NJ Considers Costly Storm Mitigation Plans

Monday, 10 Dec 2012 11:37 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Jersey experts are considering several options for protecting the state’s shores from rising sea levels, but the cost involved may make solving the problem extremely difficult.

Experts say creating sand dunes is the least expensive option discussed so far, the Bergen County Record reports. But other ideas include spending $7.4 billion to buy up all the structures in the Passaic River basin that are at risk of being flooded, or paying $2.7 billion for a tunnel to channel storm runoff out into Newark Bay as a way to protect towns.

The huge projects are getting a great deal of attention, but the newspaper noted that lower-priced ideas, including rebuilding beaches and improving building codes, have already been proven effective.
The decision is difficult, but state and local leaders feel compelled to do something, given how hard the state has been hit over the last by Hurricane Sandy last October and Hurricane Irene and followed by a massive snowstorm in 2011.

Lisa Auermuller, a watershed coordinator at Rutgers University’s Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, said the state could expect storms to likely become even more severe in the future.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie recently announced that the state’s cleanup and recovery from Sandy will cost $37 billion, a figure that includes $7 billion for projects to protect against future storms.

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