When HUD released the second wave of federal Sandy aid in October – including $1.4 billion for New Jersey – it mandated that infrastructure projects take sea-level rise into account. The federal agency isn’t requiring recipients to work off a uniform set of predictions or build to withstand a certain amount of sea-level rise. But it wants applications to include information on how scientific predictions were considered in the proposal.
The looming problem of rising ocean levels is especially critical in New Jersey. By 2050, seas will rise an average of about 10 inches from their 2000 levels around the globe, according to Ben Horton, a professor at Rutgers University who specializes in sea-level rise. But for the coastal plain of New Jersey, the increase will be about 18 inches higher than sea levels were in 2000.
Reporter Tracey Samuelson of WHYY/NewsWorks, a partner of NJ Spotlight, looks at how the expected rise of sea levels in coming decades impacts Jersey Shore towns seeking funds to rebuild or replace infrastructure damaged or destroyed by the superstorm.