Opinion: Here’s how we can adapt to the rising sea along the New Jersey coast

Beach replenishment

QIZHONG (GEORGE) GUO / STAR-LEDGER – In New Jersey’s effort to adapt to rising sea levels, we are facing infrastructure challenges on two fronts – structural deterioration and environmental change. This is the time for us to tackle both fronts together by replacing or retrofitting the aged infrastructure into a resilient one, preferably through mobile and green means.

What are the consequences of sea-level rise?

First, nuisance flooding during high tides even when there is no rainfall as has already happened in low-lying coastal areas in New Jersey and elsewhere. Second, saltwater intrusion into aquifers that threatens the potable water supply. Third, more frequent and severe flooding during rainfall events as the urban storm drainage systems and/or rivers are backed up by the higher sea level. And fourth, higher levels of water, flooding and erosion during hurricanes and nor’easters as the storm surge is superimposed on a higher sea level, among other consequences …

Qizhong (George) Guo is a professor in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

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