Urban Coast Institute Associate Director Thomas Herrington was honored with the Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Region’s Outstanding Outreach Award for his work helping residents and government officials in Ocean City, New Jersey, find solutions for chronic nuisance flooding in the community.
The award was presented during the Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant Region’s annual meeting, held virtually in October. Herrington serves as the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s coastal community resilience specialist.
The project was carried out through the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) program, which pairs scientists with local communities to solve problems on a pro bono basis. The barrier island community has seen flooding increase in frequency and severity over the years, to a point where high tides can cause disruptions and damage without rain. Herrington, an Ocean City native, worked with members of a grassroots community flooding group to examine the source and causes of the flooding and identify long-term solutions that would remain effective in the face of sea level rise and the more intense storms wrought by climate change.
Herrington trained local residents to conduct citizen science work and pool their data using an app developed by iSeeChange. Through use of the app, Herrington was able to compare the information with federal data and investigate the source of flooding, its frequency, and location. Click here to read more about the group’s collaboration with iSeeChange.
In its nomination, New Jersey Sea Grant noted, “Through his efforts, the community and local government increased their knowledge on the complexity of the flooding events residents are currently experiencing.” The document added that Herrington’s work could serve as a model for researchers and extension agents at Sea Grant programs throughout the country.
“The data collected by the citizens is helping the community see that rainfall runoff combined with high tide levels is the major contributor to street flooding and has prompted a discussion of ways to reduce rainfall runoff into the storm sewer system,” Herrington said.
Visit the project page on the Thriving Earth Exchange website for more information, including a detailed overview, research documents, partner profiles and news coverage.
The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) hosted a webinar on Oct. 23 which explored the implications and implementation of new statewide rules that call for the use of green infrastructure to reduce pollution and flooding caused by stormwater runoff. A video of the session is posted above and presenter slides can be found below. The webinar was organized in partnership with Clean Ocean Action, the Deal Lake Watershed Alliance, the Jersey Shore Group – New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, Long Branch Green Team and the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association.
A cornerstone of the amended New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) stormwater standards is the requirement for permit applicants to use green infrastructure (such as rain gardens, bioretention basins and green roofs) rather than more traditional engineered structures to reduce stormwater runoff and achieve water quality goals. The NJDEP announced the measures in the spring and set a March 2021 deadline for municipalities to reflect the changes in their local ordinances and provide the appropriate training for their engineers and review staffs.
UCI Associate Director Dr. Thomas Herrington moderated a panel that included one of the NJDEP officials who helped craft the regulations and stormwater experts from throughout the state. The following are the panelists, their discussion topics and slides:
Non-Point Pollution Control – Gabe Mahon, Bureau Chief, NJDEP Division of Water Quality. Slides: PDF, 1 MB
Enhanced Provisions to the Model Ordinance – Mike Pisauro, Esq, The Watershed Institute. Slides: PDF, 1 MB
Green Infrastructure Examples – Chris Obropta, Extension Specialist in Water Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Slides: PDF, 8 MB
Stormwater Utility Defined – James Cosgrove Jr., PE, Vice President, Kleinfelder, Inc. Slides: PDF, 2 MB
Special Presentation: Green Stormwater Infrastructure for New Jersey
Obropta also delivered an hourlong presentation in the morning that provided a more detailed look at green infrastructure options that can be used by developers and municipalities. The session was moderated by Faith Teitlebaum of the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association. Click here to download slides from the presentation (PDF, 20 MB).
The Urban Coast Institute hosted the online lecture “The Ocean-Climate Action Plan: Building the Blue Economy for the 21st Century” with Dr. Jason Scorse on Oct. 21. Scorse discussed key projects that he is working on in food systems and ocean and coastal policy and why the International Environmental Policy program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterrey is unique.
Click here to download slides from the presentation (PDF, 1 MB).
