account for future sea level rise and storm climatology changes including map animations of how floodwaters enter Jersey City to help understand how the pathways can be blocked, as well as a set of coastal adaptation options and assessment of their performance with future climate change.

Mayor Fulop also praised Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Albio Sires for their leadership in Washington to deliver Sandy-related funding for both research and rebuilding to Jersey City and New Jersey.

The other three projects selected for NOAA funding were: Reducing Flooding Vulnerability of Chicago Critical Facilities, Illinois Indiana Sea Grant; Implementing Comprehensive Community Planning in St. Mary’s, GA and Hyde County, NC – Georgia Sea Grant and North Carolina Sea Grant; and Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment for Coastal Communities-University of California Sea Grant.

All media inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Morrill, Press Secretary for the City of Jersey City, at 201-547-4836 or 201-376-0699./////