STEVE ADUBATO, PHD., is an Emmy Award–winning anchor for Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJTV (PBS) who regularly appears on the Today
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BY STEVE ADUBATO only in new jersey
ment of Environmental Protection have
taken a more active role for statewide
coastal protection to comply with the
governor’s and the Army Corps of Engineers’ requirement for dune construction that better protects properties
What happened with the U.S.
Department of the Interior’s proposed
offshore drilling plan? It was withdrawn due to the great work of environmentalists including the Partnership,
as well as municipalities and the state’s
congressional delegation. Simply put,
offshore drilling off the Atlantic coast is
too risky, and we have seen with other
oil spills the long-term impact it can
have. Fortunately, there was so much
opposition to the plan that the President took it off the table.
What are your views on global
warming and rising seas? Is this a losing battle? Data for the last 100 years
has shown us that there is reason to
accept that there is sea-level rise and
global warming. The U. S. Army Corps
of Engineers are continuing to focus
on beach replenishment to address
rising seas. Even if you can’t see the sea
level rise, it is happening. It is a coastal
conundrum because there is so much
development along the coast, so retreat
[as a solution] is not really likely, since
people continue to be drawn to the
coast to live. We all need to do our part
to protect our environment in an effort
to reduce global warming.
What does the future hold for the
Partnership? We have a challenge in
making sure our funding levels are
realistic and can meet the new com-plexities of Shore protection. The NJ
DEP has identified that the current $25
million Shore Protection Fund is not
sufficient to meet future matching costs
of beach-replenishment projects, so
there are currently two bills—one in the
Senate (S311) and one in the Assembly
(A2954)—to increase the Shore Protection Fund to $50 million annually.
More information can be found at
26;JUNE 2016 NJMONTHLY.COM
Fighting for Our Shore
A 25-year-old organization is on the front lines of the
battle to protect Jersey’s fragile coastline.
be state and federal funding going forward for storm-ravaged Jersey Shore
municipalities. Senators Joe Kyrillos
and Bill Gormley pushed forward the
legislative effort for a $15 million Shore
Protection Fund, the first such legislation to be passed in the nation. A few
years later, that amount was increased
to $25 million, where it stands today.
This funding has proven to be a smart
investment for the state through a
shared partnership with the federal
government that typically provides 65
percent of the replenishment costs to
the state’s 35 percent.
How has your approach toward
beach replenishment changed since
Hurricane Sandy? We learned we had
to be more proactive than reactive in
terms of the anticipated increase in the
number of Sandy-like storms. We used
to think these were 100- year storms,
but now we know that is not true. The
governor’s office and the state Depart-
the jersey shore Partnership has a
mission that is essential to the state’s
economy—as well as to the lifestyle of
those of us who live or vacation at the
Shore. The 25-year-old nonpartisan advocacy group’s task: to ensure state and
federal funding to protect New Jersey’s
127 miles of coastal shoreline.
Our beaches bring in more than $20
billion annually in tourism revenue—
more than half the entire state’s tour-
After Hurricane Sandy, and with the
threat of severe storms increasing, the
not-for-profit Partnership’s dedication
to raising awareness and funds for our
beaches is more important than ever.
I spoke with Margot Walsh, execu-
tive director of the Partnership, about
the group’s efforts to protect the Shore.
What are the roots of your organi-
zation? The Partnership was formed
following two very serious storms back
in 1991 to ensure there would
beach in Ship Bottom on Long Beach
Island in May 2015.