New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation Menu
NJCF Homepage Contact Us Donate Events Search NJCF
New Jersey Land Conservation Organization
Donate to New Jersey Conservation Foundation
State We're In New Jersey Conservation Foundation Blog
Sea level rise and New Jersey: Not perfect together

Street flooding is not unusual in New Jersey’s coastal towns, especially during high tides, heavy rains, on-shore winds and full moons.

But coastal residents are noticing more frequent flooding than in past years. In some places, sea and bay waters spill over the roads at high tide, even on clear days with little wind.

New research shows that the sea level is rising at faster-than-anticipated speeds. This is due to both sea level rise and land slowly sinking (an occurrence known as subsidence).

New Jersey hasn’t always been the same peanut-shaped land mass. Throughout the Earth’s history, sea level has fluctuated and the location of the coastline in this state we’re in has shifted. New Jersey would have been unrecognizable!

About 145 million years ago, the Atlantic coast ran from Perth Amboy to Trenton. Sixty-five million years ago a shallow sea covered southern New Jersey, from roughly Asbury Park to Salem. That’s why sand, shells and fossilized aquatic creatures can be found far inland from today’s coast. When you hike in the Pine Barrens, you are walking on the ocean floor of only a few million years past!

Much more recently – 20,000 years ago – a great ice sheet extended as far south as northern New Jersey. Because much of Earth’s water was frozen in glaciers, the Atlantic coastline was located about 75 miles east its current location out in the sea. As the ice sheets melted, sea level began rising again.

Around 3,000 years ago, according to the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, sea level stabilized near its current level. During the years 1 through 1800 AD, sea level in New Jersey rose only six inches per century.

But things are speeding up.  Measurements taken at bedrock locations in Bayonne, Trenton and Camden show that sea level in New Jersey rose by 12 inches in the 20th century, double the previous rate.   And at the Jersey shore, sea level rose 16 inches!

According to Rutgers scientists, it’s likely that New Jersey’s coastal areas will experience sea level rise between 12 and 22 inches by 2050. Under a worst-case scenario, these communities could see the sea-level rise as much as 2.8 feet by 2050.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, over the next thirty years - the lifetime of a typical home mortgage - more than 62,000 residential properties will experience chronic flooding two times a month or more. Coastal cities, particularly those on our barrier islands, will be most affected but residences along inland waterways will also experience regular flooding.

Several organizations are working to find ways for New Jerseyans to prepare for this change. The Regional Plan Association released its Fourth Regional plan which recommends that officials in the tri-state area accelerate efforts to adapt to a changing climate – by moving development away from vulnerable coastal areas.

“Today, more than a million people and 650,000 jobs are at risk from flooding, along with critical infrastructure such as power plants, rail yards, and water-treatment facilities,” according to the plan. “By 2050, nearly two million people and one million jobs would be threatened.”

The Fourth Regional Plan also recommends a tri-state regional coastal planning commission.

Assemblyman Reed Gusicora introduced a bill in March that would establish a 19-member New Jersey Coastal Commission to plan for major projects and decisions related to shore protection in Atlantic, Cape May, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

The coastal commission concept was first proposed by former Gov. Thomas Kean decades ago, without success. But with the inevitability of sea level rise it’s a good time to revisit this concept. Gusicora’s bill is now before the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

To read the Rutgers sea level rise study, go to

To read the Regional Plan Association report, go to

To read the Union of Concerned Scientists recent report, go to

And for information about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at



Hard cider in the Garden State

Turkey Time

American shad return to New Jersey river after 173 years

Act now to avoid worst climate impacts

NJ Natural Lands Trust celebrates 50 years

Must love bats!

Move and improve your health!

Renewable energy: Save money and our land, water, air and health

Speak up for endangered species!

Save the bugs!

Check out New Jersey's fall bird migration

A little bit of respect...for native plants!

Explore New Jersey's wildflower meadows

All aboard floating classrooms

Catch the Perseids meteor shower!

Check out the 'fun' in fungi

Too hot to think? Studies shows heat affects your brain

Love NJ's outdoors? Take action now!

New Jersey's official reptile, the bog turtle

Sea level rise and New Jersey: Not perfect together

These New Jersey plants have an appetite for insects

Explore the Pine Barrens through paddles, hikes and tours

Like to jog? 'Plog' instead and keep NJ clean

Love Jersey fruit? Thank our native pollinators!

Good news for globally rare swamp pink lilies

Say cheese! Remote cameras aid wildlife research

Begone, single-use plastic bags!

3,000 birds and counting for 'bluebird grandfather'

The Pine Barrens gets some help from its friends

A clean energy future for New Jersey

Cowtown and rare grassland birds, perfect together

Fight light pollution during International Dark Sky Week

New film tells story of how Petty's Island was saved

Ten years of nipping invasive species in the bud

Welcome spring in a county park

Go for a walk and feel better!

Grab a friend and go outside

Recycle your way to zero waste!

Last call for winter wildlife watching on Jersey coast

Without its 'understory' layer, the forest will collapse

From whale songs to poetry, a remarkable journey

A cleaner, greener New Jersey

Let's keep New Jersey the Garden State, not the Pipeline State

New Jersey's winter hikes

'Trees don't vote' but Byrne saved Pine Barrens anyway

Governor-elect Murphy should set new course on the environment

Protect soils to keep the garden in our state

Clean, plentiful water is New Jersey's lifeblood

A breath of fresh air for New Jersey?

Keep Liberty State Park free and open


November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


New Jersey Conservation Foundation on FacebookNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on TwitterNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on FlickrNew Jersey Conservation Foundation YouTube ChannelShare      
New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE