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A series of strategies to help a coastal community adapt to rising sea levels

Resilient Long Beach Island Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Plan

Client
NJDEP
Location
Long Beach Island, New Jersey

As an island, the adaptation challenge comes to the Long Beach Island (LBI) community from all around; surging from its back bay and battering its ocean-side dunes; falling from the skies above. 

This project will equip LBI with the tools to respond to climate change and sea level rise by acknowledging this challenge and by forming a directional narrative and action-oriented response. The response takes shape through three distinct, directional resiliency scenarios.

  1. The Outside/In scenario focuses on interventions beyond the island’s footprint. So much of LBI’s resiliency is tied to its greater environment; the water, the ecosystems and their services that surround it. Further, there is a spirit of preservation that cannot be denied – a beloved lifestyle that engenders pride in place. Outside/In responds to this thrust by prioritizing actions that are rooted outside of and beyond island bounds. Envisioning this scenario means breaking down systems thinking to illustrate an incremental toolkit of interventions, including living shorelines, marsh accretion, and horizontal levees. But, this new landscape does not grow in isolation. It must be paired with co-benefits of, by, and for the community, and involve new recreation, habitat creation, eco-tourism, new social infrastructure.
  2. The Inside/Out scenario deals largely with interventions that can happen within LBI’s footprint, on public and private lands. It places recommendations for sustainable Island land use at the fore, as part of the effort to adapt to, rather than resist, climate change and sea level rise. This scenario equips LBI with a toolkit of strategies that, while offering changes to some of the look and functionality of the Island, provides a roadmap to a more economically, culturally, and environmentally diverse and sustainable future that the community seeks. The scalable possibilities include green streets and bioswales, rainwater detention parks, permeable pavements, and connected green infrastructure networks for slowing runoff down and spreading it out.
  3. The On/Off scenario focuses on interventions that directly address movement and mobility – of water, of people, and of ideas – with an emphasis on increased Island safety and environmental, economic, recreational viability in response to impending risks. It keys in on two types of infrastructure – physical and social – as the building blocks for realizing a more sustainable future.

Actions within this scenario consider Long Beach Boulevard (the transportation “spine” of the Island) as a central player in any transformation. Recommendations include connected systems of stormwater conveyance, raising the elevation of the Long Beach Boulevard, dynamic elevated crossings, dune surge filters, and strategic modifications to topography to direct runoff and storm surge (on-island revetments), a core of consolidated infrastructure beneath an elevated boulevard, and a string of new, public green spaces that serve dual functionality as space for people and space for nature.

For more information contact Susannah Drake.

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