TRENTON, NJ — Taking an inventory of projects that protect New Jersey's shoreline is a major goal of measure proposed in the state Legislature.

Assemblywomen Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) and Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) have sponsored a bill that has been passed in the Assembly requiring the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update the New Jersey Shore Protection Master Plan.

“It is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure the beautiful property and infrastructure down the shore maintains its viability,” said Downey, “We have suffered through some brutally destructive storms over the past several years, partially due to climate change, and the creation of managerial lists will allow us to effectively and efficiently protect our shoreline properties from coastal storm damage, erosion and rising sea levels."

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An identical bill has been introduced by Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) in the state Senate, where it is being considered by the budget and appropriations committee

Under both bills, the DEP would have to include the following updates within two years of the law's passage:

  • A comprehensive list of the shore protection projects undertaken in New Jersey since the establishment of the Shore Protection Fund.
  • A list of all current and ongoing shore protection projects in the state.
  • A list of all currently planned shore protection projects anticipated to be undertaken in the state within the next five years.
  • A list of any request by a local government unit for a shore protection project that was denied funding from the Shore Protection Fund.
  • A five-year capital program for beach protection facilities, projects and programs.
  • An evaluation of land use management alternatives, including land acquisition, as a means of risk reduction as part of the department’s planning and implementation of shore protection projects.
  • Consideration and prioritization of the use of natural and nature-based approaches to hazard and risk reduction.
  • An enforceable plan for the protection, expansion and enhancement of meaningful public access to the shoreline and public trust lands throughout New Jersey, including the development of necessary support facilities to ensure equitable access to public trust lands.

DEP will consult with experts in coastal zone and shoreline management in the development of the update to the plan.

Each project listed in the plan would include a description of the project, including its location, scope, purpose, impact, estimated cost, estimated construction schedule and sponsors.

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