Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey requiring the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update the New Jersey Shore Protection Master Plan was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Monday.
“It is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure the beautiful property and infrastructure down the Shore maintains its viability,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “We have suffered through some brutally destructive storms over the past several years, partially due to climate change, and the creation of managerial lists will allow us to effectively and efficiently protect our shoreline properties from coastal storm damage, erosion and rising sea levels.”
Under the bill (A-1093), the DEP would have to include the following updates within two years of the signing of the bill, should it become law:
• A comprehensive list of the shore protection projects undertaken in New Jersey since the establishment of the Shore Protection Fund;
• A list of all current and on-going shore protection projects in the state;
• A list of all currently planned shore protection projects anticipated to be undertaken in the state within the next five years;
• A list of any request by a local government unit for a shore protection project that was denied funding from the Shore Protection Fund;
• A five-year capital program for beach protection facilities, projects and programs;
• An evaluation of land use management alternatives, including land acquisition, as a means of risk reduction as part of the department’s planning and implementation of shore protection projects;
• Consideration and prioritization of the use of natural and nature-based approaches to hazard and risk reduction; and
• An enforceable plan for the protection, expansion and enhancement of meaningful public access to the shoreline and public trust lands throughout New Jersey, including the development of necessary support facilities to ensure equitable access to public trust lands.
The DEP will consult with experts in coastal zone and shoreline management in the development of the update to the plan. Each project listed in the plan would include a description of the project, including its location, scope, purpose, impact, estimated cost, estimated construction schedule and sponsors.
The bill will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.