State Spotlight: New Jersey
New Jersey is continuing to advance climate change adaptation and resilience across the state government. In cooperation with the seventeen agency Interagency Council on Climate Resilience, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is nearing completion of the state’s first statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy (Strategy), which includes a Coastal Resilience Plan. The Strategy will include recommendations for actions that state agencies can take to incorporate resilience into their programs, policies, and operations. It is slated for a draft public release on or near Earth Day, April 22, 2021. The DEP plans to hold an outreach and engagement campaign to hear from stakeholders after that draft release. Following the feedback period, the final Strategy will be released in the early summer of this year. The Strategy’s release follows June 2020’s completion of New Jersey’s first Scientific Report on Climate Change, a compilation of the best available science of climate impacts on the state. Both the Strategy and Scientific Report were mandated by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 89 in October 2019.
NJ is also moving forward with an ocean acidification (OA) planning initiative. Under the New Jersey Coastal Management Program (NJCMP) umbrella, the Bureaus of Climate Resilience Planning (BCRP) and Marine Water Monitoring formed NJ’s OA Team. The OA Team reached out to the NJ Climate Change Resource Center at Rutgers University to work through the process of writing NJ’s first OA Action Plan. Next steps so far have included expanding the OA Team to involve additional partners from across the NJCMP, including the Bureau of Shellfisheries, Division of Science and Research, and Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability. Rutgers and the NJ OA Team are now planning work to help fill gaps in NJ’s ocean and coastal acidification monitoring networks.
Managing New Jersey’s coastal resources is the responsibility of the NJCMP, which is comprised of a network of offices within NJDEP. The NJCMP is administered by BCRP, which is part of the NJDEP’s Climate and Flood Resilience program. BCRP staff coordinate between the various offices of the NJCMP, including the Watershed and Land Management Program, the Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring and many others. To ensure New Jersey’s interests are elevated to the regional level, BCRP staff serve as the NJDEP lead for coordinating with other MARCO states on regional coastal and ocean resource management issues.