Meetings Scheduled to Discuss Ways to Make Tuckerton, Little Egg Harbor More Storm-Resistant

Apr 07, 2015
Photo by: Pat Johnson A tractor that can traverse marshland is parked on Little Egg Harbor Boulevard in Tuckerton Beach.

Residents and interested parties from the Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton borough area are invited to the first of three meetings to review the findings of an analysis that evaluated where the towns are most vulnerable to future flooding and storm events. The first meeting is planned for Tuesday, April 14, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Little Egg Harbor Community Center, 319 West Calabreeze Way.

New Jersey Future, a nonprofit organization and advocate for responsible planning, has worked with Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton officials for the last 18 months to help community leaders understand the future flooding risks they are likely to face. A detailed risk analysis has been prepared for both communities, evaluating where the towns are most vulnerable, and exploring strategies to help the towns and their residents better respond to future storms and rising sea levels.

Superstorm Sandy highlighted vulnerabilities faced by New Jersey’s coastal and bayfront communities. The series of three public meetings is titled “Planning for Little Egg’s and Tuckerton’s Coastal Future.” The follow-up meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, at the same time, and Saturday, June 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants in the meeting series will learn not only about vulnerabilities, but also about options for responding to future risk. The three sessions will address different topics, and residents are encouraged to attend all three.

Rising sea levels have already increased the frequency and magnitude of regular, “nuisance” flooding that occurs today. It is likely these conditions will contribute further to and increase the severity of flood risk into the future, particularly during storm events that frequently threaten New Jersey’s coastline. These factors make thoughtful planning and preparation essential if coastal areas are to minimize or avoid the type of devastation caused by Sandy.

One of the strategies to make the area more resilient and currently under consideration is to develop ways to protect the marshes. The extensive salt-water marshes protect the communities by absorbing wave action and reducing water velocity. Developing strategies to protect the marshes, expand them, and assist them in the battle to keep pace with rising sea levels is a critical component of a resiliency program. To that end, New Jersey Future successfully obtained a $2.13 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to dredge the lagoons and apply excavated materials to elevate the marsh to ensure its long-term vitality.

The upcoming meetings, which will be led by New Jersey Future local recovery planning manager Leah Yasenchak, will highlight other strategies also being considered.

New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings together concerned citizens and leaders to promote responsible land-use policies. The organization employs original research, analysis and advocacy to build coalitions and drive land-use policies that help revitalize cities and towns, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods and fuel a prosperous economy. More recently, New Jersey Future has expanded its work to include local engagement and implementation, most notably in Sandy-affected communities. —P.J.

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