Report Identifies Jersey Shore’s Winners and Losers When Sea Levels Rise
The ongoing sea level rise from climate change will impact New Jersey's coast in varying degrees, according to a new report.
Report author Mark Anderson, of The Nature Conservancy, says the marshes of Great Egg Harbor estuary will move inland when the water level rises, making them more resilient.
"Great Egg Harbor and a lot of the shore along the Delaware Bay look like some of the best places in the region for the conditions that will allow that migration to happen," Anderson said.
But he also warns: "It is hard to grasp this incremental, inch-by-inch sea level rise. But it adds up over time."
Anderson says they ran six scenarios, from 1 to 6 feet, based on the current literature and diagnosis of what is possible over the next century.
By contrast, Anderson reports Jersey's barrier islands are likely to be inundated.
"I think that it is really important that we realize that we could be losing them without some effort, and start to pay more attention to that," he said.
"They are a lot more vulnerable in that area, and it is simply because they will become inundated. The coastal habitats that we are familiar with will be under water. Once they are under water, you lose a lot of the services that we expect from our coastal habitats."
The marsh areas that will survive provide habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.
"Our coastal systems are very productive. They provide a lot of our livelihoods for many people, and they also have unique fish and wildlife plants and animals."