Close Close

Coastal Community Resilience Initiative

Although the floodwaters have long since subsided and the debris cleared, the recovery from Superstorm Sandy is far from over for the Jersey Shore. Much work remains to harden our waterfront areas and revise emergency plans so our communities can withstand and respond more effectively to the next major storm. The UCI is dedicated to providing the scientific expertise for communities to meet these challenges.

The UCI Coastal Community Resilience Initiative (CCRI) takes a collaborative approach to community and ecosystem resilience that:

  1. brings scientists, local decision-makers, citizens and policy experts together to enable the co-production of coastal climate-related resilience and adaptation solutions and equitable access to and distribution of benefits;
  2. provides information and resources to develop and implement local resilience projects; and
  3. conducts applied research to advance knowledge and communication of coastal resilience actions that increase the capacity of communities to identify solutions, withstand and recover from disruptions, and adapt to changing environmental conditions.

The CCRI is led by UCI Associate Director Dr. Thomas Herrington, who also serves as the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s resilient communities and economies specialist. The CCRI focuses on providing community resilience and planning support for disadvantaged communities, promoting the development of natural features and green infrastructure to improve the resilience of communities and ecosystems, and working with other Monmouth University partners and outside experts to advance elements of the New Jersey Coastal Resilience Plan.

See below for information on recent CCRI projects and UCI activities related to community resilience and climate adaptation.

Resources & Recent Activities

  • A tide gauge installed for Long Beach Township by the UCI will help determine how climate change is influencing water levels in the vicinity. (April 2024)
  • The UCI will collaborate with government, academic and nonprofit entities on coastal resilience projects in Newark, Ventnor, Long Beach Twp., and salt marsh areas around New Jersey with NFWF grant support. (December 2023)
  • With $1.5 million in state funding, the UCI has established a team of universities called the New Jersey Coastal Consortium for Resilient Communities (NJCCRC) to identify research needs and fill knowledge gaps that enable the state and communities to make more informed decisions on coastal resilience actions and respond to climate threats. (December 2023)
  • UCI Director Tony MacDonald participated as an official observer at the U.N. COP28 climate summit in Dubai in December 2023. He also attended the 2022 COP27 climate conference in Portugal, the COP26 summit in Scotland and co-organized an Oceans Day at the historic 2015 COP21 event in Paris.
  • Meredith Comi, an expert in designing, implementing and directing aquaculture, oyster restoration and living shoreline projects, was named the UCI’s coastal resilience and restoration practitioner (August 2023).
  • The UCI will lead two federally funded projects that bolster resilience to extreme coastal storm and flooding events in Naval Weapon Station Earle and its surrounding communities and help economically disadvantaged New Jersey municipalities improve their resilience and readiness for climate threats. (April 2022)
  • The UCI will serve on a team that has received a National Coastal Resilience Fund grant to develop a restoration plan for marsh islands in Barnegat Bay that can improve the system’s ecological health and protect nearby communities from flooding, coastal storms and climate threats. (December 2021)
  • UCI 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 (October 2020).
  • The UCI and NJDEP completed a report that offers guidance for determining the appropriate type and location of green infrastructure projects designed to improve coastal resilience (July 2020).
  • UCI Director Tony MacDonald is the current co-chair of the New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative and Associate Director Tom Herrington serves on its leadership committee.
  • An April 2019 Climate Change, Coasts & Communities symposium featured leading experts in climate change adaptation law and science to discuss lessons learned from other states and countries to assist New Jersey in navigating these challenges.
  • A Monmouth University Poll showed growing concerns by Americans about the threat of climate change.
  • MacDonald co-authored the Fourth National Climate Assessment’s chapter covering the Northeast, released in December 2018.
  • The NJDEP launched work on a comprehensive plan to make coastal areas more resilient to the impacts of severe storms and sea level rise at a New Jersey Coastal Resilience Summit, hosted on campus by the UCI in October 2018.
  • A webinar hosted by Herrington focused on how sand and sediments from dredge projects can be reused to improve coastal resilience. He prepared a guide summarizing best practices and case studies for this Regional Sediment Management approach in the Mid-Atlantic (May 2018).
  • The UCI was a partner in the MARCO-led “Planning for a Changing Ocean” project, which examined the implications to Mid-Atlantic economies from trends such as climate change, increased acidification of coastal and ocean waters, and shifting marine life habitats. The project culminated with the release of the report Climate Change Vulnerabilities in the Coastal Mid-Atlantic Region in May 2018.
  • Monmouth U. students and UCI staff conducted research for Monmouth County/FEMA as part of a post-Sandy/Irene High-Water Mark Initiative.
  • The UCI prepared the 2016 policy paper Recommendations for Resilient Coastal Communities in New Jersey as part of the NJDEP’s Resilient Coastal Communities Initiative.