New Jersey Resilient Coastal Communities Initiative: Case Studies

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Management Program developed the Resilient Coastal Communities Initiative (RCCI) to provide New Jersey’s coastal communities with climate impact assessments, adaptation planning assistance and technical support. The RCCI created a standardized vulnerability assessment tool as well as a self-assessment for municipalities to connect preparedness and planning to adaptation opportunities. The RCCI also provides policy, regulatory, and management recommendations for building resilience. RCCI case studies report on the post-Hurricane Sandy “Getting to Resilience” process (GTR) undertaken by seven municipalities along the New Jersey coast to inform decision-making and adaptation planning. A recommendations report prepared by the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JC NERR) for each community is provided.

The Resilient Coastal Communities Initiative case studies profile the municipalities of: 

  • Upper Township
  • Borough of Atlantic Highlands
  • City of Perth Amboy
  • Township of Toms River
  • Borough of South Toms River
  • City of Somers Point
  • Maurice River Township

Planners, managers, and decision-makers from the seven case study communities completed the GTR questionnaire composed of five sections: Risk and Vulnerability Assessments, Public Engagement, Planning Integration, Disaster Preparedness and Recovery, and Hazard Mitigation Implementation. The recommendations are based on JC NERR analyses of GTR answers, municipal plans and ordinances, as well as risk, hazards, and vulnerability maps provided by Rutgers University and the NJFloodmapper tool.

Many of the recommendations in the case study reports are connected to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)’s Community Rating System (CRS). CRS is a voluntary insurance rating program that recognizes communities for implementing floodplain management practices that exceed the Federal minimum requirements of the NFIP. In exchange for flood risk reduction, policyholders can receive reduced flood insurance premiums. Examples of recommendations with potential to gain CRS credit found in these case studies include to:

  • Provide outreach to educate the public on flood zones, risk, and updated flood maps 
  • Have city municipal officials participate in FEMA training courses
  • Incorporate resiliency measures into municipal plans, strategies, and ordinances 
  • Update wastewater and stormwater management plans and facilities
  • Create a shoreline management plan that addresses erosion hazards
  • Restore natural floodplains
  • Include sea level rise in hazard disclosures and begin long-term planning for sea level rise with recommendations to:


Publication Date: 2015

Related Organizations:

  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Case study

States Affected:


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