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December 28, 2018

New Jersey’s efforts to protect its coast earn “F” from Surfrider Foundation

The shore could be in danger if the state doesn't improve its planning

Environment Beaches
Beach umbrella Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Lifeguards sit under a beach umbrella at the Jersey Shore.

The Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit environmental organization working to protect oceans and beaches, released its 2018 State of the Beach Report Card this month, and it seems New Jersey is leaving plenty to be desired.

The foundation’s report cards grade the 31 states across the country with coastlines on their abilities and efforts to protect shores from coastal erosion and sea-level rise in the foreseeable future.

New Jersey received an outright “F” from the foundation, one of just four states to receive the lowest available grade. Ohio, Indiana, and Georgia also earned “F” grades. Pennsylvania received a “C” grade.

New Jersey lagged behind the rest of the Northeast: the Garden State was the only state in the region graded lower than a “C” by Surfrider.

Just one state, California, received an “A” from the foundation. States that received grades of B- or higher “had strong policies regarding coastal building setbacks, prohibitions against coastal armoring and rebuilding in coastal hazard areas, and support for incorporating sea-level rise and coastal adaptation into planning documents.” 

The report card, Surfrider said in a release, shows a clear need for two things: better planning and development from the states themselves, and more support at the federal level.

In November, one study projected thousands of Jersey Shore homes could be damaged by 2050, worth up to roughly $190 billion in damage.

And back in August, a non-profit analysis found that homes in New Jersey have lost a combined $4.5 billion in property value since 2005 because of sea level flooding. 

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