When Summer Rain Storms Become Summer Floods, We Need A Regional Coastal Commission

Since the beginning of August, the New York City area has had at least six flash flood advisories – which equates to about one every other day. On August 14, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency for five counties that have been hit severely by flooding.

Summer rain storms have caused flooded roadways and highways across New Jersey and New York. These mini-floods, caused by what we think of as normal August weather, is a reminder that sea level rise and climate change are here today. The images below are a reminder that our region is still largely unprepared to face these challenges. If we’re flooded from a rainstorm, what happens when a bigger weather emergency strikes?

There was a little bit of an issue with drainage on Kent this evening…

A post shared by Daniel Dunnam (@danielsdunnam) on

Aside from the damage that these storms have caused, they can also put public health at risk. Flood water is often contaminated with toxic waste, bacteria and other chemicals that can cause sickness.

As one of the recommendations from the Fourth Regional Plan, establishing a regional coastal commission would allow for all three states to work together to fight against the threat of climate change. Currently, when disaster strikes, states – and sometimes individual cities and towns – are left to fend for themselves – which can make recovery efforts disjointed and sporadic on a limited budget. Instead, we propose that a Coastal Commission, comprised of local representatives of communities across the region as well as subject matter experts would proactively coordinate, fund and prioritize adaptation efforts to get us to a place where our infrastructure, our housing and our communities are prepared for weather events big and small.

Click here to watch our video on why we need a regional coastal commission, and how this entity could help protect residents and the economy.



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