About the Speaker
Dr. Jason Scorse completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkeley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he became a full-time faculty member of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Professor Scorse teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and behavioral economics. In 2009, he was promoted to the Chair of the International Environmental Policy Program, and in 2011, he became the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy, which provides “leadership in research, education, and analysis to promote a sustainable ocean and coastal economy.” Professor Scorse’s book, What Environmentalists Need to Know About Economics, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010. In his spare time, Professor Scorse longboards, cooks gourmet vegan food, and writes fiction for when he starts his new career after we’ve solved all of the world’s great environmental challenges.
A buoy programmed to transmit real-time data on waves and temperatures at sea was recently deployed about 13 miles east of Barnegat Bay from Monmouth University’s R/VHeidi Lynn Sculthorpe.
The buoy joined a national network of stations operated by the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP), based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to provide coastal engineers and planners, scientists, mariners and the public with a wealth of data that can inform their research and decision-making. Among the parameters being measured are average wave heights, the distance between waves and the direction of their movement. A live feed sharing data from the buoy is now available on the CDIP website.
The buoy’s location fills an important gap for researchers, according to Urban Coast Institute Associate Director Thomas Herrington. The nearest stations of its kind, all maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are located off Long Island, at the entrance to New York Harbor and offshore of the Delaware Bay.
“The Jersey Shore sees very different wave fields than, say, North Carolina or even Delaware because Long Island Sound, Long Island itself and New England act as a natural breakwater for waves coming from the northeast,” Herrington said. “So the wave climate we have off New York Harbor is very different than the wave climate we have off Cape May. This buoy is really important to understanding what’s going on off our coast.”
UCI Marine Scientist Jim Nickels, Field Operations Assistant Mitchell Mickley and Monmouth University student Bryce McCall placed the buoy and its 1,100-pound anchor just inside the southern reach of the zone that separates the Barnegat-Ambrose shipping lanes, among the busiest maritime corridors in the country. It was a job the Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe was born to do – the vessel was originally built as a U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender.
Funding for the deployment came from Scripps through the Army Corps of Engineers, which relies on the CDIP data to evaluate the performance of coastal projects ranging from beach replenishment to the dredging of channels.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) is studying the data as part of an effort to more accurately model wave heights in the region. Depending on wind direction the waves near the coast can be drastically different from waves reported by NOAA buoys which are located farther offshore. The CDIP buoy provides a nearshore wave measurement to validate the high frequency radar-derived wave heights. MARACOOS also provides a free and publicly accessible feed from the buoy on its portal OceansMap.
The Monmouth University Institute for Global Understanding (IGU) and Urban Coast Institute (UCI) kicked off their 2020 Global Ocean Governance Lecture Series on Oct. 12 with Dr. Wil Burns, co-executive director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University. Burns delivered a lecture titled, “Antacids for the Sea: The Potential Role of Ocean Alkalinization Enhancement in Combating Climate Change.” Click here to download slides (PDF, 2 MB) or here for information about additional lectures in the series.
It is becoming increasingly clear that achievement of the Paris Agreement’s temperature targets will require both aggressive policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and large-scale deployment of so-called “carbon dioxide removal” options, i.e. processes that remove carbon from the atmosphere to reduce radiative forcing. While much of the early research in this context focused on terrestrial options, scalability and sustainability issues have led to increasing interest in ocean-based approaches. This presentation focuses on one of the more promising options: ocean alkalinization enhancement, which seeks to enhance storage of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans through the addition of limestone or other substances. The presentation will examine the potential effectiveness of this approach, potential risks to ocean ecosystems, and avenues for international governance.
Dr. Wil Burns is a Professor of Research and Founding Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University in Washington, DC. Prior to this, he served as the Founding Co-Executive Director of the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment at American, Director of the Energy Policy & Climate program at Johns Hopkins University, and Assistant Secretary of State for Policy for the state of Wisconsin.
He also serves as the Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law Section of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Previously, he served as President of the Association of Environmental Studies & Sciences and was the 2019 recipient of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Scholarship and Service in the field. His research agenda includes: climate geoengineering, climate loss and damage, and the effectiveness of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. He received his Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law and is the author of more than 80 publications.